People who have been charged with a DUI are often given a bail amount to pay in order to be released from jail. If your friend or relative contacts you for bail after a DUI arrest, you may have a few questions about how the bail process works. To prepare for taking care of bail, here are a few things to know about the process as it pertains to a DUI.
The Arraignment Hearing
Your friend or loved one will have to appear before a judge to hear the charges being filed and to enter a plea. The judge can make a determination about bail, which can range from no bail amount at all to a sizable sum. If the person you are helping is released on his or her own recognizance, you won't have to come up with any bail at all. The judge may look at the facts of the case to determine the bail amount, and the suspect's criminal history may be taken into consideration as well. This could include prior history of DUI arrests, whether or not anyone was injured by the defendant's actions and whether or not the defendant refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.
Each state has different laws governing the maximum amount of bail in DUI cases. In Minnesota, a defendant facing a first DUI with no aggravating circumstances can be charged a maximum of $4,000 bail, while defendants with two or more aggravating circumstances face a mandatory maximum of $12,000 bail.
Conditions Of Release
A judge can set certain conditions of release for the defendant. This might include abstaining from alcohol or requiring the use of an ignition interlock device when operating a motor vehicle. Violating the conditions of release may result in bail being revoked. If you use a bail bond service to secure your friend or relative's release from jail, the bail bondsman can explain the conditions to you before you choose to put up any money for bail.
Hiring A Bail Bond Service
Hiring a bail bond service can help you to cover the amount of bail, but this does come with some personal risks for you. You are responsible for the full amount of the bail if the defendant flees prosecution or fails to appear before the judge. If the defendant breaks the law while on bail or fails to comply with court-ordered conditions of release, the bail can be revoked and the bond will be forfeited to the courts.
A subsequent DUI arrest or failure to install a court-ordered ignition interlock system are both examples of reasons a judge might revoke bail for a DUI defendant. In any situation where bail is revoked, you could end up paying the full amount of bail back to the bail bondsman. If you feel that the defendant might drink and drive again or might not comply with the judge's orders, it may be a better idea for you to decline the request for bail assistance.
A DUI is a serious charge, so it is important to have all of the facts about the case before you make a decision to post bail for a friend or relative. You can ask a bail bond service for help in making the right choice for your situation.
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