Robert J. VanDyke

PROVO — A man with a long history of driving under the influence who was recently arrested on another DUI charge was able to get released on bail from the Utah County Jail for $2,500 — only half of what a judge could have imposed.

Robert J. VanDyke, 42, of Springville, was arrested Sept. 25 in Spanish Fork and booked into jail for investigation of driving under the influence.

However, because the arresting officer didn't look up his criminal history until after he booked him into jail, he didn't realize VanDyke had four misdemeanor convictions and two felony convictions, including one for automobile homicide.

VanDyke, having met certain qualifications on a "point system," walked out of jail without having to post bail, said jail officials, who rely on police reports instead of checking criminal histories themselves.

Once prosecutors realized what had happened, they filed a third-degree felony DUI charge and a class B misdemeanor of alcohol-restricted driver and obtained a warrant for VanDyke's arrest, said Deputy Utah County Attorney Guy Probert.

VanDyke was arrested again Wednesday night — but bailed out on the $2,500 cash bail a little more than an hour later.

According to matrixes used by the judges to set bail, a third-degree felony gives a judge the ability to set the bail as high as $5,000.

"The judge looks at prior criminal history and aggravating and mitigating circumstances prior to setting bail," said Nancy Volmer, Utah state courts spokeswoman. "The judge just has to weigh all of those circumstances."

According to court codes, "established instances of repetitive criminal conduct" would constitute an aggravating factor.

However, it's unknown why 4th District Judge Darold McDade didn't set the bail higher, considering VanDyke's history.

Prosecutors were able to file a felony DUI charge in connection with the most recent arrest because of a provision that says two DUI convictions within the past 10 years make any other DUI arrest a felony.

VanDyke's first appearance on the felony charge will be Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m.

VanDyke's previous felony convictions include one for a 2000 automobile homicide for hitting and killing a mother and injuring her 12-year-old daughter in West Valley City.

He pleaded guilty to automobile homicide, as well as driving under the influence, and spent nearly five years in prison.