Misdemeanors in Utah are punishable by up to 364 days in county or local jail, and are designated as class A, B, or C. Some misdemeanors are unclassified and punished as infractions. Felonies (more serious crimes) are punishable by incarceration in state prison. Under Utah’s laws, class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
For example, an adult who knowingly furnishes alcohol to a minor can be convicted of a class B misdemeanor in Utah. If a statute designates an offense as a misdemeanor but fails to classify or specify a punishment for it, the crime is punishable as an infraction. Potential punishments include:
• a fine of up to $1,000
• compensatory service (unpaid work for a government agency, nonprofit, or other court-approved organization)
• forfeiture (government seizure of property from the convicted person)
• disqualification from public or private office, or
• any combination of those punishments.
The Legislature sets the minimum and maximum for all types of classifications, which are divided into 3 classifications: Class A, Class B, and Class C. There is also a category under a Class C misdemeanor, which is called an infraction. 0 to 180 days in jail for incarceration with maximum fine of $1,000, plus 90 percent surcharge.
Common Utah Misdemeanors with Devastating Collateral Effects:
• DUI: Utah DUI, drugged or Impaired driving cases are complicated.
• Domestic Violence: Often, domestic violence cases have numerous defenses and the stakes are high. If you are charged with a crime of domestic violence, you should consult a trial lawyer who is capable of trying the case in front of a jury.
• Damage to or Interruption of a Communication Device
• Assault Charges: When you are facing Assault charges or aggravated assault charges and you did not start the fight, but were merely protecting yourself, you will need an aggressive Utah criminal defense attorney who will dig deep in preparation on your case.
• Drug Charges: You will need a good trial lawyer when you are falsely accused of possession of drug paraphernalia when they either were not yours or were simple, innocent items that the police mistook at drug paraphernalia.
• Possession of Illegal Drugs: Possession and Distribution charges should be taken very seriously as even first time offenders can be sentenced to prison for many years. An experienced criminal defense trial lawyer can help you alleviate or win against the great weight of the government.
Small Possession of Marijuana Being charged with even small amounts of marijuana is still illegal in Utah. A petty marijuana conviction in Utah carries mandatory driver’s license suspensions, fines, court probation and possible a substance abuse evaluation.
According to the Utah State Courts, a Class B misdemeanor includes charges of assault, resisting arrest, DUI, reckless driving, possession of marijuana under 1 ounce, drug paraphernalia, shoplifting (under $300), trespass of a dwelling and public nuisance. Concealed weapon violations and numerous traffic offenses are also Class B misdemeanors. A Class B offense is punishable by up to six months in jail, and up to a $1,000 fine. If a person is convicted, a judge determines sentencing by consulting the Utah Sentence and Release Guidelines. Other factors can affect sentencing, including the severity of the crime, which may increase or decrease the usual recommended sentencing. In Utah, a person commits domestic violence by committing (or attempting to commit) any crime involving violence, physical harm, or the threat of violence or physical harm against a cohabitant. Cohabitants include spouses; former spouses; people in relationships that resemble marriage; people who live together or have lived together; people who are related by blood or marriage; and people who have children together. Cohabitants must be over the age of 16 or emancipated minors. Siblings under the age of 18 and parents and their children are not cohabitants of one another. Any violent crime, such as harassment, stalking, violating a restraining order, or assault, is domestic violence if committed by one cohabitant against another. People who are convicted of crimes of domestic violence in Utah more than once are subject to increased punishment for subsequent offenses.
Arrests for Domestic Violence
Under Utah’s laws, if a police officer has probable cause to believe (a reasonable belief) that domestic violence has occurred; the officer must make an arrest without a warrant or issue a citation (ticket). This is an exception to the usual rule that an officer can make a warrantless arrest only under certain conditions when a misdemeanor has been committed in his presence, or he has reason to believe a felony has occurred and the arrest is outside the home. If the officer has probable cause to believe the victim will continue to be in danger or that the defendant has recently caused serious injury or used a dangerous weapon, the officer must make an arrest and take the defendant into custody. People who are arrested for domestic violence may not personally contact the victim before being released and may not be released from jail before the next court day unless they are ordered as a condition of their release not to:
• personally contact the victim
• harass the victim, or
• go to the victim’s residence.
Contacting the victim before being released or in violation of a court’s order is a crime. People who are arrested for domestic violence may also be subject to electronic monitoring.
A protective order (also called a restraining order) is a court order requiring one person (the respondent or defendant) to not contact and stay away from another person (the petitioner or victim).
Pre-trial protective orders
Whenever a defendant is charged with domestic violence, the court may issue a pre-trial protective order:
• prohibiting the defendant from committing or threatening acts of domestic violence
• prohibiting the defendant from contacting or communicating with the victim
• excluding the respondent from petitioner’s residence, school, or workplace, or any other place, and
• granting any other relief necessary for the safety and welfare of petitioner or another person.
The order remains in effect until the defendant’s trial. It is a crime to violate a pre-trial protective order.
