How high should bond be set for drunk driving?

When someone in Minneapolis is arrested for felony drunk driving, he or she will still likely be able to leave and remain at home until his or her trial. Only if the suspect refuses to or is unable to afford bond would he be stuck in a jail cell until he or she is able to appear in court. With a potentially long wait, it is likely that most people will pay the bond if they can.

But, what if a judge set a prohibitively high bond? What if bond was set so high that it was next to impossible to afford? These situations happen all too often, and the suspects sitting in prison with $1 million bonds are likely going to remain there until their trials. When many people in the Twin Cities think of what kind of people these may be, they likely don’t think of drunk drivers, especially not people accused of drunk driving that did not injure someone in a crash.

Unfortunately, one man who has been arrested on suspicion of a seventh drunk driving incident will stay in jail on a $1 million bond. It is true that he has had several drunk driving arrests and convictions and it is true that when he was arrested he was only caught after he smashed into a fence, but he never injured anyone during the entire alleged incident. So why has the judge decided to keep him stuck in jail?

The whole purpose of the bond is to prevent someone from leaving the jurisdiction between his or her arrest and trial. The bond is set to be just enough of a burden to keep the suspect around, but not so high that he or she would be unable to afford it. And, if someone is particularly violent or they have no ties to the jurisdiction, the judge may choose to not set bond at all, meaning there is no option for the suspect to live out of jail before trial. Setting the bond higher than any normal person would be able to afford is more an affront than an actual opportunity to secure a suspect’s freedom.

Source: Twin Falls Times-News, “Twin Falls Man Gets $1M Bond on 7th DUI Charge, Eluding Deputies,” Alison Gene Smith, March 27, 2013

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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.