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What is Bail and How Does it work?

Bail is money that a court requires an individual to pay to get out of jail. The purpose of bail is to assure judges that the individual will appear for all their court hearings in a criminal case. A judge will set bail if he or she has concerns about a defendant's ability to appear for court or concerns about public safety. If an individual misses a court appearance, a judge can forfeit any bail posted.

In Minnesota, a criminal defendant typically has three options if a judge sets bail as a condition of release from jail.

The first option is for the defendant, or a third-party on his or her behalf, to deposit the full amount of bail with the court. The court holds the cash bail until the defendant's case is finished. Once finished, the cash bail is returned to the person who deposited it with the court. If the defendant is convicted, the judge may order any cash bail deposited be applied toward a fine or restitution. If the fine or restitution is less than the amount deposited, the court returns the cash bail to the defendant, minus the amount of the fine and/or restitution.

The second option is for the defendant, or a third-party on his or her behalf, to purchase a bail bond. Bail bonds are purchased through a bail bond agent and typically cost 10% of the court-imposed bail. For example, if the court imposes $10,000 bail, a bail bond will typically cost $1,000. If a bail bond is purchased, a bail bond company will post a bond with the court. If the defendant fails to appear for court, the court can forfeit any bond posted and require the bail bond company to pay the full amount of bail to the court within 90 days. When a bond is forfeited, the court will typically forgive the forfeiture if the defendant is returned to custody. This incentivizes bail bond companies to locate and apprehend a fugitive defendant. Unlike cash bail (option 1), a defendant does not get his or her money back at the end of the case if a bail bond is purchased.

The final option for a defendant to simply remain in custody during the pendency of the proceedings. Criminal defendants have the right to move their case along quickly and often choose to do so if they cannot post cash bail or purchase a bail bond.

The following is a list of bail bond companies in Rochester, MN:

Foster Bail Bonds, LLC (507) 990-4113

Grande Bailbond Corporation (507) 280-8820

Midwest Bonding (507) 288-3232

Absolute Bail Bonds (507) 289-2020

Given the various options, a criminal defendant is wise to contact an attorney immediately after being arrested for any crime. The attorney can help make decisions about whether cash bail or a bail bond is appropriate given the circumstances of the case. Grant Borgen of Bird, Jacobsen & Stevens, P.C. practices criminal law and is always available for a free consultation.

1 Comment

My brother might be needing a bail bond and I've been researching if that is the right thing to do. You said that a bail bond typically cost 10% of the court-imposed bail. Only having to pay 10% at the time so that you could get out of jail and figure out your situation could be immensely helpful. Thanks for the great read.

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