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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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.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Involve a criminal appeal attorney soon after you learn the prosecution is appealing your sentence. Your attorney will walk you through the involving and confusing sentencing guidelines. An attorney's involvement will also help you develop a defense strategy for the appeal.