After you are arrested, you are likely to feel scared, alone, and confused, especially if you have no prior experience dealing with the criminal justice system. The idea of spending time behind bars, even for just a few hours, can be terrifying enough to cause you to panic. However, letting your emotions get the best of you will prevent you from taking the vital steps needed to protect your rights and give yourself the best chance at getting out of jail quickly and getting your underlying case resolved, such as contacting a skilled Utah criminal defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon after your arrest as possible. This is especially important because the pretrial release hearing, where a judge will decide if you can be released or must remain in jail until your case is resolved, occurs very quickly after your arrest. Below, our lawyers explain whether you need a lawyer for a pretrial release hearing in Utah, and how our lawyers can help you at this hearing and throughout the rest of your case.
Should You Have an Attorney for a Utah Pretrial Release Hearing?
You will definitely want an attorney for your pretrial release hearing, where a judge will make a decision about whether you can be released from jail while the underlying charges are dealt with, and whether to condition your release on posting bail. This hearing will occur within 72 hours of your arrest, and usually much sooner unless you are arrested on a weekend or a holiday. As such, you or a loved one need to act quickly after your arrest to retain a skilled Utah pretrial release hearing attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC so that we will have time to assess the particulars of the situation and to craft the best possible argument for your release on little to no bail.
What Happens at a Utah Pretrial Release Hearing?
As noted above, the pretrial release hearing is where a judge makes a decision about whether a person who has been arrested and is being held in jail can be released, or if they must remain behind bars until their underlying charges are resolved. Usually, the judge will only detain those charged with the most serious crimes like homicide or who have an extensive criminal record or record of not appearing for court. However, even if the judge choose chooses to release you, it will usually be on monetary bail or with non-monetary conditions such as attending mandatory counseling or wearing a GPS ankle monitor. Typically, only for very minor crimes and infractions like disorderly conduct will the judge consider releasing you on your own recognizance, meaning without any conditions except returning to court as required.
Usually, the judge will set cash bail based on the amount suggested in the state guidelines, which factor in the crime or crimes with which you have been charged and your prior criminal history. However, the judge has the discretion to set the amount higher or lower than what is suggested in the guidelines if they find that extenuating circumstances exist. Our skilled Utah pretrial release hearing attorneys at Overson Law PLLC understand the factors most able to convince a judge to set a lower bail amount for you, including your criminal record or lack thereof, your ties to the community, and the nature and severity of the charges against you. If, once bail has been set, you still cannot afford it, our attorneys can put you into contact with a reputable bail bondsman who can post a surety bond on your behalf in exchange for a nominal fee.
What Happens after a Utah Pretrial Release Hearing?
If the judge keeps you detained or sets bail too high for you to afford, we can file a motion to reconsider the bail ruling. If we are granted a hearing, we can make a more extensive argument about why you are not a threat to the public or a flight risk, including introducing the testimony of character witnesses in some cases. After we have dealt with your release, we will likely turn our attention to requesting all of the prosecutor’s evidence so we can make a full assessment of their case, filing any motions like a motion to exclude evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure, and begin negotiations with the prosecutor about getting the charges against you dismissed or downgraded.
In some cases where you are a first-time offender, we may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to have you enter a plea in abeyance or to go through a pre-trial diversion program. In either cases, if you stay out of trouble for a certain period and abide by any other conditions of the court, the charges against you will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record. Other possible deals include the prosecutor agreeing to downgrade the charge to something less serious, such as from aggravated assault to simple assault, or agreeing to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge in exchange for your guilty plea. Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal or are not satisfied with the deal offered, our skilled trial attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC are always ready and able to fight for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom.
If You Are Facing a Utah Pretrial Release Hearing, Call Our Skilled Attorneys Right Away
The pretrial release hearing is an important early step in the criminal process that can end up setting the tone for the whole case. As such, it is imperative that you have an experienced Salt Lake City pretrial release hearing attorney by your side for this hearing working to ensure that you are released on little or no bail. After that, we can get to work out trying to get the underlying charges against you dismissed or downgraded. Call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.