Getting arrested can be a terrifying and disorienting experience, especially for someone who has never been involved with the criminal justice system before. You may feel totally helpless and despondent and not know what to do or where to turn. However, you need to act quickly and decisively to retain counsel and protect your rights. Not long after your arrest, a bail hearing will be held where the judge will make major decisions about whether or not you need to be held in jail until the underlying matter is resolved. If you or a family member were arrested and require legal assistance to handle a bail hearing, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City bail hearing attorney as soon as possible.
At Overson Law, PLLC, our Salt Lake City bail hearing attorneys have dealt with a broad range of criminal cases while successfully fighting for our clients to be released with little to no bail. We understand the factors that the judge considers and how to craft the best argument that you deserve to be released. We can also assist you in procuring a bail bondsman if needed. Criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson possesses over 15 years of litigation experience, and he is ready to use his skills to fight for you. For a free consultation, contact Overson Law, PLLC, today at (801) 758-2287. You may also contact the firm online to schedule your consultation.
How Bail Hearings Work in Salt Lake City
After you are arrested, you will typically be taken to the local police station for what is known as the booking process. Sometimes, for low-level crimes and infractions, the police may simply release you with a summons telling you when your court date is. However, most of the time, a defendant will be placed under arrest and photographed and fingerprinted at the local station. Once this process is complete, you will be taken to a holding cell in the precinct or to the local detention center where you will be held until an arraignment, and bail hearing can be held.
Bail is like a security deposit that is provided to the court in order to release an individual facing an allegation of a crime from jail. The money paid to the court is used to ensure that the defendant will attend future court dates and adhere to other stipulations set by the court. It is important to note that a defendant’s bail money will be returned upon satisfying the conditions set by the court.
The bail hearing will occur within 48 hours of your booking. Usually, unless it is the weekend, the hearing happens a lot faster. This is why it is vital that you or a loved one contact an experienced Salt Lake City bail hearing lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon as possible after you are arrested. You will definitely want to have your lawyer at the bail hearing to argue for your release. Our attorneys understand the most persuasive arguments and how to frame them within the unique circumstances of each case.
At the bail hearing, the judge will determine whether you can be released without bail, with bail, or if you cannot be released at all and must stay incarcerated until the underlying matter is resolved. The former, release without bail, is also known as released on your own recognizance. This usually is reserved for cases where the crime is relatively low-level, and the defendant has no criminal history. The latter, no release, is reserved for the most serious crimes or for defendants who have a history of skipping bail.
How Cash Bail is Set at a Salt Lake City Bail Hearing
Most of the time, cash bail will be set by the judge. Note that the judge does also has the discretion to impose non-monetary conditions like mandatory counseling and staying out of trouble as conditions of your release. For cash bail, the judge will usually look to a set of guidelines known as the Utah Uniform Bail Schedule. These guidelines are set by a state commission and give a suggested bail amount for all crimes in the state.
The severity of the crime, such as whether it is a misdemeanor or felony and its grade, is one factor taken into account by the Schedule. However, it will also factor in your criminal history, which will be rated on a scale from poor to excellent, depending on how extensive it is. Thus, if you are arrested for DUI for the first time, the guidelines will suggest a lower bail amount than if you are arrested after three previous DUI convictions.
The judges in bail hearings tend to follow the Uniform Bail Schedule most of the time. However, they are permitted to deviate from the amount suggested if they find that a case presents “extenuating circumstances.” Some of the factors a judge will take into consideration include the defendant’s criminal history, the defendant’s history of appearing for required court dates, the defendant’s personal character and reputation in the community, and the nature and severity of the crime alleged.
In addition to the factors listed above, you should be familiar with the type of offenses that will make it difficult to receive bail, or that may result in a defendant being held without bail. For example, if the defendant was accused of committing a mass shooting, the court will likely consider the defendant as high-risk and will use their discretion to withhold bail. Alternatively, a minor offense like simple assault where the defendant engaged in a mutual fight will likely yield different results when it comes to bail.
An experienced Salt Lake City bail hearing attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC, will be able to craft the best arguments for your release on less bail than the schedule suggests based on these and other factors.