Ex parte orders
Even if no charges are pending, any cohabitant who has been the victim of or is in danger of domestic violence or abuse (physical harm) may also file a petition for a protective order in Utah. An “ex parte” order is one made without notice to the defendant and without the defendant first appearing in court. Under Utah’s laws, if a court finds that there is a danger of domestic violence or abuse, it may issue an ex parte order:
• prohibiting the respondent from committing domestic violence or abuse
• prohibiting the respondent from contacting the petitioner
• excluding the respondent from petitioner’s residence, school, or workplace, or any other place
• prohibiting the respondent from possessing a weapon
• permitting the petitioner to use a vehicle or other personal property
• granting the petitioner temporary custody of any children
• appointing a guardian
• granting any other relief necessary for the safety and welfare of petitioner or another person.
An ex parte order may be in effect for up to 20 days before a hearing is held. If the court finds that there is a good reason to delay the hearing, the order may be in effect for up to 180 days.
After The Court Hearing
To obtain a court order that is in effect for a longer period of time, the petitioner must have the respondent served (given a copy). Then, there is a hearing, where both the petitioner and the respondent may appear. Following a hearing, the court may also issue an order granting custody and visitation of any children, as well as any relief that can be granted as part of an ex parte order. Generally, the criminal provisions (see below) of a protective order are in effect for two years. After that time, a hearing can be held to dismiss the order.
Criminal and civil provisions
Under Utah’s laws, a person who violates almost any provision of a protective order issued ex parte or after a hearing commits a crime. The only exceptions are those provisions related to custody or other relief necessary for the safety and welfare of the petitioner or another person. A person who violates these provisions can be punished only with civil contempt. Contempt (violating a court’s order) is punishable by a fine and time in jail.
Contacting a victim before being released on a domestic violence arrest is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If the defendant was originally arrested for a felony, violating a judge’s order to not contact a victim or a pre-trial protective order is a third degree felony, punishable by a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. If the defendant was originally arrested for a misdemeanor, violating a judge’s order or a pre-trial protective order is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Violating the criminal provisions of a protective order is also class A misdemeanor.
When a person who has been convicted of a domestic violence offense within the past five years is convicted of another domestic violence crime, including violating a restraining order, if the current offense is:
• a class C misdemeanor, then it is punishable as a class B misdemeanor by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
• a class B misdemeanor, then it is punishable as a class A misdemeanor by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500, or
• a class A misdemeanor, then it is punishable as a third degree felony, punishable by a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
A restraining order or conviction for domestic violence can have serious consequences. If you are charged with domestic violence or served with a restraining order, you should contact a Utah criminal defense attorney immediately. An attorney can tell you what to expect in court and advocate on your behalf so that you can obtain the best possible outcome. Utah is poised to become the second state in the nation to adopt an automatic system that will eventually wipe out the criminal records of people convicted of certain low-level crimes. The legislation does not change the eligibility criteria for expungements. It covers mostly low-level crimes, and does not allow expungements for felonies, DUIs, or violent misdemeanors like domestic violence or sexual battery. A person must be crime-free for five years for a class C misdemeanor, six years for a class B misdemeanor and seven years for drug possession — the only class A misdemeanor that is eligible for expungement. Having a criminal record can affect someone’s ability to get a job and can limit housing opportunities, so people often seek expungements to give them a fresh start after a minor conviction.
Once offenders pay their debt to society, they should be encouraged as they rebuild their lives, not confronted with barriers that make it difficult for them to provide for their families and lead fulfilling lives. This act allows thousands of Utah to look forward to their future rather than backward at past mistakes. Utah is poised to become the second state in the nation to adopt an automatic system that will eventually wipe out the criminal records of people convicted of certain low-level crimes.
A person is guilty of reckless driving who operates a vehicle: In willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Reckless driving is punishable as a class B misdemeanor. Anyone who wants to join a like fad or challenge is encouraged to think about the physical as well as criminal repercussions that could occur. Parents are encouraged to speak to their teens about dangerous challenges that are currently making the rounds to ensure their teen are using common sense before joining in with the crowd.
While the student charged with sexual abuse obviously crossed the line from innocent hazing to criminal activity, other hazing rituals may also be against the law as well. Utah Code states “A person is guilty of hazing if that person [knowing the activity is for those to be or remain a member of any organization] intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly commits an act or causes another to commit an act that:
• endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another;
• involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;
• involves consumption of any food, alcoholic product, drug, or other substance or any other physical activity that endangers the mental or physical health and safety of an individual; or
• Involves any activity that would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, extended isolation from social contact, or conduct that subjects another to extreme embarrassment, shame or humiliation”.
Depending on the severity of the hazing and what weapons of illicit materials are used, hazing may be punished ranging from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony. Any teens facing charges for their involvement of criminal hazing are encouraged to seek the legal counsel of a reputable juvenile defense attorney.
Class B Misdemeanor Lawyer in Utah Free Consultation
If you’ve been charged with a Class B Misdemeanor in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help defend you against these charges.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506