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Last Modified: November 9, 2021


Utah District Courts define bail as “security given for the release of a criminal defendant or witness from legal custody (usually in the form of money) to secure [a] defendant’s appearance on the day and time appointed”. defines bail as the ability “to grant or obtain the liberty of (a person under arrest) on security given for his or her appearance when required, as in court for trial”. Essentially, this refers to a certain amount of money that is paid for the defendant to the court to obtain temporary freedom from jail. The court sets the amount to be paid- i.e.the bail- to the defendant, which can be paid for release upon certain conditions set by the court. This bail amount can be forfeited to the state if the defendant does not show during his/her trial hearing or has escaped from the law. If the accused remains to face the trial, the court will return the bail to the whomever posted it, regardless of the outcome of the case.

Example Sentence

Susie is in jail for a serious traffic offense and her parents paid the bail  to be able to bring her home.

Case Study

In State v. Galli, the accused was jailed for committing a series of armed robberies in Salt Lake City in 1992. Adam Galli committed these crimes with his brother and two cousins. His family posted a bail in the amount of $40,000 in cash and real estate property to secure his temporary release. However, he did not appear for his trial and he fled from the state sometime in November 1992. As a result of this action, the bail amounting to almost $40,ooo was forfeited in favor of the state.

Other Important Information

To answer the question, who could post a bail? , Nolo says “defendants do not need a lawyer to arrange for bail. They can either post cash bail personally, or phone a bail bond seller and arrange for a bond. Relatives or friends can come to a jail or court and post cash bail for an arrested person or purchase a bond from a bail bond seller”. Bail bond seller or a bail bondsman is  person who posts bail in exchange for a fee, usually 10 percent of the total bail. The amount set for a bail for uncommon crime is determined by the judge. Factors such as seriousness of the crime, probability of flight from law and criminal record of the accused will be considered in setting the amount. The rule of the thumb is the more serious and dangerous the crime, the higher the bail amount will be. For common crimes, there is an available bail schedule that will be used for determining the amount. See Uniform Fine/Bail Forfeiture Schedule 2013 for additional information.

Photo “Bail Bonds” copyright by Daniel Schwen.