If you are charged with a crime in Utah, you may risk losing your freedom and paying hefty fines. An arrest can be one of the scariest, most overwhelming experiences of your life. Part of the criminal process may require you to go through what is known as a release hearing. At this point, you may have an opportunity to be released from jail while your case is pending. For many people – especially those who have never been arrested – understanding what a release hearing is and its effects over their case may seem confusing and challenging. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys from Overson Law, PLLC, invite you to keep reading as we explain what a release hearing is in Utah.
Understanding Pretrial Release Hearings in Utah
When you are arrested for an alleged crime, you will be processed. Typically, this consists of taking your photograph, fingerprints, and general information. After your processing ends, you will be held in jail for a period that should not go beyond 48 hours from your arrest. At this point, you will be taken before a judge for what is known as your pre-trial hearing – commonly referred to as your bail hearing. Keep in mind that this type of process will occur in cases where the criminal offense you have been accused of allows it. This type of hearing may not be available in severe felony cases or for people with a previous history of “bail jumping.”
At this point, the judge in your case may choose to release you on your own recognizance, set bail to avoid jail – while your case is pending – or set you free with specific conditions such as participating in a rehabilitation program for drug or alcohol abuse. While it is possible to avoid jail during pretrial, you should never go through this process alone. It is always in your best interest to get the assistance of a skilled Salt Lake City pretrial release attorney.
Do I Need an Attorney for my Release Hearing in Utah?
Securing the assistance of your Utah criminal defense attorney during your release or bail hearing is essential. When setting bail, the judge in your case has to look at many different elements. The prosecution may try to ask the judge to set bail above the established guidelines judges use to determine bail. The prosecution may try to provide reasons why your bail should be set higher than what appears within the guidelines.
However, with your Utah criminal defense lawyer’s assistance, you can fight to have your bail set to the minimum. Your lawyer can help you by arguing with the court that your bail should be set at its minimum because of the following:
You are not a threat to the community
Your lawyer can make a compelling case; you don’t represent a risk to your community. It is essential to prepare a strategic and persuasive case suggesting your ties and contributions to your community make it impossible for you to represent any danger. It is essential to have evidence supporting your arguments, which your criminal defense lawyer can help you achieve.
You don’t represent a flight risk
In criminal cases, judges are reluctant to allow bail in cases where the defendant has a previous history of skipping or jumping bail. Additionally, if you represent a flight risk, meaning you will try to flee your jurisdiction if set free on bail, the judge will not grant you a provisional release. However, this needs to be supported by evidence. Your criminal defense lawyer should convince the judge that you don’t represent a flight risk, and your bail should not be set high.
Your charges don’t warrant high bail
Typically, your bail should be proportional to the severity of your alleged criminal offense – among other factors. Moreover, if additional mitigating factors may impact your potential penalties, your bail should not be set high. However, this is something your Utah pretrial release attorney should handle. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can help you with these legal matters.
What Happens if I Can’t Pay for My Bail After My Release Hearing in Utah?
Even in cases where a criminal defense attorney convinces the judge to set bail at a bare minimum, it is possible the defendant may not have the money to post it. What can you do in this situation? Do you give up your bail privileges and go to jail? Fortunately, there are ways you can get a bail reduction even if you don’t have the money to pay for it upfront.
One of the most common ways defendants can get bail when they don’t have enough money is through a local bail bonds agency. Through a bail bond agent, you have the opportunity to get the bail money needed to avoid remaining in jail. However, there is an essential caveat to consider. Typically, your bail bondsman will require a 10% fee of the bail amount. This fee acts as a way to secure their payment if you fail to appear in any future court hearing. Moreover, if you skip your hearings, the court may require the bail bond agency’s full bail amount, which means they will turn to you for payment.
In the event you cannot get bail through a bail bonds agency, your criminal defense attorney can provide additional assistance. There are ways your Utah criminal defense lawyer can submit a motion to explain the circumstances that prevent you from getting your bail. This is an excellent opportunity to bring the court’s attention to matters that may not have been considered during your release hearing – such as your financial situation. It is always in your best interest to retain a skilled Utah criminal defense attorney.
Criminal Defense Attorney Offering Free Consultations in Utah
If you or a loved one was charged with a crime in Utah, there is no time to waste. It is essential to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney for a pretrial release hearing who understands how criminal law works. Facing Utah’s criminal justice system can be challenging and overwhelming. However, our skilled attorneys from Overson Law, PLLC, can help you fight aggressively to defend your rights as a defendant. To learn more about our legal services and how we can help you during your release hearing, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.