How Bail is Determined & What Happens to the Money?

By KBJR News 1

How Bail is Determined & What Happens to the Money?

April 4, 2013 Updated Apr 4, 2013 at 9:23 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Following his first arrest and weekend in jail, Jim Carlson posted $450,000 dollars bail that included no conditions.

That bail–type is typically guaranteed under the state constitution.

The other bail option, for $100,000 dollars, would have included conditions that would require Carlson to stop selling, possessing, and using synthetic drugs.

The bail options and amounts spurred plenty of questions from viewers on our Facebook Page.

"When a person like Jim Carlson posts $450 thousand bail, what happens to the money? Where does it go? What is it used for? Not for pot holes I suppose," Jennifer Luomanen asked on Facebook.

No. Not for potholes, Jennifer.

According to Gary Bjorklund, Assistant St. Louis County Attorney and Head of the Criminal Division, the money is returned to the defendant once he or she has made all their court appearances, no matter the outcome of the case.

Bjorklund says the money is kept in an account until then.

As for bail amounts and conditions, that's all up to the Judge.

In the case of Jim Carlson, the judge offered two bail options.

1) $450,000 and no conditions
2) 100,000 with conditions mentioned above.

The first is mandated by the State Constitution. The second was created by the court as another option.

While Carlson may get his $450,000 dollars back after the case wraps up, that's not always the case.

Bjorklund says the judge can take court fines out of the bail money. In some cases, courts will use the money for restitution owed to victims.

There's also the ability for defendants to post bond. In those cases, the defendant can buy a bond, or insurance policy, to help cover the bail amount.

If the defendant chooses to do that, they will generally pay 10 percent of the bail amount to a company which fronts the entire amount.

Should the defendant not show up to court, Bjorklund says that company can then take the defendant to court over the full amount.

A bond typically requires the defendant to put up collateral for the balance.

The 10 percent paid to the bondsman won’t be seen by the defendant again.

Kevin Jacobsen
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