Utah Criminal Code 76-5-101: “Prisoner”
For purposes of this part “prisoner” means any person who is in custody of a peace officer pursuant to a lawful arrest or who is confined in a jail or other penal institution or a facility used for confinement of delinquent juveniles operated by the Division of Juvenile Justice Services regardless of whether the confinement is legal.
Utah Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences
In Utah, felonies are crimes punishable by terms in state prison or death. Utah lawmakers classify felonies as capital felonies or first, second, or third degree felonies. Less serious crimes (misdemeanors) are punishable by up to 364 days in local jail.
In Utah, the most serious crimes are capital felonies, punishable by death, life in prison without parole, or 25 years’ to life imprisonment. Murder is an example of a capital felony.
Felonies of the First Degree
First degree felonies in Utah are punishable by an indeterminate term of five years’ to life imprisonment, and a fine of up to $10,000. For example, rape is a first degree felony.
Felonies of the Second Degree
A second degree felony conviction can result in an indefinite prison term of one to 15 years, and a fine of up to $10,000. Theft of property or services worth $5,000 or more is an example of a second degree felony in Utah.
Felonies of the Third Degree
A third degree felony, the least serious type of felony in Utah, is punishable by an indeterminate prison term of up to five years, and a fine of as much as $5,000. If a statute designates an offense as a felony but fails to classify it, the crime is punishable as a third degree felony. Promoting (or “exploiting”) prostitution, for instance, is a third degree felony in Utah.
Statutes of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit after which the state can no longer begin criminal prosecution. When the crime is committed, the statute of limitations begins to “run.” In Utah, the most serious crimes, including murder, kidnapping, and sex crimes, have no statute of limitations and the state can begin criminal prosecution at any time. Other felonies generally have a limitation period of four years.
Obtaining Legal Advice and Representation
A felony conviction can have extremely serious consequences, including time in prison and a large fine. Even after people have served their time, felony convictions can make it difficult to obtain (or keep) a job, qualify for a professional license, or go to school. If you are charged with a crime, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is your best hope for avoiding a felony conviction. A local Utah attorney can tell you what to expect in court and how to protect your rights.
How Long Can An Inmate Be Held In Custody In Utah?
When most people imagine a jail or prison, they assume the inmates have already been convicted and are there to serve their sentences. However, many of the inmates who are housed at the jail have not been convicted, and are merely being held in custody while awaiting trial or other stages of the criminal process.
Prosecutors Must File Charges within 72 Hours
When a criminal suspect who has not been convicted is brought to jail, the prosecutor handling the case has only 72 hours to decide whether he or she will file charges against the prisoner. If the prosecutor decides to file charges, a date will be schedule for the inmate’s arraignment, at which the judge formally notifies the defendant of the exact charges against him or her. With a few exceptions, the inmate will generally be released from custody if the prosecutor fails to file charges within this short time period. However, while most inmates will be released after 72 hours have elapsed, there are also situations where the Utah Attorney’s Office can obtain a time extension. In extreme cases, these extensions may last as long as two weeks or longer. A skilled defense attorney may be able to challenge an unlawful time extension and obtain the inmate’s release from jail. Don’t assume that the prosecutor is always in the right! Always call an attorney for assistance if you have any questions or concerns, no matter how minor. While inmates can typically secure release from the Jail if the prosecutor does not file charges within three days, it’s also important to emphasize the distinction between this “72-hour rule” and the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations refers to how long prosecutors have to file charges for an alleged crime. (In a civil context, the statute of limitations refers to how long the plaintiff has to file a claim.) Many crimes, such as assault, burglary, theft, and robbery, are subject to a two- to four-year statute of limitations. If the prosecutor fails to file charges within the relevant time frame, the suspect cannot be prosecuted. However, certain felonies are so serious that no statute of limitations is applicable. In other words, the prosecutor could file charges even if a suspect committed the crime decades ago (assuming he or she had sufficient evidence). These crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Aggravated Murder
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Child Kidnapping
Your Constitutional Right to a Speedy Trial
Even if the prosecutor does file charges, the case may never go to trial. (In fact, the federal judiciary reports that “more than 90% of defendants plead guilty rather than go to trial.”) However, if the case does eventually proceed all the way to trial, there are limits to how long the trial may be delayed. Your “right to a speedy trial” is provided by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which states, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” However, the typical time period is 60 to 120 days, or about two to four months. The courts weigh four factors when determining whether the defendant’s right to a speedy trial has been violated:
- How long the delay lasted.
- The reasons for the delay.
- Whether the delay caused any harm to the defendant (e.g. influencing the case to the defendant’s detriment).
- Whether, and at which point, the defendant requested a speedy trial.
Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys
When you do not go to jail or prison after being convicted of Utah crime, you will be placed on probation. Even when you get out of prison you will be placed on parole. Parole is where you are let out of prison because you served your prison sentence or you were released earlier. Probation is where you did not go to prison or jail, but are being monitored by the court. You can be on probation after you get out of jail. When you are doing well on probation, your Utah criminal defense attorney can move the court for early termination of your probation. Additionally, if you have successfully completed probation or are completely done with probation, your Utah criminal defense attorney can file a 402 reduction motion to reduce the severity of the conviction by one or two grades.
Types of Utah Criminal Probation
- Court Criminal Probation: In most Utah Misdemeanor cases, you will be placed on court probation. Court probation is where the court monitors your progress with court issued sentencing terms. In general, with felony convictions, you will not be on court-supervised probation. Court probation does not cost extra money unlike supervised probation. In court probation, you may have court review hearings every few months, depending on your compliance level on probation. But there is nobody to check in with like supervised probation.
- Supervised Criminal Probation: In some Utah Misdemeanors, you will be placed on supervised probation. With most felonies, you will be placed on supervised probation through Utah’s Adult Probation & Parole. There are private, non-governmental supervising probation agencies who get paid by the probationer. With supervised probation, you will be assigned a very overworked government parole/probation officer who will be difficult to reach or communicate with. Supervised probation can be imposed by the court on its own initiative or by the prosecuting attorney’s motion. The defendant’s criminal history, social ties, rehabilitation and the severity of the charges are all taken into consideration when determining whether supervised probation is appropriate.
Possible Terms of a Utah Criminal Sentence and Probation
- County Jail.
- Utah Department of Corrections–Prison.
- Fines and a fines payments schedule.
- Substance abuse evaluation and treatment follow through.
- Mandatory supervised probation for certain statutory offenses. Utah drunk driving when you blow Blood Alcohol Content or above requires mandatory supervised probation.
- Random drug and alcohol testing.
- No new criminal arrests or convictions. Many times the court will allow for one traffic violation or completely exempt traffic offenses altogether as counting for probation violations.
Utah Probation Violation Procedure
- Sentencing and Probation Imposed: You are convicted of Utah crime and placed on probation, or you just finished your jail sentence and are now on probation of some sort. This could be supervised probation, court probation or probation with Adult Probation & Parole.
- Probation Violation Allegations: The prosecutor or the court initiates a probation violation allegation against you.
- Prosecutor Initiated Probation Violation: Sometimes the prosecuting attorney catches news of new criminal allegations against you because it comes across their desk for screening of criminal charges. Other times, concerned family members call the prosecutor or court and report your new convictions or arrest.
- Court Initiated Probation Violations: The court can self-initiate a probation violation when they see you in court and know you from your past dealings with the court. New allegations can also come out in open court when you are at review hearings for other cases.
Minimum Constitutional Due Process and Fairness Requirements
When you are accused of a probation or parole violation, you have certain legal rights. Namely, you must be put on written notice of the allegations against you. You must have an opportunity to deny or admit the allegations lodged against you. You have the right to an evidentiary hearing where you can cross-examine the witness and evidence offered against you. You have a right to an attorney if you cannot afford one. Often, the prosecutor will bring the arresting police officer or your probation agent into court to testify regarding the alleged probation violation allegations. Other times, they will bring certified copies of the new criminal convictions demonstrating your probation violation.
Types of Utah Probation Violations
- Failure to pay assessed fines.
- Failure to stay current on your fines.
- Drug testing violation.
- Alcohol testing violation.
- New criminal charges.
- Prescription drug abuse.
- New criminal convictions.
- Failure to complete substance abuse treatment.
- Failure to install an interlock alcohol ignition device in after a Utah drunk driving conviction.
- Failure to progress in substance abuse treatment.
- Failure to complete community service hours.
- Failure to pay criminal restitution.
- Leaving the State without court permission.
- Failure to report to your supervised probation agent.
Utah Probation Violation Sanctions
When the court or the prosecutor alleges a probation or parole violation against you have these options:
- Admit the probation violations as stated.
- Admit to an amended violation that modifies the original probation violation allegations.
- Modifying the language of the probation violation language is similar to plea bargaining with the prosecutor.
- Deny some allegations and admit other allegations.
- Deny all allegations and move for an evidentiary hearing where the prosecutor is forced to prove each allegation by a preponderance of the evidence.
Preponderance of the Evidence Standard for Probation Violations
The legal standard for finding you responsible for a Utah probation violation is a “Preponderance” standard. The Utah probation violation evidentiary standard is not proof “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt,” like the original underlying criminal trial is based on. The prosecutor does not have to prove your probation violation beyond a reasonable doubt, only by a preponderance of the evidence.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506