- 4 Ways to Get Out of Jail
Own recognizance – A defendant must have a virtually spotless criminal history and have a job, family and other connections to the community to be released based only on a written promise to show up for all scheduled court hearings. Generally, any crime of violence removes a defendant from consideration for an OR release. The court can also attach conditions to the release that must be followed.
Supervised pretrial release – Utah began its program of supervised pretrial release in the early 1970s, at least in part, to battle jail overcrowding. Having a criminal defense attorney familiar with the program and the types of defendants chosen can be invaluable. For the most part, the same types of defendants are chosen for pretrial release that are picked for OR release. Defendants will be required to follow a rigorous program that could include drug or alcohol education classes as well as community services and regular meetings with officers in the Pretrial Services division. In many cases, defendants are released into the program without paying any bail.
Cash bond – Defendants who choose this option usually are arrested for misdemeanors with fairly low bail amounts, but do not qualify for supervised pretrial release or an OR release. The entire amount of the bail must be paid to court officials. However, if the defendant shows up for all court hearings, that money is returned, minus only court costs and fees.
Surety bond – When a defendant is unable to afford to pay a cash bond, the most common option is a surety bond through a bail bond company. This arrangement contractually binds the defendant, bail bond agent and court. The defendant pays a nonrefundable premium to the bail bond agent – usually 10 percent – and the bail bond agent guarantees the entire amount of the bail to the court. No additional money changes hands unless the defendant doesn’t show up for all scheduled court hearings. The court then must be paid the entire amount of the bail from the bail bond agent, who then seeks to collect that amount from the defendant and any co-signer.
- How to Get Bail
Virtually all defendants will have an opportunity to get bail in Utah. The only crimes that could result in a defendant held without bail are serious felonies in which there is considerable evidence against the offender. And in those cases, the decision to hold a defendant without bail can only be made after a hearing to consider all possibilities. Once the availability of bail is confirmed, the process can be triggered from jail by the defendant – either with or without the help of a co-signer.
- What Will Bail Cost
State law allows bail bond companies to charge no less than 10 percent and no more than 20 percent to clients. In practice, the higher amount is charged for the smallest bail amounts while 10 percent is charged for higher bonds, according to bail bond officials. Some bail bond companies will set up payment plans for defendants so that the initial cost will be lower, though it will extend for a longer period of time.
4. How Long Will I Stay in Jail
For a defendant who chooses either a cash bond or a surety bond, the waiting time is usually a matter of hours. The time in jail also includes the booking process into a criminal detention facility. Many times, all of the information needed to prepare a bail payment for a defendant can be completed over the phone. Larger facilities often take longer to book prisoners and to process bail, but an overnight stay usually isn’t necessary unless the crime is serious or the defendant was arrested late at night or on the weekend.
- What if I Miss a Court Appearance
Bail jumping, the term for violating any condition of bail, is a separate crime. The court will issue a bench warrant for this crime when a defendant misses a court appearance. The penalty depends on the original crime that brought the defendant to jail. If that was a felony, bail jumping is also a felony that is punishable by up to 5 year in jail. If the original crime was a misdemeanor, bail jumping is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail. At the same time, the court will begin the process of requesting the entire amount of bail from the bail bond agent, assuming a surety bond was involved. The bail bond agent will then seek reimbursement from the defendant and any co-signer.
The information contained above is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.