Utah Bail Hearing Attorney

Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer

Being arrested is usually an unexpected experience, and you rarely have time to prepare beforehand for what is coming. As such, even though you are certain to be scared and overwhelmed after an arrest, it is important to keep focused, as events will occur swiftly. Acting quickly and decisively to retain a lawyer is a good idea, especially when your bail hearing, where a judge will decide if you can be released while your case plays out, can occur within mere hours of your arrest.

At Overson & Bugden, our skilled Utah bail hearing attorneys have many years of experience fighting successfully for our clients to be released from custody with little to no bail imposed. We will make sure that the judge hears your side of the story and that we do everything in our power to get you home safely as quickly as possible. Call our office today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.

How a Utah Bail Hearing Works

For some low-level crimes and infractions, such as traffic tickets, you will be issued a summons with a court date and sent on your way. For most crimes, you will be arrested and taken to the local police precinct for what is known as the booking process. During this process you will be fingerprinted and photographed, your biographical information will be collected, and the police will inventory any items you had on you at the time of your arrest for safekeeping. Then you will be taken to the holding cell or a local detention center to wait your bail hearing.

Under usual circumstances, the bail hearing must be held within 48 hours of the booking by law. Often, it will occur much quicker than this. It is vital that you or a loved one reach out to an experienced Utah bail hearing attorney like those at Overson & Bugden as soon after your arrest as possible so that we can be prepared to represent you at this hearing and argue for your release.

Generally speaking, the judge can do one of three things at this hearing: set bail, which you will have to pay in some manner to be released, refuse to set bail and order you detained until the underlying criminal matter is resolved, or release you on your own recognizance. Release on your own recognizance means release without bail, and is generally granted only for low-level charges and defendants without an extensive criminal history. On the other hand, not releasing a defendant is typically reserved for the most serious cases where the defendant might present a danger to the public or a flight risk.

How Cash Bail is Determined at a Utah Bail Hearing

Most of the time, the judge will set cash bail at some amount. Sometimes, they might include other conditions such as undergoing counseling or staying out of further trouble as part of the release order. To determine the amount of cash bail to set, judges will typically turn to a set of guidelines known as the Utah Uniform Bail Schedule. They are set each year by a state commission and contain suggested bail amounts for all acts of criminal conduct in the state.

There are two main things that factor into the amount suggested in these guidelines. First, there is the severity of the alleged crime. Suggested bail will generally be higher for crimes of violence and felonies than for non-violent misdemeanors. Secondly, your criminal history will be graded on a scale of poor to excellent based on how extensive it is. Those with poorer criminal histories will have higher suggested bail amounts. So, if you are arrested for assault for the first time with no criminal record, the Schedule will suggest a lower amount of bail than if you had been convicted of assault three times before.

While judges typically stick to the amounts suggested in these guidelines when setting bail, they are given to discretion to deviate and set it lower (or higher) than suggested if they find that “extenuating circumstances” exist in your case. The judge will consider multiple factors in determining extenuating circumstances, including your prior criminal history, whether you are on parole or probation for another time, your reputation and character in the community, and the nature and severity of the crime alleged. Our skilled Salt Lake City bail hearing attorneys at Overson & Bugden know how to make the most persuasive arguments to the judge based on your situation and these factors for you to you be released on as little bail as possible.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Deal with a Utah Bail Bondsman

In some cases, bail may be set at an amount that you simply cannot afford to pay. Occasionally the judge will require cash-only bail from the defendant, but most of the time you will be permitted to use a bail bondsman as a surety. This means that you can pay a very small percentage, usually ten percent, of the bail amount to the bondsman and the bondsman will guarantee to the court that you will appear as required. We can recommend a reputable, licensed bail bondsman to you if needed.

If you fail to appear as required, the bail bondsman will have to forfeit the entire amount of your bail to the court. They will then come after you and any co-signers for the full amount, as per your contract. If you try to avoid this responsibility, bail bondsman are known to employ bounty hunters to track you down and collect your debts.

Call Our Seasoned Utah Bail Hearing Attorneys Today

No one wants to end up stuck in jail for weeks or months because of the fact that there was no one at the bail hearing to make a proper argument for their release. At Overson & Bugden, our Utah bail hearing attorneys have years of experiencing successfully advocating for our clients to be released on little to no bail. We will fight to get you home to the safety of your family, and then begin to work on getting the underlying charges downgraded or dismissed. Call our office today at (801) 758-2287 for a free, confidential consultation.