Is your loved one currently incarcerated in Utah? Unfortunately, the state has one of the fastest-growing prison populations in the country. If given a chance, you’d like to help your family get out of there even temporarily.
The rules on bail, though, can vary between states. In Utah, here are a few things to remember:
1. You Can Get a Bail Bond
When the court has set a bail amount, you can pay it in two ways: full cash (using your own money) or bail bonds.
Companies like bail bonds in Salt Lake County can act as your surety partner. They will guarantee to pay a significant or the full bail amount. In turn, they earn money by getting a percentage fee, which can range between 10% and 30% of the bail amount.
In some cases, you need to put up collateral, which you can get back whether the defendant is guilty or not. You may also need a co-guarantor. It depends on the bail bonds specialist.
2. You May or May Not Get a Bail Refund
Bail can be as small as $1,000 to as high as thousands of dollars. It depends on the offense and the risk of flight, among others. In other words, it can be hefty. That’s why some choose to rely on a bail bond agent.
The question is, will you get a refund if the court dismisses or drops the case if the defendant turns out to be not guilty?
The answer can be both a yes and a no. If you paid the court in full, usually using your credit card, you might receive a refund. Note, though, that the credit card issuer may charge a fee from the transaction, and you cannot get it back.
If you used a bail bonds company, you might not get it back since it still rendered full service. Many, though, may do so less their fee.
3. The Court Can Forfeit the Bail or Bond
One of the common misconceptions about bail is it’s a penalty or a fine. Some view it as a way out of jail.
In reality, bail allows the defendant to go out of jail until conviction provided that they appear in court when needed. That’s why the amounts can be obscene.
Otherwise, the court can forfeit the bail or the bond. In other words, they now own the money, and neither you or the bail bondsman will get a refund.
Fortunately, the state allows the one who paid your bail up to six months to “produce” you in court. If they succeed, then they may receive a refund of the bond.
4. The Defendant May Get Out of Jail without Bail Amount
It happens when the court allows release on the defendant’s recognizance. Instead of paying bail amount, they sign a written agreement, promising that they will appear in court hearings.
The court also assigns a probation officer to supervise and monitor the activities of the defendant.
Judges, though, consider many factors before they will allow defendants this process or even post bail. Years before in Utah, the court relied on police reports alone. Today, they consider more information, such as background and criminal history.
Seeing a loved one in jail can be emotionally exhausting and scary. Knowing bail is an option that may hopefully reduce your worry, especially since you can get help when you don’t have enough money.