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How Long Can Suspects Be Detained in Jail in Minnesota? [infographic]

Under Minnesota law, any adult suspect that’s arrested without a warrant and taken into custody must be brought before a judicial officer or judge within 36 hours after arrest.

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How Long Can Suspects Be Detained in Jail in Minnesota


What is the 36-Hour Rule?

The 36-hour rule states that any adult arrested under suspicion of a crime without a warrant can only be held in custody for 36 hours before seeing a judge. The rule applies to all misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony warrantless arrests in Minnesota. In misdemeanor cases, a suspect must be brought before a judge within 36 hours or released with a written citation.

Under the 36-hour rule, the clock begins at midnight on the day of the arrest, excluding Sundays and legal holidays. If a suspect is arrested with a warrant, weekends and legal holidays are included in the 36-hour time frame. A properly filed complaint must be presented to the judge prior to the court appearance, otherwise, the suspect must be released.

In some cases, the 48-hour rule may apply. It states that any adult or juvenile arrested without a warrant may not be detained longer than 48 hours unless there is probable cause for continued detention. The 48-hour clock starts ticking when the suspect is arrested and runs continuously for the next 48 hours, including the arrest day, weekends, and legal holidays. Both the 36-hour and 48-hour rules must be followed when detaining a suspect.

In Minnesota, a person suspected of committing a crime can be arrested under four conditions:

  • Citation – Law enforcement can issue a citation to a suspect that explains charges and gives a date to appear in court.
  • Complaint or Summons – A complaint is a written document charging a suspect with a criminal offense, typically mailed to suspects for less serious criminal charges and non-violent offenses. A summons is a written notification ordering a court appearance to answer allegations in a complaint.
  • Arrest with a Warrant – If the court determines probable cause that a suspect committed a crime, a judge may sign a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. Warrants are typically issued for felony and violent offenses.
  • Arrest without a WarrantIf police witness a crime or respond to a scene where it’s determined a crime was committed, a suspect may be arrested without a warrant.
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