What Happens If I Can’t Afford Bail in Salt Lake?

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

According to Rule 7 (b) of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure, when any peace officer makes an arrest, the person arrested must be taken to the nearest available magistrate for setting of bail. Where a release pending further criminal proceeding is possible, bail is the mechanism set up by the legal system to reduce the chances that a person will flee the area or go into hiding and be unavailable to stand trial. The amount of bail is determined in accordance with the severity of the offense, the individual’s criminal history, and other factors.  Where bail is available, violent crimes receive higher bail amounts than non-violent ones.

There are a number of options an individual has to either make bail or otherwise secure their release pending future criminal proceedings. The experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys of Overson Law LLC discuss some of the ways an individual can make bail or secure release in Utah.

man paying commissary money

Getting Released on Your Own Recognizance (OR Release)

For misdemeanors and other less serious offenses, release on own recognizance is option to avoid unnecessary imprisonment. An OR release is unsupervised and does not require the posting of a monetary bond by the defendant or by a bail bond service on the defendant’s behalf. Thus, an OR release is the least restrictive form of release and typically reserved for situations where the risk of additional harms is low. A judge is likely to consider the defendant’s community ties, family support, work history, past criminal history, and other factors to determine whether OR release is appropriate.

OR release is the least restrictive meaning that it is the most difficult for of release to secure. However, even if your circumstances are not a good fit for OR release, you may be able to secure a reduction in bail or leverage other means to make bail.

Can I Reduce My Bail By Asking the Court?

Failing to pay the amount established by the court under the concept of bail will result in spending the length of the trial behind bars. Fortunately, in the state of Utah there are a number of options that can be explored with the assistance of an experienced attorney. Under the right circumstances, you may use the laws to retain & protect your freedom while the legal process is underway.

As it is stated in The Bail Reform Act of 1984, a person is entitled to ask the court to lower the amount of bail established by proving themselves worthy of lenience. During a requested bail hearing, the defendant will have to prove to the court that they fit the criteria for a reduction in bail for reasons including that the defendant is not a flight risk. Additionally, the criminal defendant must also convince a judge that they do not intend to or are likely to harm members of the public while they await trial.

The process and procedure of bail reduction hearings can be thoroughly explained by an experienced attorney. However, at their core, many bail hearings revolve around the contention that the bail is so high that it is a violation of the rights guaranteed by the Excessive Bail Clause of the Eight Amendment of the U.S. Constitution or Article I Section 9 of the Utah Constitution which prohibits “excessive” bail amounts. Once all evidence is considered, the judge can decide to lower the amount of bail to a more affordable figure that you may be able to pay out of pocket or with the help of friends and family.

inside of a prison in Utah

Using a Bail Bond Agent to Make Bail

If after a bail hearing the figure set for bail is still too steep, a bail bond agent may present an option to make even a high amount of bail. This is one of the most popular methods that people choose in order to be released from incarceration and enjoy their freedom throughout the court proceedings.

Licensed bail bond agents, generally, present and execute a contract where the agent agrees to pay the court the full amount of your bail. Another contract is also signed between the bond agent and a family member or friend who will agree to be responsible for the bail money in case the accused decided  to “skip bail” and become a fugitive by leave the state to avoid the trial process. If you do not attend your trial, this amount posted for bail will be forfeit and the guarantor of the bail will be left on the hook for the full amount. Absent any complications caused by a failure to appear, the agent or company providing this service will charge a non-refundable fee, typically equivalent to 10% of the full bail.

Criminal Defense Attorneys Handle Bail Hearings in Utah

Overson Law LLC have broad experience as criminal attorneys in the state of Utah. Their legal team can offer strong counsel and defense following an arrest. Call our offices at (801) 733-1308 today for a free consultation.