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Factors That Determine Bail Amount in Salt Lake City: Part I

We’ve all seen it hundreds of times on television shows and in the movies. A man walks into court and the two attorneys argue back and forth. The defense attorney talks about how great his client is and how he rescued a puppy from a well and all of his neighbors love him. Then the prosecuting attorney stands up and talks about how evil the defendant is, how despite saving the puppy he stood on the heads of three kittens while doing it. He also litters and hasn’t paid his taxes for the last 2 years. The judge listens to all this and then sets the bail at a seemingly random number or the “no bail”.  This happens in real life as well but is often less dramatic. There are a number of things that are considered when a bail amount is set. Here are the factors that determine the bail amount:

Salt Lake City Bail
"Objection! The evidence will show that those kittens had it coming!"

The process of determining bail is, in real life, a lot more complicated and a lot less exciting. The judges must consider a number of factors when setting a bail amount. Bail is a promise to appear in court at a set date.

Salt Lake City Bail Determinations


Nature of the Offense and Circumstances Surrounding It

This is a tricky one with a lot of factors to consider. Obviously, the nature of the offense would have an impact on bail. Jaywalkers are probably not going to have as high a bail amount as Murderers. They will also take into account the circumstances, if you’re stealing food to feed your hungry child they will typically be more lenient than if you’re stealing food because you don’t want to pay.

Penalty for the Charged Offense

Bail amounts will be set higher based on the potential punishment for the offense. If the maximum penalty for your offense is a fine or a short stay in jail, the bail will be less than if the punishment is 5 to 10 years in prison or a life sentence. This is because people are more likely to flee from prosecution if the penalty they’re facing is more severe.

Family and Ties to the Community

Another factor that helps the court determine the likelihood of the defendant fleeing from prosecution. If a person has a family in the jurisdiction, they are less likely to run. The same sentiment holds true for people with strong ties to the community.

Employment History

People are less likely to run from the law if they have solid roots. Employment history is used to determine how rooted the person is to his or her community. Someone who has worked for the same company for many years has shown a strong sense of commitment and responsibility. This shows the courts that they are more likely to stick around and have their day in court.

Length of Residency

Similar to employment history, this is used to determine how rooted in the community the defendant is. People who have lived in one place for a substantial amount of time are far less likely to pick up their whole life and move in order to escape prosecution.

To Be Continued

There are several other factors that determine bail amount; we will be discussing these in future blog posts.

Larry Nowak is the President of Bad Boys Bail Bonds in Salt Lake City, UT. He works hard to ensure that nobody spends more time in jail than they have to, no matter what the bail amount is. For more information or to request bail, please visit

Larry Nowak

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