How to Post Bail at the Salt Lake County Jail

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

Many criminal suspects in the SLC area are sent to the Salt Lake County Jail, also called the Adult Detention Center (ADC). Instead of housing convicted criminals who are serving long-term sentences, the jail acts as a temporary holding center for people who are still awaiting trial. If your loved one is incarcerated at the facility, you may be able to bail them out.  Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson explains the process.

male hands counting money

What is Bail?

In simple terms, bail is money you pay to get an inmate out of jail.  Bail acts like collateral that guarantees the defendant will show up at future court dates instead of fleeing the state or evading law enforcement.  When the defendant comes to court as promised, they get their money back.

If a defendant “skips bail” and does not come back to court, they forfeit the money, and the court will issue a bench warrant for their arrest.  To make matters worse, the defendant will also be prosecuted more harshly because of the failure to appear.  Remember, bail jumping is its own crime separate from the original charges.  Under Section 76-8-312 of the Utah Code, bail-jumpers can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor (for misdemeanor offenses) or even a third-degree felony (for felony offenses).

In short, trying to skip bail is a bad idea which will only make your legal situation worse by draining money and heaping on additional charges.

Which Inmates Are Eligible for Release?

Not all inmates are eligible to be released on bail.  Under Section 77-20-1 of the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure, inmates lose their rights to bail if:

  • They are charged with a capital felony, i.e. aggravated murder.
  • They committed a felony, such as homicide or certain sex crimes:
    • While on probation or parole.
    • And are considered to be a flight risk.
    • And are considered to be a threat to public safety.
    • And violated a condition of release the last time they were out on bail.

There must also be “substantial evidence to support the charge” in all of the above cases.  If no such evidence exists, bail may still be a possibility.

Section 77-36-2.5 provides some special restrictions for domestic violence charges.  A person arrested for domestic violence cannot be released on bail before the end of the next court day after their arrest. Additionally, if the suspect contacts the alleged victim while awaiting bail, he or she could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

Besides ordering the defendant to return for future hearings, the court may also impose additional conditions that would help guarantee that return.  For example, the court might prohibit the defendant from seeing or contacting victims or witnesses.

holding prison bars black background

Ways to Pay the Salt Lake County Jail

There are four ways to post bail with the Salt Lake County Jail.  But before we explain them, there’s one last thing you need to keep in mind: posting bail is often a tedious, lengthy process. You may be at the jail for hours, so be sure to leave a full day’s worth of space in your schedule just in case the ADC is particularly busy when you arrive.

The jail’s street address is:

3415 South 900 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

Getting back to your payment options, you can choose from the following methods:

  • Pay in person at the jail by following signs to the Visiting Lobby.  You can post bail any hour of the day, any day of the week, but the Lobby might be closed when you arrive, and checks must be verified by personnel during normal business hours (8:00 A.M. through 5:00 P.M.)  If the Lobby is closed, simply ring the buzzer and wait for instructions from personnel.
    • Cost — None.
    • Accepted — Cash, cashier’s check, certified check.
  • Pay in person at a Western Union location.  You can find the location closest to you by calling (800) 325-6000 for help or visiting the Western Union website.
    • Cost — $11.95 per transaction.  You can transfer up to $5,000 at a time.
    • Accepted — Cash only.
  • Pay over the phone through Western Union.  First dial (800) 634-3422, and then press 2.  An operator will prompt you for payment information.  Once the information is confirmed, the transaction will be processed and you will receive a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) for future reference.
    • Cost — Ranges from $16 to $74 depending on how much money you’re transferring.  You can transfer up to $2,000 at a time.
    • Accepted — MasterCard, Visa, Discover.
  • Pay online through Western Union.  Visit the Western Union website and click the “Send Now” button.  Simply choose “Quick Collect” and fill out the “Pay To” and other information prompts.  Again, you will receive an MTCN for your records.  The jail will not provide the computer, so you must make online payments from home.
    • Cost — Ranges from $16 to $74 depending on how much money you’re transferring.  You can transfer up to $2,000 at a time.
    • Accepted — MasterCard, Visa, Discover.

You can read more about the ADC in our Guide to Salt Lake County Jail.

If you’ve been charged with a crime, or if a loved one has been arrested, an experienced Utah defense lawyer can help.  To schedule a free and private legal consultation, call attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 today.

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