Restrictive Bail Ruling

Lincoln County Residents,

I’d like to take the opportunity to let you all know about some major changes coming to the law. These changes are going to be quite extreme and may cause a lot of questions and confusion. Please be patient as we are still seeking answers to our own questions about these changes and how they will affect our day to day operation, as well as how they will most certainly impact the victims of crime.

Beginning July 1, 2019, arrest warrants and monetary bail for felony crimes will be limited statewide under a new Missouri Supreme Court ruling.  This new ruling orders lower courts, such as Lincoln County Circuit Court, to use the least restrictive holding methods for all those accused of committing a crime.  For example, replacing cash bonds associated to felonies with a summons and a court date.  The ruling anticipates criminals will show up for court in place of incarceration for court.

So, what does this really mean and how will this affect you? If you are the victim of a burglary, assault, theft or any other crime where traditionally an arrest is made and a warrant is sought by law enforcement then issued by the court, you can now expect the perpetrator of the crime to be released without a bond (in most cases), given a summons and a date to appear in court. Please remember this was a Supreme Court ruling and not a policy change of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

The only exceptions will be if the arresting deputy has “reasonable grounds to believe the defendant will not appear upon a summons or the defendant poses a danger to a crime victim, the community or any other person” or if the defendant is a flight risk.  The courts are trying to ensure those accused of crimes are being treated fairly, regardless of their financial status.

Each case will be treated individually by the court to determine whether a defendant will honor and be held accountable for their court date(s).  Previously, bond amounts were determined by the felony a defendant was arrested on along with other things such as criminal history.

Although Lincoln County may deal with reoffenders more often under this ruling, the Sheriff’s Office must operate within the confines of this ruling.  It is highly likely first time drug, burglary and property crime offenders will be issued a court date in lieu of bond and jail time.

We will always do our part and arrest those who victimize our citizens; however, we are not the ones who decide if they are held and/or for how long. That is a decision that takes place between the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Judges of the Lincoln County Circuit and Associate Circuit Courts.



John Cottle
Sheriff, Lincoln County

Missouri Supreme Court ruling here:

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