Modern grandparents have often taken on a much more active role in raising their grandchildren than grandparents of previous generations. In line with this, it is not unheard of that an arrested grandchild’s first call might not be to their parents or friends but to their grandparents. Aside from being scared for their grandchild’s well-being, many grandparents who have never before had experience with the criminal justice system may be totally confused about what they should do next to help their grandchild get out of jail. In this article, our experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer at Overson & Bugden explains how the bail process works in Utah and then take a deeper dive into the juvenile justice system as a whole.
The Bail Process in Salt Lake City Criminal Cases
For most of this article, we will address the criminal process as if your grandchild is a juvenile. However, we will begin by explaining how the bail process would work if your grandchild is an adult. In either case, it is entirely permissible for anyone, including a grandparent, to pay bail for anyone else.
The Adult Bail Process
For most crimes committed by adults, bail is set by the court in accordance with the Utah Uniform Bail Schedule. Occasionally, for particularly minor crimes or infractions, the police may simply release you with a summons to appear in court on your arraignment date. Most of the time, however, the arrestee will appear before a judge within 48 hours for a bail hearing.
The Uniform Bail Schedule in Utah is a list of suggested bail amounts for each crime, produced each year by the Bail and Sentencing Commission. Aside from the severity of the crime, the individual’s prior criminal history is also taken into account in these guidelines. For example, if this is your grandchild’s first DUI arrest in Salt Lake City, the guidelines will suggest a lower bail amount than if they have previously been convicted of multiple DUIs.
While the judges typically rely on these guidelines in imposing bail, they are not required to. If they see extenuating circumstances, they are permitted to use their discretion to set a lower or higher amount of bail. They can also choose to release an individual on their own recognizance, meaning with no bail. In addition, for particularly serious crimes such as rape, they are permitted to set no bail at all and require the individual to be held in detention while the underlying criminal proceeding is resolved.
The best thing you can do for your grandchild at this point is to hire an experienced bail hearing attorney like those at Overson & Bugden, who will know how to argue for your grandchild to receive minimal or no bail. If bail is set at a rate too high for you to afford, we can set you up with a trustworthy bail bondsman. Be aware that if your grandchild does not appear in court as required, however, any bail money will be considered forfeited and the bail bondsman will come after you for repayment.
The Juvenile Bail Process
Juvenile crimes in Utah are dealt with using an entirely different system than the adult criminal justice system. This system is supposed to focus on rehabilitation of the child so that they do not offend again. In line with this, there is usually no bail in juvenile cases. Typically, juveniles will be released to the custody of their parents or guardians. In rare cases where the judge orders the child to be placed in detention, bail will not be available because this detention will be seen as a necessary part of the juvenile’s rehabilitation process.
An initial determination regarding holding a child in detention is made by a juvenile intake officer. These officers can only recommend detention for a list of holdable offenses, such as aggravated assault. If they do recommend detention, there will be a hearing in front of a judge within 48 hours where an experienced juvenile defense attorney like those at Overson & Bugden can argue that the judge should overrule the intake officer’s decision and release the child to the custody of their legal guardian. However, other parties such as grandparents may file for custody of a child in certain cases.
The Juvenile Justice System in Salt Lake City
As noted above, the juvenile justice system is a separate, independent entity from the adult criminal justice system in Utah. As the goal is rehabilitation of the minor rather than punishment, non-judicial remedies are pursued whenever possible. The first step in this process will be your grandchild undergoing what is known as a preliminary inquiry.
At the preliminary inquiry, a juvenile court officer will conduct an in-depth interview of your grandchild and make an assessment about whether they can be dealt with outside of the courtroom. Some of the non-judicial remedies that may be imposed are substance abuse treatment, community service, paying restitution, counseling, writing a letter of apology or an essay explaining their actions, or probation.
If the inquiry officer does not believe a non-judicial resolution is appropriate, the matter will proceed in the juvenile court system. In juvenile court, there is no right to a jury trial and all cases are decided by a judge. At this point, it is crucial that you have an experienced Salt Lake City juvenile defense lawyer like those at Overson & Bugden representing your grandchild so they can try to work out a deal with the prosecutor. If no deal can be reached, we are prepared to aggressively fight you grandchild’s case at trial and work to prevent harsh penalties, such as time in the juvenile detention facility, from being imposed.
If Your Grandchild Has Been Arrested, Reach Out to Our Salt Lake City Juvenile Defense Team Today
The most important thing you can do to ensure your grandchild’s rights are protected throughout the criminal process is to hire a competent Murray criminal defense lawyer like those on the team at Overson & Bugden to represent them. We know how to guide you and your grandchild through all stages of the process, from fighting any requests for pre-trial detention, to preparing them for their preliminary inquiry, to fighting the case at trial if necessary. For a free consultation, call us today at (801) 758-2287.