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Pretrial release is obviously important for personal reasons. People who are behind bars cannot spend time with their loved ones or work to support their families. There are other reasons as well. For example, people who are incarcerated often suffer permanent brain injuries. As soon as the cell doors close, stress hormone production intensifies. Prolonged exposure to these hormones could cause personality changes and other serious effects.
More importantly for criminal defense lawyers in St. Paul, pretrial detention significantly hinders a criminal defense. People who are incarcerated cannot participate in their own defenses in any meaningful way. Furthermore, many defendants in these situations accept unfavorable plea bargains just to get things over with. In other words, the seminal presumption of innocence basically becomes a presumption of guilt.
So, before a criminal defense lawyer in St. Paul focuses on your defense, your attorney should focus on pretrial release, as outlined below.
Ever since the founding of the Republic, the cash bail system has been the backbone of pretrial release procedures in the United States. But in recent years, many people have harshly criticized this system. In fact, California lawmakers recently voted to end the cash bail system altogether.
So, Own Recognizance pretrial release is increasingly available nationwide, especially in rather large jurisdictions like Ramsey County.
Typically, a review board looks at a particular case and decides if OR release would be appropriate. The board generally considers things like the defendant’s criminal record and the nature of the offense. If the defendant has a clean criminal history and faces nonviolent charges, the board often recommends OR release. Unfortunately, these qualifications eliminate pretty much all the arrestees in Ramsey County.
Even though there is no formal hearing, a criminal defense lawyer in St. Paul can advocate for defendants before the review board. Especially if a couple of members were already on the fence, an attorney can often alter the decision.
OR release typically costs almost nothing and has fewer conditions than bail or bail bonds. However, the review board may take several days to reach a decision. Additionally, even if a criminal defense lawyer in St. Paul intervenes, not everyone qualifies for OR.
On the other hand, almost everyone qualifies for cash bail or bail bond release. Additionally, such release often occurs within a few hours, instead of a few days.
Cash bail is like a rental security deposit. When people move into such property, they generally give the landlord a security deposit. If the tenant fulfills all lease conditions, the landlord refunds the deposit. The deposit amount usually depends on the amount of the monthly rent payment.
Likewise, the Ramsey County Sherriff usually sets presumptive bail amounts based on the nature of the offense and the defendant’s criminal background. That amount could be a few hundred dollars for a misdemeanor and a few thousand for a felony. Once the case is resolved, the person posting bail gets that money back, or at least most of it, and the bail is discharged.
Unfortunately, for many people, a few thousand dollars might as well be a few million dollars. They do not have access to that kind of cash.
A bail bond is basically an insurance policy which guarantees the defendant’s appearance at trial. Most bonding companies charge about a 10 or 15 percent premium. That premium is nonrefundable.
As mentioned, all kinds of pretrial release usually feature conditions. These conditions include requirements like remaining in the county, appearing at all required pretrial hearings, staying out of trouble with the law, and reporting to a bond or bail bond agent.
If the defendant does not qualify for OR release and cannot afford a bail bond, the next step is usually a bail reduction hearing. At this hearing, the judge reconsiders bail in light of other factors including offense severity and criminal history. These other factors include the defendant’s:
Many times, a criminal defense lawyer in St. Paul and the prosecutor strike a deal. For example, the prosecutor might agree to greatly reduce the bail amount if the defendant wears a GPS ankle monitor.
Pretrial release gets a defense off to a good start. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in St. Paul, contact Capitol City Law Group, LLC. Go online now, call us at (651) 998-7634, or stop by 287 6th St E, Suite 20, St Paul, MN 55101.