How Bail Is Set in Utah?
Any person who is charged with a crime is entitled to bail as a matter of right except in a few select circumstances including capital felony charges, felonies committed while probation or parole or while out on bail on another felony charge, when the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is likely to flee the jurisdiction or finds that the person would constitute a substantial danger to any other person or to the community, or when the person finds that the person violated a material condition of release while previously on bail.
The purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant appears in court, to ensure the integrity of the court process, to prevent direct or indirect contact with witnesses or victims by the accused, to ensure the safety of the public.
Determining Bail Amount
The Utah Courts have a Uniform Fine/Bail Schedule Committee which is tasked under the judicial rules with establishing a uniform bail schedule. The bail schedule considers many factors including the criminal history of the defendant, whether a weapon was used in the commission of a crime, whether the defendant has escaped from supervision while on bail, etc.
There are also aggravating and mitigating factors that the court considers in setting bail. The aggravating factors include:
- Established instances of repetitive criminal conduct.
- Multiple documented incidents of violence not resulting in conviction. (Requires court approved stipulation.)
- Offender presents a serious threat of violent behavior.
- Victim was particularly vulnerable.
- Injury to person or property was unusually extensive.
- Offense was characterized by extreme cruelty or depravity.
- There were multiple charges or victims.
- Offender’s attitude is not conducive to supervision in a less restrictive setting.
- Offender continued criminal activity subsequent to arrest.
- Sex Offenses: Correction’s formal assessment procedures classify as a high risk offender.
- Offender was in position of authority over victim(s)
- Financial crime or theft crime involved numerous victims, an exploitation of a position of trust, a substantial amount of money, or receipt of money from sources including, but not limited to, equity in a person’s home or a person’s retirement fund.
- Offender occupied “position of trust” in relation to murder/homicide victim(s)
- Offense constitutes a “hate crime” in that it is likely to incite community unrest; cause community to reasonably fear for physical safety or freely exercise constitutionally secured.
The mitigating factors include:
- Offender’s criminal conduct neither caused nor threatened serious harm
- Offender acted under strong provocation
- There were substantial grounds to excuse or justify criminal behavior, though failing to establish a defense.
- Offender is young.
- Offender assisted law enforcement in the resolution of other crimes.
- Restitution would be severely compromised by incarceration
- Offender’s attitude suggests amenability to supervision.Offender has exceptionally good employment and/or family relationships.
- Imprisonment would entail excessive hardship on offender or dependents.
- Offender has extended period of arrest-free street time.
- Offender was less active participant in the crime.
- All offenses were from a single criminal episode.
- Offense(s) was “possession only” drug offense.
- Offender has completed or has nearly completed payment of restitution
Beginning bail amounts range from $10,000 from first degree felonies and $50 for class C misdemeanors, but in reality bail amounts for more serious offenses can reach in the hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.
We Fight to Keep Bail As Low As Possible
When bail is initially set and if it is set too high you have the right to file a motion to request that bail be decreased. Our law firm does everything possible for our clients to get bail as low as possible. If you are charged with a crime, our Utah criminal defense attorneys fight hard for you to get you at out of jail. Call us at 801.618.1334 to get started.