Illegal Minnesota Bail: How to Challenge it to Win Your Freedom

As discussed in the last blog post, Minnesota bail hearings are extremely important: if you bail is set too high, you may have to sit in Jail awaiting trial.  OR you may spend money on bail that you could have spent on a good Minnesota Criminal Defense attorney to fight your case, fight for your freedom, and your cash or car the cops are trying to forfeit, and fight for your driver’s license in the case of a Minnesota gross misdemeanor DWI.

  Many prosecutors in DWI, domestic assault, and other cases charge defendants with a Minnesota gross misdemeanor or Minnesota felony because of a bogus “enhancement” of the charges.  They will claim that you have a “prior,” which can be a driver’s license revocation, a conviction, a Minnesota order for protection (OFP), or a harassment restraining order (HRO). It makes a big difference whether your case is a misdemeanor, or is enhanced to a gross misdemeanor, or enhanced even more to a felony, because it can mean the difference between getting out of Jail or not, OR having money left over to hire a GOOD Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.

The maximum bail for a misdemeanor DWI is $4,000. The maximum bail for a 5th degree assault or 5thdegree domestic assault is $10,000. The maximum amount of bail that may be set for a gross misdemeanor is set by statute: for a gross misdemeanor DWI it is $12,000. The maximum bail for a gross misdemeanor assault or gross misdemeanor degree domestic assault is $30,000.  There is no maximum amount of bail the Judge may set on felony cases. The amount of bail is entirely subject to the Judge’s discretion.

Currently, Keller Law Offices is pursuing an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court that will permit criminal defendants to challenge probable cause at the bail hearing. This probable cause challenge would govern what level of bail can be set against criminal defendants throughout the State. Crucially, if the Supreme Court rules in our favor, criminal defendants will be permitted to challenge probable cause, and thus the statutory maximum amount of bail that can be set, at the earliest possible appearance. This will ensure that a prosecutor cannot “overcharge” a case for the purpose of having a higher amount of bail authorized by the Court.

The Petition for Review filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court by Keller Law Offices is attached here:Petition for Review – Andrew Bishop PFR 5-25-12–.pdf. For updates on the progress of this case, check here in the coming weeks.

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.