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Minnesota DWI/DUI and Mandatory Bail

Bail is a set amount of money that a defendant deposits to the court as a condition of being released from jail with the understanding that s/he will return for trial. The facts of the case and defendant’s prior criminal history dictate the amount of bail.

In some cases—such as for a defendant charged with a non-serious crime or who has never been arrested before—the judge may release him/her “on their own recognizance” (ROR) without any bail. These defendants must stay out of trouble until their return to court for trial.

What makes Minnesota law unique is that the judge who sets the bail amount provides two different amounts. These are:

  1. A conditional amount when a defendant must abide by other conditions of release (for example, wearing an ankle monitor or abstaining from alcohol or drugs)
  2. An unconditional when a defendant need not maintain any other conditions while out awaiting trial

Minnesota Bail Law

Minnesota Statute section 169A.44 covers Minnesota’s bail conditions and requirements. For a DWI/DUI, this law states that bail must be assessed if any of the following are true:

  • A second-degree DWI/DUI;
  • A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is greater than or equal to .16;
  • A third-degree DWI/DUI AND the driver is under 19 years of age;
  • The DWI/DUI occurred while the defendant’s driver’s license was canceled as inimical to public safety (IPS); OR
  • A child under the age of 16 was present in the vehicle AND the defendant had a prior DWI/DUI within the past ten (10) years.

Further, Minnesota Statute section 629.471 outlines the maximum bail amount a court may impose for any given misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor in the state. This statute does not apply to felony charges. Under this law, the maximum amount of bail judges have the authority to set for defendants charged with a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor is double the highest cash fine allowed for a particular offense. In other words, if a crime has a maximum fine of $1,000, the maximum amount of bail a judge can set is $2,000.

Additionally, for certain misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors such as DWI/DUI, hit-and-run accidents, driving on a licensed canceled due to IPS, and transporting stolen goods into the state, the maximum allowable amount of bail is as much as four (4) times the maximum cash fine. Finally, for assault, domestic assault and abuse, and malicious punishment of a child, the maximum bail amount may be six (6) times the amount of the fine for that particular offense.

Felony DWI/DUI Bail

Minnesota Statute section 629.471 does not apply to felonies, including felony DWI/DUI charges. For a first-degree DWI/DUI, even though the maximum cash fine is $14,000, the judge has considerable latitude in assessing bail; however, per the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, the bail would have to be reasonable and not excessive.

If the judge imposes a bail amount that is less than the maximum allowed amount, then additional conditions will apply. In these cases, the defendant is almost always ordered to abstain from alcohol or drugs and to submit to remote electronic alcohol monitoring (REAM) breath-alcohol testing on a daily basis.

Additional Conditions

Finally, additional bail conditions are applicable to a defendant charged with four or more DWI/DUIs in a ten-year period. These include:

  • Impoundment of the vehicle’s license plate
  • Mandatory, usually weekly, reporting to a probation officer
  • Submitting to random REAM and urinalysis testing
  • Mandatory reimbursement of the costs of these Bail is a set amount of money that a defendant deposits to the court as a condition of being released from jail with the understanding that s/he will return for trial. The facts of the case and defendant’s prior criminal history dictate the amount of bail.services to the court

If a person is facing a DWI/DUI in Minnesota, it is important to consult with a qualified and knowledgeable DWI/DUI attorney for all aspects of a case including setting bail amount. An effective attorney has the necessary skills and experience to negotiate with the judge for his/her client’s least restrictive bail conditions.

For more information about Minnesota’s mandatory bail statutes regarding DWI/DUI charges or if you or someone you love is facing DWI/DUI charges, please contact us.


Disclaimer: The information contained on this page does not constitute an attorney client relationship. Be sure to contact our law office to discuss your case with an attorney.