What is Bail?When a person is arrested and taken into custody, the court system will set a date and time for a trial. This can be weeks or even months away. This can mean sitting in jail for the entire wait until the trial. However, the U.S. justice system allows for some defendants to be released by paying money as a financial guarantee to the courts as sort of an insurance policy that they will show up for their trial. This exchange of money is known as bail.
How Does Bail Work in Utah?There are two ways to post bail money in Utah. The first way is to pay cash directly to the court system. This means whatever bail is set at for the defendant is what has to be paid in full. The other way is to pay for a surety bond. This is where a defendant's representatives go to a bail bond company and pays them a fee and the company will pay the actual bail amount. This is a route for those who cannot afford the full amount of bail. The bail company is then held liable if the defendant does not show up for his court appearances and will bring the person back to jail. To get a bail bond, a person will need:
- The Full Name of the defendant (not just a nickname or an alias)
- The Location of the jail and its name
- The number in which they were booked under
- What they were charged with and the bail amount
- Funds or collateral to make the payment
Once everything is set up and the bail bond agent is paid, they will head to the jail and pay for the defendant to get out. This can take a bit of time depending on what time it is and how busy the jail happens to be.
How Much Can Bail Cost?Bail is determined by a number of factors, including criminal history, severity of crime, and type of offense. Utah has a uniformity code that lists specific bail amounts for certain offenses – see the Utah bail fee schedule here. For example, for a first time Class C Misdemeanor, bail is set at $340.00. The more severe the crime, the higher the bail can go. Felonies begin at $5,000 and go up depending on the degree.
Age is also a factor when it comes to bail. Juvenile defendants are on a different bail schedule which ranges from a minimum of $50 and can go up to $10,000 depending on the severity of the crime – see the Utah Juvenile bail fee schedule here.