If you are trying to figure out when will bail get set for someone, the quickest way to find out is to either call a criminal defense lawyer or call the sheriff’s office where the offense occurred. Most criminal defense attorneys worth their salt will have an idea of when bail may get set or at least be able to find out without too much difficulty. Most sheriff’s offices can also be helpful in giving you information about when bail may be set for someone.

The other variables in determining when bail may get set for someone depend on the level of the offense and the jurisdiction where the offense occurred. The vast majority of misdemeanor level offenses, such as 4th Degree DWI, Disorderly Conduct, and Criminal Damage to Property do not require bail in most counties. For those crimes, most officers will give someone a citation and release them after a brief period of time.

A majority of Gross Misdemeanor level offenses will require bail, conditions of release, or both. Examples of Gross Misdemeanors are 2nd and 3rd Degree DWI and aggravated Domestic Assault crimes. In some counties, bail will automatically be set for offenses such as these. In other counties, an on-call judge may be available to request bail being set. Another possibility is that a reviewing judge will examine all the recent in-custody cases and determine on their own whether they should set bail. In a fair number of counties, a judge will not set bail unless and until the person appears in court. Importantly, a person recently arrested cannot be held in jail indefinitely without seeing a judge. The 36- and 48-hour rules require that a person be charged, released, or seen by a judge within a certain period of time.

In the vast majority of felony cases, people will be held until they see a judge at a Bail Hearing to determine whether bail should be imposed. However, the same 36- and 48-hour rules also apply in felony cases. Some jurisdictions will not get a person charged within the required time period. In those situations, the person may still be charged later and may be required to pay bail or abide by conditions of release at their First Appearance.

In Minnesota, a person has a constitutional right to unconditional bail in a criminal case (State v. Pett). This means that if the maximum amount of bail imposed by the court is paid, then the person will just need to appear at all future court appearances and potentially abide by a no contact order – if the case warrants one.

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