Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

36- & 48-Hour Rules

Whenever an adult suspect is taken into custody following a warrantless arrest, the suspect must be brought before a judge or judicial officer without unnecessary delay and in any event, not more than 36 hours after arrest. In misdemeanor cases, a defendant who is not brought before a judge within the 36-hour limit must be released upon citation, as provided in Rule 6.01, subd. 1, Rules of Criminal Procedure (RCMP). However, “for cause shown” an extension of time may be ordered by the court pursuant to RCMP 34.02. The rule applies to all misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony warrantless arrests of an adult, regardless of whether a complaint or affidavit has been signed. RCMP 4.02, subd. 5. Note that the 36-hour rule for juvenile arrestees is significantly different than that for adults.  See Juv. Rule of Delinquency Proced. 5.07, subd. 1.

Whenever a person (adult or juvenile) is arrested without a warrant (misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony), the arrestee may not be detained longer than 48 actual hours from the time of arrest unless a complaint has been signed by a judge or judicial determination has been made that probable cause exists for continued detention. If probable cause is not found, the arrested person must be immediately released. County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 111 S.Ct. 1661 (1991); RCMP 4.03, subd 1.

Caution: If the arrest is pursuant to a warrant, the 36-hour rule applies but is calculated differently than in the case of a warrantless arrest.

Hon. Alan Pendleton

10th Judicial District


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