There are many types of criminal charges in Utah, but none are more serious than those classified by the state as felonies. In line with the fact that they are the most serious types of criminal charges, felonies can also come with some serious penalties, including the potential for long jail sentences, and bail is often set quite high if release from detention is permitted at all.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our experienced Utah bail hearing attorneys have successfully advocated for many clients charged with felonies to be released with minimal bail. We will leave no stone unturned fighting for the judge to hear your side of the story and make a holistic decision. For a free consultation, call our office today at (801) 758-2287.
Crimes that Are Charged as Felonies in Utah
There are many different crimes classified as felonies in the state of Utah. These are the most serious crimes on the state’s books. They include the following:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Human trafficking
- Theft of item or items worth $5,000 or more
- Grand theft auto
- Money laundering
- Terroristic threats
- Child abandonment
How the Bail Process Works in Utah
After being arrested for a felony, you will be taken to the local police station for what is known as the booking process. You will be photographed and fingerprinted and the police will inventory any items that you had on you at the time of your arrest for safekeeping until you are released. Then you will be kept in a holding cell or transferred to the local detention center until a bail hearing can take place. This must happen within 48 hours of your booking.
At the bail hearing, the judge will first determine whether bail is going to be issued at all. Sometimes, judges release individuals on their own recognizance, or without bail. This may be conditioned on the bailee adhering to certain requirements such as attending therapy or drug counseling and staying out of further trouble. However, because felonies are such serious crimes, it is rare for defendants to be released on the own recognizance.
On the other end of the scale, the judge also has the right to deny you bail and hold you in jail until the underlying criminal matter is resolved. If a person is charged with a felony punishable by death, the judge can choose to withhold bail. Judges can also deny bail to those who commit a felony while out on probation or parole, or free on bail for committing a different felony. The court can also deny bail where the judge determines the charges are heavily supported by evidence and believes that that the defendant is a danger to the public or is likely to skip bail. An experienced bail hearing defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC can work to convince the judge that you are not a danger or a flight risk and at least deserve a chance to post bail.
How Bail is Calculated in Utah
In determining what amount bail should be set at, the judge will first consider the Utah Uniform Bail Schedule. This schedule serves as a guideline for judges across the state in making sentencing decisions. It suggests bail for each situation based primarily on two factors: the severity of the crime itself, and the extent of the criminal history of the individual charged. Felonies are severe crimes and so the bail listed for them will usually be quite high, between $5,000 for third-degree felonies and $25,000 for 1st degree felonies. Exactly how much you must pay will depend on the specific felony.
The judge will first look at the guidelines to see the base amount recommended for bail for the crime you are alleged to have committed. Then, they will use a formula to classify your criminal history from poor to excellent. Finally, they will match the crime and your criminal history classification and this will tell the judge how much bail is recommended by the schedule.
While judges tend to follow the bail schedule in most situations, they are allowed to use their discretion to deviate from it in situations where they note the existence of extenuating circumstances. An experienced bail hearing attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC will fight to convince the judge that your circumstances are extenuating and that you should be released on less bail that the schedule suggests. Some of those factors judges consider include the following:
- The nature and severity of the alleged crime
- Whether there is a restraining order against the defendant
- Whether the defendant has violated probation or violated parole
- Whether the defendant is already free on bail for another case
- Whether the defendant has connections to the community
- Whether the defendant has a history of substance abuse
- Whether the defendant has a record of prior offenses
- The defendant’s personal character and reputation within the community
How to Post Bail in Utah
You or a loved one can post bail yourself by using check, cash, or credit card. However, especially for felonies where the bail is high, you may need to use a bail bondsman to help pay the full amount. The bail bondsman will issue a surety bond, often against some sort of collateral, for the full bail amount. If your husband jumps bail, the court will take the full amount from the bondsman. The bondsman will, in turn, come after you, and will often use the services of a bounty hunter to collect their debts.
If You Need Assistance with Felony Bail, Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
As felonies are the most serious types of crimes in Utah, the bail set for them is typically the highest set for any criminal defendants. Judges are also more likely to hold a criminal defendant accused of a felony without bail while the case is resolved. At Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys have years of experience fighting to get our clients charged with felonies released on reasonable bail. From there, we can work on handling the underlying charges as well. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.