Hennepin County 2021 Bail Changes
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced a new list of offenses – 19 total – for which they will no longer request bail. Bail is a financial obligation that is due prior to release from custody to ensure compliance with release while a case is pending. You typically get this money back when the case is resolved if you pay it on your own. This means that if you are charged with any of the following crimes, you will remain free until your next court hearing. Instead of bail, you will promise to make all court appearances and follow any release conditions set by the judge such as no alcohol use or firearms.
Starting January 1, 2021, Hennepin County will not be requesting bail for the following offenses:
- Fourth-degree sale or possession of narcotics;
- Fifth-degree sale or possession of narcotics;
- Sales of simulated controlled substances;
- Theft under $35,000;
- Theft of a motor vehicle;
- Damage to property;
- Dishonored check;
- Counterfeiting currency;
- Fraudulent identification or driver’s license;
- Wrongfully obtaining public assistance;
- Wrongfully obtaining unemployment benefits
- Identity theft;
- Mail theft;
- Lottery fraud;
- Insurance fraud;
- Possession or stolen or counterfeit check;
- Possession of burglary/theft tools; and
- Possession of shoplifting gear.
The idea behind these changes is to reduce prison populations and racial disparities. These changes will allow individuals facing any of the above charges to be released based on their promise to reappear instead of a financial obligation. These offenses are typically Felony level offenses and there is no limit on what bail could be imposed. Although we do not know if this new practice is here to stay, it is certainly a positive change for what is considered low-level felony offenses.