The thought of spending time behind bars is a nightmare scenario for many Utahns, especially those who have no prior experience with the criminal justice system. It can be an especially draining experience if you end up in jail after a domestic violence arrest, which usually occurs after a fight with someone you are, or were, close with. The best thing you or a loved one can do after such an arrest to protect your rights and your freedom is to contact an experienced Salt Lake City domestic violence defense lawyer like those at Overson Law, PLLC for help. Below, we explain what happens after a domestic violence arrest and how we can assist in bringing your case to the most positive possible resolution.
Are You Taken to Jail After a Salt Lake City Domestic Violence Arrest?
The short answer to this question is yes, you will almost always spend at least a short amount of time behind bars after an arrest for a domestic violence offense in Salt Lake City. Immediately after your arrest, you will be transported to the local police station for what is known as the booking process, where you will be photographed and fingerprinted and your biological information will be collected. When booking is complete you will either be taken to the station’s holding cell or to the local jail, where you will be held until your bail hearing can occur, usually within 72 hours of your booking.
Do You Get Out of Jail after a Salt Lake City Bail Hearing?
At your bail hearing, the judge will have the option of releasing you on your own recognizance, meaning without bail. This is usually reserved for low level crimes, like a domestic violence offense where the underlying charge is criminal mischief. The judge can also choose not to release you from jail, and to make you remain in custody until the matter is resolved, but this is typically only done in cases where the charges are extremely serious, like a situation where you committed homicide of a cohabitant.
Most often, the judge in a domestic violence case will choose to set bail. When deciding the amount, they will first look to the Utah Uniform Bail Schedule, state-issued guidelines with suggested bail amounts for each crime. However, the judge also has the discretion to set bail higher or lower in consideration of extenuating circumstances, such as your criminal record or lack thereof, potential flight risk, and ties to and reputation in your community, among other things. Our skilled Salt Lake City bail hearing attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC can craft the most persuasive arguments to get the judge to release you on minimal or no bail.
You may need the assistance of a bail bondsman, who can issue a surety bond to the court, in order to make bail. If you are financially unable to afford even the services of the bail bondsman, we can make a motion for the judge to reconsider the amount of bail sent. For domestic violence cases, there will almost always be a protective order put in place restraining you from contacting or being around the victim. If you violate a protective order, or any other condition of your release put in place by the court, your bail can be revoked and you can end up back in jail for the duration of your case.
What Are the Possible Outcomes of a Salt Lake City Domestic Violence Case?
After we have worked to get you released, our skilled criminal defense lawyers at Overson Law, PLLC will focus our attention on getting the underlying charge downgraded or dismissed so that you do not end up back behind bars again. Domestic violence is broadly defined under Utah law, and many crimes, even some non-violent ones, can be considered a domestic violence offense if committed against a cohabitant, which is also broadly defined. As such, what type of deal the prosecutor is willing to offer is going to depend a lot on how severe the underlying charge is. For example, the prosecutor is going to be more willing to offer leniency if the case involved a minor offense, such as criminal mischief by throwing a pot at the wall during a fight, than a more serious one like badly assaulting your spouse. It will also depend on your criminal record and particularly whether you have any past convictions for domestic violence offenses.
For first-time offenders charged with lesser crimes, we may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to let you enter a plea in abeyance. Such a plea is actually a guilty plea, but the court does not enter into the system. Instead, you are required to comply with a set of conditions, such as attending anger management classes, and to stay out of trouble for a certain period of time, usually no more than a year. If you are successful, the charges will be dropped and your guilty plea will never be entered, leaving you without a criminal record.
Another possibility is the prosecutor downgrading your charge to something less severe in exchange for you entering a guilty plea and saving the state the time and cost of a trial. If they will not downgrade the charge, they may offer a deal where you plead guilty in exchange for them giving the judge a lenient sentencing recommendation, which the judge almost always abides by. 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 ready to fight at trial to achieve a not guilty verdict for you.
If You Have Been Charged with a Domestic Violence Offense, Call Our Veteran Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
At Overson Law, PLLC, our experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers understand that domestic situations can be messy and that just because you have been charged with domestic violence does not mean that you are guilty. We will fight to tell your side of the story and to bring the matter to the most successful possible resolution. Call our office today at (801) 758-2287 for a free, confidential consultation.