UTAH BAIL BONDS PROCESS

THE BAIL PROCESS EXPLAINED:

What is Bail?

Bail is money required by the court to guarantee the defendants appearance in court to answer for the crimes they are charged with. Your right to Bail is a constitutional right guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment. Bail must be reasonable, and no one can be denied bail unless they are charged with a capital offense, the defendant commits further offenses while on bail, they are a danger to the safety or welfare of the public, or they interfere with a witness for the court case.

How is Bail Determined?

In most misdemeanor cases bail is set according to a Bail Schedule that has been pre-determined by the court. For instance, in Utah possession of paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor, has a required bail of $680.00. Bail can be changed to a higher amount by a judge if it is determined that the defendant poses a risk of danger to themselves or the community or risk of fleeing. Bail can also be lowered or waived if it is determined that the defendant is determined to be of very low risk and is a stable person with ties to the community. In this case, they may be released on their own recognizance with a signed promise to appear.
Felony charges must be reviewed by a Judge within 24 hrs of the defendant being booked into jail, and bail set accordingly. Judges do have a lot of power when determining bail which is why there is no guarantee of uniformity from court to court and judge to judge.

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How can bail be posted for an inmate?

Any person can pay cash at the jail or court of jurisdiction for a defendant. Most jails required that cash is paid in person with a valid ID. You must have the exact amount your name will be recorded as the person who paid the bail. Some jails may accept a credit card for the full amount plus a 3-5% processing fee. The cardholder must be present to sign.
The alternative to paying the full bail is to hire a Bond Agency. Bond Agencies in the state of Utah are licensed and regulated by the Utah Department of Insurance you can verify that the bond company you are working with and their Agents are licensed and in good standing Here (insert link?)
By law, a Bail bond Agency must charge no less than 10% and no more than 20% of the full bail amount. This is called the Premium. In exchange for the premium, the bond agency will issue a paper bond to the court guaranteeing the court full payment if the defendant fails to appear.

Can anyone get a bond?

You must sign a bond agreement and qualify for a bail bond. Most companies require that the person signing has a job and has some stability, it is similar to signing for a loan, but not as stringent since it only becomes a loan if the defendant fails to appear for court and the money has to be paid.

What is my obligation to the bond company?

Once the premium and any initial fees (jail fee, credit card fees etc…) are paid you won’t ever pay the bond agency anything more- so long as the defendant makes all their court dates until the case is either dropped, sentenced, or the defendant accepts a plea agreement. IF the bond is written post-sentencing, the defendant must fulfill all obligations to the court pertaining to that case.

What if the defendant fails to appear in court?

If the defendant fails to appear the bond company can charge you for all their costs of getting the defendant to court including but not limited to investigative, bail enforcement, time and travel costs. If the defendant does not appear and is not apprehended and booked on the warrant for failing to appear within 6 months you will have to pay the full bail amount plus any cost incurred.

What if the case is dropped do I get my money back?

Once the defendant is released from jail or the court records the bond on the case the premium is earned by the bond agency and is non-refundable. Sometimes an inmates bail can be changed in the process of posting the bond and the bond is not accepted by the jail. In this case, all fees minus a posting fee for time and travel are refundable.

How long does it take to get a bond?

The process to fill out and sign documents and pay can take as little as 15 minutes but will vary depending on if they are done in person or by email. Once the bond is posted at the jail the time for the release of the inmate will be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours depending on the jail. Most jails take 30-60 minutes while Salt Lake Metro Jail takes 3-8 hours.

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