Conditions of Release in a Montana DUI Case

When a Montanan accused of DUI is released from custody before trial, it is common practice to require they pay bail. The money given to the Court for bail is held to encourage the defendant to continue to make all his appearances and not leave the jurisdiction before trial. If he fails to do so, the Court keeps the bail money and a warrant is issued for his arrest.

The same power that allows the Court to set bail, also allows the Court to set certain conditions of release. Some common requirements are:

  • that the defendant not change his residence without first notifying the Court;
  • that the defendant not change his phone number or mailing address without first notifying the Court;
  • that the defendant maintain contact with his attorney;
  • that the defendant authorize his attorney to notify the Court if contact has been lost;
  • that the defendant remain law abiding in all respects;
  • that the defendant not consume alcoholic beverages;
  • that the defendant not enter bars, taverns, casinos, or any other establishment where alcoholic beverages are served as a main item of sale;
  • that the defendant not have contact with anyone alleged to be a victim of the incident;
  • that the defendant submit to continuous alcohol monitoring by means of a secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring system (SCRAM); and
  • that the defendant not possess firearms of any type.

These are just a general list of some common limitations. The Court may impose different restrictions on a case by case basis, depending on the specifics of a persons offense. The limitation on firearms is often not imposed for DUI defendants because the nature of their crime doesn’t involve guns. However, for  a DUI case in Montana, you can be virtually sure that one condition will be that you not consume any alcohol during your release, and that you avoid bars. Exceptions can be made for employment purposes – but working in a bar is a tough way to convince the prosecutor that you won’t be tempted by alcohol in the future.

If you have been subjected to release restrictions and have questions about them, please call me today to schedule a free meeting. My number of 406-752-6373 and I would be happy to discuss this or any other issue related to Montana DUI with you.

Bail Bonds in the Flathead Valley

A bail bondsman offers security to satisfy the bail requirement set for criminal defendants. Once arrested, a defendant will have his bail set. The purpose of bail is ensure that the defendant will appear at his trial later. The theory is that a person is less likely to run if they have given the court money which they will only get back if they appear at trial.

Unfortunately, especially in today’s economy, many accused of a crime do not have access to the amount of money that the courts require. These people have a few options. Some ask family and friends to borrow the rest. Some will simply sit in jail hoping the Court will grant release without bond, or they have their trial. But most use a bail bondsman.

You pay the bondsman some percentage of your bond (often 10-12%). So, if you bond has been set at $10,000 – the bondsman will require you pay him $1,000. For larger bonds, the bondsman may take additional security in assets owned by the defendant. In exchange for this payment, the bondsman secures your bond with the Court and you are released. Generally, the bondsman does not need to come up with this amount (unless the defendant fails to appear). Unfortunately, you will not receive the amount you paid the bondsman back. This is his payment for securing your bond, and how the bondsman makes a profit.

If you fail to appear in Court, the bondsman will need to pay the total of your bail amount. Often, he will then hire a bounty hunter to try to bring you back to court, so that he can get his money back. So remember, if you use a bondsman and skip out you’ll have both the police and your bondsman looking for you.

For a first DUI, it is unusual for the Court to require bond. With subsequent offenses it becomes progressively more likely. If you do find yourself in need of a bondsman in Kalispell or the Flathead Valley, I recommend Bob’s Bail Bonds. He is located in Kalispell, Montana and can be reached by calling (406) 752-6884. My clients have had a good experience with Bob and I think he does his job well.