After someone you love has been arrested, there are several ways to get them out of jail. A judge will look at a variety of things and decide whether they will be released based on own recognizance, released to pretrial services, or released by posting bail through cash or a bail bond. Once you have secured their release, the defendant will be required to attend all court-appointed hearing and meetings. If the defendant does not attend all required hearings, they will be placed back in custody. In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways you can bail someone out of jail.

1. Posting Bail Money:

Posting bail is the most common path that defendants take when getting released from jail. Some offenders are required to post bail to ensure that they appear in court. Bail can range from $500 to $1,000,000. If the defendant’s case is later dismissed or if they attend all of the required court hearings, then they will be refunded the full amount of their bail. If the defendant fails to appear in court, then they automatically forfeit their bail money.

An offender can put up the entire bail amount or use the services of a bail bondsman. A bond is posted by a bail bond company in order to secure the defendant’s release when the defendant cannot afford to pay the full bail amount. These services typically charge a fee equal to 10% of the total bail amount and are not refundable. A bail bond company secures the remaining amount of bail money needed through collateral. The collateral consists of large value items like houses, cars, and jewelry. A defendant will then reclaim their goods if they attend every court hearing.

It is best to learn the bail amount as early as possible to limit the amount of time spent trying to get out of jail. For more common crimes, there is usually a predetermined bail amount. For example, bail is posted at $1,550 for a first offense DUI in Utah. If there is not a scheduled bail fee, then the judge determines the bail amount.

If Posting Bail is Not Possible

Sometimes an offender cannot afford the bail money, even with the help of a bondsman. This usually happens when the bail fee is set at a high amount because the bondsman percentage will remain at 10%. A defendant who cannot afford to pay their bail has two options: they can request a lower bail or remain in jail. If a defendant is trying to reduce their bail amount, they will need to request a bail reduction hearing.
If you are looking to reduce your bail amount, Schatz, Anderson, & Associates can help defendants craft an argument that shows the excessiveness of the bail amount for the situation.

If a defendant is assigned ‘no bail’ or has no way of paying for their bail, then they must remain in jail until their court hearing or arraignment. If you are looking to reduce your bail amount, an experienced lawyer can help craft an argument that shows the excessiveness of the bail amount for the situation.


2. Pretrial Services & Pretrial Supervision

Sometimes offenders are released on pretrial supervision when they get out of jail. Supervised release is a type of pretrial probation. Similar to being released on own recognizance, pretrial release programs look at flight risk and a defendant’s danger to the community when determining if a release is allowed. When a defendant is released on pretrial supervision, they are put under pretrial supervision and given a number of requirements to follow. These conditions are dependent on the individual and the crime they have committed, and may include:

  • Attending rehab
  • Attending therapy
  • Attending alcohol education classes
  • Obeying a specified curfew
  • Limiting travel

Additionally, pretrial services will assess the risk of continued criminal activity and may assign restrictions to the defendant in order to reduce the chance of future crime before and after the trial. Defendants are required to continue checking in with their supervisors throughout the process. If someone is released to pretrial services, they will not need to post any bail money. However, if the defendant does not abide by the assigned conditions then it is likely that a warrant for their arrest will be issued. The judge will then decide if the offender should be placed back in jail while they wait for their trial.


3. Release On Own Recognizance

Offenders who do not have a prior criminal history are sometimes able to be released from jail on their own recognizance. An own recognizance or ‘OR’ is a written agreement that confirms the defendant will show up to court, as required. Being released on own recognizance often comes with stipulations, but it allows the defendant to be released at no financial cost.

In addition to criminal history, there are other factors that influence whether a defendant will be released on their own recognizance. Employment, family support, danger to the community, community involvement, and risk of flight help determine the judge’s decision. Non-violent crimes or smaller misdemeanors are more likely to result in a release based on own recognizance. Often a judge will use OR officers to assist in determining if it is appropriate for a defendant to be released on own recognizance.

It is the judicial officer’s responsibility to find a balance between assigning non-restrictive conditions and ensuring the defendant shows up to court. The officer must also protect the community, victims, and witnesses when deciding an offender’s release. When a judge requires a defendant to post the bail money, it is not intended as a punishment. Instead, it is meant to serve as an assurance that the defendant will show up to court. Once a defendant is released from jail, they will want to find representation immediately.

Utah’s Top Criminal and DUI Defense Lawyers

Our experienced criminal defense and DUI defense attorneys can help guide you through each step of the process and ensure you have the strongest representation in court. If you are unsure about how to bail someone out of jail, we can help answer any questions. Not only we do have over 40 years of combined experience, we aggressively defend your rights from start to finish. We ensure that our clients do not get taken advantage of by prosecutors and the court system. As leaders in Utah’s criminal defense, Schatz Anderson & Associates continues to provide a dedicated support team and quality legal defense.

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Bailing Out of Jail Video by Jason Schatz