Dealing with a Salt Lake City Bail Bondsman
Sometimes, you may not be financially able to pay the amount of bail the judge sets. If you cannot gather money to pay your bail from close family or friends, you should consider contacting a bail bondsman. In particular, cases where more severe crimes are alleged, the judge can impose cash-only bail, meaning you cannot use the services of a bondsman. However, most of the time, you are permitted to have the bondsman act as a surety. In exchange for you paying a small fraction of the bail amount to them, usually 10%, the bondsman will agree to pay the court the full amount if you skip bail and do not appear in court.
Our Salt Lake City bail hearing attorneys can refer you to a reputable bail bondsman in the area. If you do not show up for court, however, any bail bondsman who acted as a surety will come after you and anyone else who co-signed for the full amount they had to pay the court. If you try to avoid repayment, they are known to employ such tactics as sending bounty hunters to track you down.
Additionally, if you choose to offer bail for the release of another person, you should be sure that they will attend their hearing and follow the guidelines set by the court. If you vouch for another person and they fail to attend a hearing, this could lead to your bail money being forfeited to the court. To learn more about how bail forfeiture works in Utah, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney.
How Bail Forfeiture Can Affect Your Bail Hearing in a Salt Lake City Criminal Case
As discussed, bail is paid to the court in order to release a person from jail. However, it is also possible for a defendant to have their bail forfeited. Bail forfeiture occurs when a defendant’s money paid for bail will not be repaid to the defendant. There are a number of reasons why bail forfeiture may occur, and these reasons are linked to the type of bail forfeiture.
There are two types of bail forfeiture that can affect a defendant’s case: involuntary bail forfeiture and voluntary bail forfeiture.
Involuntary Bail Forfeiture
Involuntary bail forfeiture happens when a defendant does not appear in court for their hearing after being released from jail. As the defendant did not appear in court as required by the terms of their release from custody, they will forfeit all bail paid to the court.
Note, however, that skipping a court appearance will not only result in the involuntary forfeiture of bail. Unless the defendant had a legitimate reason for missing the hearing that is accepted by the court, the judge would likely issue a warrant that allows law enforcement to arrest the defendant.
If the defendant is arrested for skipping their hearing, they will then be subject to another bail hearing. However, the court may exercise discretion to prevent the defendant from receiving bail due to their proclivity to flee and disobey court orders.
Voluntary Bail Forfeiture
Voluntary bail forfeiture is when a defendant consents to the release of bail to the court, which can be put towards legal fees and a variety of other expenses that may arise due to their criminal case. Unfortunately, a defendant cannot take money from a bail payment in order to pay off fees imposed by the court intended for the victim. Funds from voluntary bail forfeiture must be exclusively used for court costs.
Under some circumstances, a defendant may use bail to be released from jail and to resolve their criminal case. This is known as a bail forfeitable offense. In these situations, a defendant can choose to post bail and is given the option to attend court to argue their offense. If a defendant wins their case under these circumstances, the bail will be returned to them. Alternatively, if a defendant chooses not to show up to their hearing, the case will be closed, and the court will keep the money paid for bail. It is important to note that bail forfeitable offenses are typically minor misdemeanors.
If you need assistance dealing with a bail hearing and a criminal case, you should seek the help of an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer. Overson Law, PLLC, offers legal defense for a variety of criminal offenses, from DUIs to violent crimes and sex crimes. We know being accused of a crime can be frightening and traumatizing for a person, and we are here to provide you with the legal representation that you deserve.
Call Our Skilled Salt Lake City Bail Hearing Attorneys To Discuss Your Defense Options
If you were arrested for a criminal offense and you need legal aid with a Utah bail hearing, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City bail hearing lawyer immediately. While many people understand that they need a lawyer for a criminal trial, some do not realize that it is just important to have competent counsel at your side for a bail hearing, where a decision will be made that could end with you spending months or years in jail awaiting trial. At Overson Law PLLC, we know how high the stakes are when your liberty is involved. We will fight at your bail hearing for you to be released with minimal to no bail. After that, we can get started on the rest of your case. Contact Overson Law, PLLC, today at (801) 758-2287 for a free legal consultation to discuss the details of your case. Our online submission form can also be used to schedule your appointment.