A person can be arrested for harassment in Utah under Utah Criminal Harassment Code § 76-5-106 when he or she allegedly sends a written or otherwise recorded threat to another person with intent to cause fear or harass the recipient. The crime of harassment is a misdemeanor, which can result in costly criminal fines and months of incarceration. If convicted, the defendant will also receive a criminal record, which can get in the way of employment and other opportunities.
If you or one of your family members was charged with harassment in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah, it’s in your best interests to be represented by an experienced Utah harassment defense lawyer. Representation by an aggressive and knowledgeable criminal attorney gives you the best chance of having the charges dropped, or having the case dismissed altogether.
How to Bail a Family Member Out of Jail Who was Arrested for Harassment in Utah
Being arrested does not necessarily mean you have been or will be charged with a crime. That decision belongs to the prosecutor alone, not the police department or arresting officer. The prosecutor has a maximum of 72 hours to decide to file charges after a suspect has been detained and brought into custody. You should contact a Utah criminal lawyer immediately if your loved one has been held in custody for more than three days and no charges have been filed. It may be possible to have your family member released.
Otherwise, pretrial detainees can generally be released from jail in exchange for a payment called bail. Bail can get quite expensive, but there are a few potential options if you’re having trouble accommodating the cost. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to:
- Request a bail reduction hearing. The hearing will give you an opportunity to argue, with assistance from an attorney, that the initial bail amount is so prohibitively expensive that it effectively constitutes a denial of bail.
- Use a bail bond. The pros of bail bonds are that they allow detainees to be released quickly, conveniently, and affordably, with bail companies charging a nonrefundable fee of just 10% to 15% of the bail amount. The cons are that you are financially liable if the defendant “skips bail” (does not appear in court), and the bail money will not be returned to you, even if the defendant is ultimately acquitted (found not guilty).
- Qualify for ROR. ROR stands for Release on Recognizance. Sometimes it is abbreviated as OR. Simply put, ROR is free bail. Instead of paying money, the suspect will have to fill out some paperwork. ROR is only available to defendants who are neither risks to public safety nor “flight risks” (at risk of skipping bail/fleeing the police).
Every county jail and correctional facility has its own bail policies, which are often (though not always) explained in detail on the facility’s website. If you cannot find the information you need, you should call the jail to ask about their rules for posting bail. Typically speaking, you may post bail around the clock at the facility where the detainee is being held, provided you:
- Are at least 18 years old.
- Bring a government-issued photo ID (e.g. driver’s license, passport).
- Don’t violate any of the jail’s rules.
Jails cannot make change, so you should bring the exact amount of cash required for bail.
Criminal Penalties for Harassment in Utah
There are two types of crimes in Utah: felonies and misdemeanors. While misdemeanors have less severe penalties than felonies, defendants must not take misdemeanor charges lightly. Like a felony, a misdemeanor can result in incarceration and expensive fines. It will also result in the creation of a criminal record, which can continue to cause problems long after the fines have been paid and the sentence has been served.
Utah divides misdemeanors into three groups: Class C, Class B, and Class A. Offenses below a Class C misdemeanor are violations, while offenses above a Class A misdemeanor are felonies. Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor under the Utah Criminal Code § 76-5-106(2). The maximum sentence for a Class B misdemeanor in Utah is six months in jail. The maximum criminal fine is $1,000.
Electronic communication harassment is a separate crime from harassment under Utah Code § 76-9-201. Electronic communication harassment can be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, or third-degree felony. Criminal penalties for this offense may include:
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Fine – Up to $2,500
- Sentence – Up to 1 year in jail
- Third Degree Felony
- Fine – Up to $5,000
- Sentence – Up to 5 years in prison
Arrested for Harassment in Utah? Contact A Utah Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or one of your family members was charged with harassment in Utah, you should contact Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson immediately. To schedule your free legal consultation with Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287.
Darwin has more than 16 years of experience handling felonies and misdemeanors in Salt Lake City and counties throughout Utah, including but not limited to Davis County, Morgan County, Weber County, Wasatch County, Box Elder County, Tooele County, and more. Your information will be kept confidential.