An arrest can thrust you into a world with rules you have no knowledge of, and limited ability to understand. The authorities know the game they’re playing, and may take a grim sort of delight putting you through the anxiety-inducing motions of lockup and interrogation. Knowing what to expect during the first 72 hours of the process can help you make informed choices and preserve your rights – the latter being the most important component of all. Here’s what our Utah criminal defense lawyers can share:
Keep Your Mouth Shut
You have the right to remain silent – invoke it. You don’t have to talk to the police. Whether you are just approached by a police officer or if you are under full blown arrest, you have no obligation to say anything. Simply ask for your attorney. It’s that simple.
Don’t let them intimidate you. Police often make threats about arresting you and imply that if you talk, you will somehow avoid being arrested and taken to jail. The truth is, they already know if they have grounds for an arrest or not. Whether you talk rarely plays a role in the decision to arrest or not. If they have a case against you, don’t make it stronger by talking. If they don’t have a case against you, don’t give them one by talking.
If you are arrested, and incarcerated in the Salt Lake County Jail, the prosecution has 72 hours to file formal charges against you. If they fail to do so within that time, you’re free to go most of the time. If they meet the deadline, an arraignment date is set where you will formally be informed of the charges.
With more frequency, the Salt Lake County Attorney’s Office is filing for an extension of the 72 hour rule and the judges are granting these requests. Some of these extensions are quite long. I have seen recent extensions of up to 15 days. These are unconstitutional and should be challenged every time. Few criminal defense attorneys are making these challenges but I will continue to do so for my clients until Salt Lake County stops this unconscionable practice.
If you are arrested in Utah County, you will be taken into custody and given a bail hearing. Then you are likely to be held for up to seven days before formal charges are filed. This practice too is unconstitutional and violates Utah law. Again, few criminal defense attorneys are challenging this practice but I will continue to do so until it is stopped.
Rights to an Attorney
Once formal charges are filed, you have the right to counsel. If you cannot afford a private attorney, the court will have to appoint you an attorney. Generally that process takes place at the arraignment but you can ask for an attorney at any point in the proceeding.
Getting Bail and Your Release
Prosecutors frequently seek a high bail which can run the cost of your release into the millions of dollars if the charges are serious enough. Bail cannot be “excessive” and yet it is frequently exactly that and you will need an attorney to have it lowered.
Bail can be set as “cash only” or it can be bondable. If it’s cash only, you have to post the full amount of the bail in cash and a bail bondsman cannot help you. If it is bondable, the standard fee for the bail bondsman is 10 percent. So, if the bail is set at $100,000, you can bail out through a bondsman for $10,000. That money is the bondsman’s fee and you will not get it back. If you post the full bail, you will receive that money back at the end of your case.
If you’re facing criminal charges in Utah, you need experienced trial attorneys working on your behalf to ensure justice is done. Contact our law firm today to discuss the circumstances of your arrest with our legal team. We can explain your legal rights and options going forward in a manner that’s easy to understand and straightforward.