When a person is arrested for a criminal offense, they are taken into police custody. Once you are in custody, it can be difficult to get out. Bail is often granted, allowing defendants to await their trials from home. In the past, bail involved cash payments, but this is not always the case anymore.
Salt Lake County and the rest of Utah have been shifting to a cashless bail system. Under a cashless bail system, defendants do not pay any money to secure pre-trial release. Instead, a judge considers various factors about their case and releases the defendant under certain conditions. However, cash bail is not completely out of the question and may still be imposed in some cases.
Cashless bail allows defendants to secure pre-trial release regardless of their ability to pay. Our Salt Lake City bail attorneys can help you argue for cashless bail so you can return home to your family. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation to begin.
What Is Cashless Bail in Salt Lake County?
Traditionally, the cash bail system requires defendants to pay a certain sum of money to secure pre-trial release. The amount of money involved was based largely on the severity of the underlying criminal offense and factors like the defendant’s criminal history and flight risk. Under this system, pre-trial release came down to the defendant’s ability to pay. Wealthier defendants were typically able to secure their release while poorer ones remained in jail.
Cashless bail aims to remedy this unfair system by removing the requirement of payment. Instead, defendants are released on bail under specific conditions tailored to their case. These conditions could include holding down a job, wearing an ankle monitor, refraining from drugs or alcohol, and more. A violation of these terms could see the defendant re-arrested and their bail adjusted or revoked entirely.
Bail reform laws were passed in 2020 that made cashless bail available to defendants in Utah. Those laws were later repealed after critics lamented the possibility of “dangerous criminals” being released. The House and Legislature in Utah passed a new bail reform law, which was then signed by the Governor on November 16, 2021.
Cashless Bail in Salt Lake County
Under the cashless bail system in Salt Lake County, most defendants will not pay any money to secure pre-trial release. Instead, the court will consider various factors and details about their case to develop appropriate bail conditions and restrictions.
For example, if a person is arrested for a non-violent drug offense, part of their bail conditions might be drug testing and wearing an ankle monitor. Paying a fee is not necessarily required to be released from pre-trial detention, although testing and monitoring might incur a fee.
The conditions of your bail may be tailored to your unique situation. A defendant who commits a minor offense but is found to be a serious flight risk might face stricter bail conditions than someone who committed a similar crime but poses no flight risk. As such, you should have a skilled lawyer at your side to advocate for your bail. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys are prepared to assist you.
A defendant’s risk level is also considered when determining bail. Your risk level might be assessed by looking at your criminal history to determine if you are likely to re-offend while out on bail or if you are likely to flee the jurisdiction. High-risk defendants might be granted bail with stricter conditions or denied bail if they are too much of a risk.
Do I Have to Pay Money for Bail in Salt Lake County?
In general, most defendants probably do not have to pay any money to secure pre-trial release under the cashless bail system. However, cash bail has not been entirely eliminated and may still be imposed where necessary. Our Utah criminal defense lawyers can help you argue for cashless bail. If you are required to pay money for bail, we can argue for the least amount possible.
If you are required to pay money as part of your bail, the court must consider your ability to pay bail. Defendants who are not financially well-off might see their bail amount reduced to something they can afford. Wealthier defendants should similarly face an increase in bail so that they pay an amount that would still be a penalty if they later fail to appear in court. However, this is not always the case.
Ideally, defendants required to pay money as part of their bail should not be held in pre-trial detention simply because they cannot afford to pay. Since the cashless bail system in Salt Lake County is still somewhat new, there are bound to be hiccups and bugs to work out. Our legal team can help you navigate the bail process.
What To Expect from the Cashless Bail System in Salt Lake County
The cashless bail system aims to provide bail to defendants on a more individualized level. In the past, the circumstances of your alleged offense and criminal history weighed heavily on bail considerations. If a person was too poor to pay, the court did not show leniency. Now, you can expect the court to look into details about your case in addition to personal details about you. Even if your alleged offense is rather serious, other factors like ties to the community and outside responsibilities might still help you.
Bail reforms are happening across the country. Different states are trying out different systems to varying degrees of success. You can expect the court to tread very carefully in the hopes of avoiding serious mistakes. You can also expect the rules to change and adjust over time as courts and court officials become more familiar with what works and what does not.
Call Our Salt Lake County Bail Attorneys for Help
If you were recently arrested and need help securing bail, call our Ogden criminal defense lawyers for help right away. Our team can help you secure cashless bail under reasonable conditions. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 to get a free case review.