When a person is arrested or “booked” into jail in a Utah criminal case, there are a number of options for obtaining the defendant’s release while the criminal case is pending. An “O-R” release (“own recognizance” release) is an option that should be considered both by itself and in combination with other options. The Canyons Law Group’s criminal defense team works to secure a release in the most efficient, cost-effective way.
O-R and Other Options
A release on one’s own recognizance is the cheapest, least restrictive means of release. By ordering an O-R release, bail or bond is not required prior to release. In its simplest form, an O-R release may have no conditions other than appearing in court as required.
Depending on the nature of the offense charged, the prior history of the person charged, community safety factors, the victim’s position, and other relevant factors, the court may or may not be willing to order an O-R release. If denied, there are other alternatives to consider.
Bail and Bond in Utah
In most Utah criminal cases, a person is constitutionally entitled to have a bail set by the court in an amount that is reasonably determined to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court and protect community safety concerns.
Article I Section 9 of the Utah Constitution prohibits “excessive” bail amounts. Determining what amount is “excessive” can be difficult. In deciding a bail amount, the court may consider a number of factors, including: the type of crime charged, specific details of the alleged events, the number of charges pending against the person charged, injuries or damages allegedly caused, the person’s prior criminal history, the person’s prior history of appearing (or not appearing) as required in court, or other considerations determined by the court to be relevant.
Bail can be posted either in cash or as a bond. A cash bail posted by the the person arrested (or on their behalf) should be refunded upon completion of proceedings in the criminal case. If the bail amount is too high for a defendant to post as a cash bail, a bond may be posted by a bail bond company on behalf of the defendant. In most cases, a bail bond company will charge a fee for their services in an amount approximately 10% of the full cash bail amount. Fees paid to a bail bond company are normally not refundable.
Supervised Release in Utah
Supervised release is a possible alternative to either O-R release or posting bail or bond. Of the several counties in Utah, Salt Lake County has the most robust pre-trial supervision program. If approved for supervised pre-trial release, a person can be released from jail without posting bond but with conditions that can include drug testing, participation in counseling or classes, regular check-in with a supervising agent, or other conditions as ordered by the court. In some cases, a court may agree to a supervised release as a kind of compromise between the full bail amount, a reduced bail, and O-R release.
Criminal Warrants in Utah
An arrest warrant may be issued by a Utah court when a criminal case is initially filed, following a defendant’s failure to appear at a scheduled hearing, or in response to a request for an order to show cause relating to an alleged probation violation. If you have reason to think that a warrant may have been issued for your arrest, consultation with a criminal defense attorney can give you an opportunity to confirm the warrant and to begin developing a strategy for defending against any allegations that may be brought against you.