Bailing out of Jail
I was just arrested. Can I get out of jail now, or do I have to wait for months until my trial?
Getting arrested and sitting in jail is a jarring experience. Aside from the fear and uncertainty that comes with wondering how pending criminal charges will be resolved, an arrest also brings an endless line of immediate problems like losing your job because you can't show up for work, losing your home because you can't work to pay the mortgage, having to drop out of school, worrying about who will care for children, and a wide variety of other pressing issues.
In determining whether a person can bail out of jail, and what the best options for bailing out are, there are a number of things to consider: First, you must figure out why the person has been arrested and what charges have been filed. Second, you must find out if a bail hearing has been scheduled or a bail amount has already been set. Once the amount of bail has been determined, you must decide whether you need the help of a bail bonds service. There are some cases where a judge can deny bail. If that's the case, there are a number of other options to consider going forward to help your case move forward as quickly as possible.
Charges Filed & Reasons for the Arrest
After you have been arrested, the first question you must answer is why you were arrested and which charges have actually been filed against you. This might sound obvious, but things often change during the process of an arrest. The police may originally tell you that they are arresting you for a more serious crime, but then talk with the prosecution and decide to file less serious charges. Likewise, the police officer may tell you that you are being arrested for something small, but later decide to file more serious charges as they further investigate the case. Regardless of whatever you are told, your eligibility for bail and the dollar amount ultimately set will depend upon whatever charges are actually filed in your case. During the booking process, the police will inform you of the final charges and give you paperwork listing those charges in detail. You can share this information with loved ones over a jail phone call. The information is also available if your loved ones call the jail or arresting police agency. Many county jails also make the information available to the public on their official booking website.
Determining Bail Amount
After you are sure exactly which charges have been filed, the next step is determining the dollar amount that has been set (or will be set) for posting bail. For most charges, the amount of bail will be determined according to a predetermined amount established by Utah law under the Uniform Bail Schedule. The quickest way to find out how much bail will cost is to contact the jail ask directly. If you find that you can't afford to pay bail in the amount set by the law, you should contact an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney for helping getting the bail amount reduced through a formal bail hearing before a judge. It is really important that you contact an attorney quickly if you are looking to have a bail hearing because you generally only get once chance to lower the bail amount. Judges generally will not hold a second bail hearing unless there has been a significant change in circumstances.
If you, or someone you love, would like a bail hearing to lower the amount of bail to something you can more reasonably afford, please call or click here to contact an experience criminal defense attorney who can help you in a bail hearing.
Do You Need a Bail Bond Service?
The quickest way post bail is to find out what the total amount is needed for bail and have somebody go to jail and pay cash directly to the jail. Bail on misdemeanors can be as low as a couple hundred dollars while felonies can go up to $10,000. It is important to keep in mind, however, that bail is determined by the total number of charges that are filed against you. For example, if the prosecution files multiple first degree felony charges against you, each felony charge may carry its own $10,000 bail. Bail amounts can sometimes run tens of thousands of dollars depending upon the severity and number of charges filed.
Most people simply do not have hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars in extra cash lying around to post bail with. If you are still unable to post enough cash for bail after a formal bail hearing, a bond service may be able to help you. People go to a bond service when they do not have enough extra cash to pay bail directly. Even if people have enough cash to pay bail directly, a bond service might still be a good option in order to keep cash on hand to pay for expenses that might be coming with the criminal case like hiring an attorney, a private investigator, or covering for lost time at work to attend court hearings, etc.
When you work with a bail bonds service, the bond company posts the cash bond to the jail in exchange for you paying them a percentage fee based on the total bond amount. For example, a bond service will post $30,000 with the jail if you pay them a 10% fee. This means that you would have to come up with $3,000 for the bond service instead of the full $30,000 cash. Note: A bond service will generally want you to also have collateral to cover the entire bail amount to make sure that a defendant doesn't skip town before the criminal case is resolved.
There are many different bail bonds companies in Utah. They all charge different percentage rates depending on the severity of the crime and the history of the defendant. If you go with a bond service, it is wise to call several different companies to see what they can do for you and what the best percentage rate they are willing to offer you.
Bail Is Too High or was Denied. Now What?
There are some cases where a judge may refuse to lower bail, or where a person may even be held without bail entirely. Most felony offenses are eligibile for bail. However, Utah has adopted a tough "felony on felony" rule which allows a judge to deny bail to a felony defendant if the defendant already has a felony conviction for which the defendant is currently on probation or felony release.
Additionally, a certain crimes may be non-bondable or a judge may order a "cash only" bail amount. This means that a defendant will not be able to use a bond service company and must come up with the entire amount of cash through their own channels.
When bail is denied, non-bondable, or simply too high to pay, it is important that you speak with an attorney who will aggressively pursue your case and work quickly to obtain the best alternatives available in your case. To speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney today, please call or click here for a free consultation.