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Utah Bail Forfeitures - Criminal Defense Attorney

Should I agree to forfeit bail on my Utah citation, or go to court?

It sounds like a simple solution - no court hearings, no need to hire a defense attorney, no probation, no hassle. They tell you that all you have to do is check a box, sign the form, and send in your check. But they don't tell you that the bail forfeiture is entered on your record as a conviction, and will be treated as though you had entered a guilty plea. Before making a decision to allow a voluntary bail forfeiture to enter on a Utah citation, you should consult with an experienced criminal lawyer to ensure that you understand your rights, and the consequences of a bail forfeiture.

For many class B and class C misdemeanor charges, a citation may be issued in lieu of the filing of a formal Information in court. In cases where a citation has been issued, the person cited (the defendant) may, with permission of the court, voluntarily agree to waive any court appearances and instead simply agree to voluntarily forfeit the recommended bail amount.

But under Utah Code 77–7-21, a voluntary agreement to forfeit bail on a Utah citation is still considered a conviction, and is treated as though the accused had entered a guilty plea. While simply forfeiting bail seems like an easy solution, there are consequences that should be considered before deciding to take this option. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney before accepting this resolution to your case.

Consequences of a Bail Forfeiture in Utah

Criminal Conviction ConsequencesA bail forfeiture is treated as though you entered a guilty plea, and is considered to be a conviction. This conviction becomes part of your criminal record, and may show up on a background check or criminal history report.

A conviction based on a bail forfeiture can have serious consequences. It may cause problems in getting a job. It may disqualify you for expungement (depending on the nature and extent of any other criminal record you may have). And it may interfere with your ability to obtain a 402 reduction.

For some minor traffic offenses, it may make sense to agree to a bail forfeiture. But before doing so, it is important to understand your rights and the consequences you may face as a result of this kind of conviction. Consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital to making the best decision for your circumstances.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has extensive experience defending criminal charges in Utah. With a track record that includes not guilty verdicts and dismissals on some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah, he is well-prepared to protect his clients’ rights.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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