A Breakdown of Utah's Criminal Charges – What You Need to Know

If you have been accused of a crime in Utah, you may wonder what the charge level means and what punishments may be rendered. This blog will give you a breakdown of the different levels of criminal charges in our state – infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies – and explain the severity of each. We'll also discuss potential punishments for those convicted of crimes, providing a better understanding of what's at stake.

We invite you to contact our Salt Lake City lawyers at Lokken & Putnam, P.C., to discuss your specific case and legal options. Call (801) 829-9783 or contact us online today.

What Are the Different Levels of Criminal Charges in Utah?

Utah classifies crimes as infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.

Felonies are the most severe of the three and are separated into four categories:

  • Capital
  • First-degree
  • Second-degree
  • Third-degree

Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies and divided into three categories:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C

Infractions are the least severe and are not classified.

What Are the Potential Punishments for Those Convicted in Utah?

If someone is found guilty of an offense, the penalties a judge can impose will depend primarily on the level of the charge. The Utah Criminal Code outlines the maximum sentences for infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Within the misdemeanor and felony categories, the punishments can vary based on the classification of the crime, with more severe offenses carrying harsher penalties.

Below are the potential punishments that can be imposed for each level and category of crime:

  • Infraction: Up to $750 in fines
  • Class C misdemeanor: Up to 90 days in jail and/or up to $750 in fines
  • Class B misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines
  • Class A misdemeanor: Up to 364 days in jail and/or up to $2,500 in fines
  • Third-degree felony: Not more than 5 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 in fines
  • Second-degree felony: 1 to 15 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines
  • First-degree felony: 5 years to life in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines
  • Capital felony: Life in prison, life without parole, or death

The sentencing guidelines provide the range of sentences that can be rendered. The judge will also consider aggravating and mitigating factors to determine the length of incarceration, amount of fines, and other sanctions.

What Are Examples of Infractions in Utah?

Various types of conduct may be classified as infractions.

A few examples include the following:

  • Speeding in a construction or maintenance zone
  • Traffic control signal violations
  • Under 18 years of age using a cell phone while driving

What Are Examples of Misdemeanors in Utah?

As noted earlier, misdemeanors are less serious than felonies. Still, they can result in significant penalties.

Examples of misdemeanors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Knowingly furnishing alcohol to a minor (class A misdemeanor)
  • Reckless driving (class B misdemeanor)
  • Leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle (class C misdemeanor)

What Are Examples of Felonies in Utah?

In Utah, a felony is a criminal offense punishable by death or imprisonment in state prison.

Below are examples of felonies in Utah:

  • Aggravated murder (capital felony)
  • Child kidnapping (first-degree felony)
  • Robbery (second-degree felony)
  • Forgery (third-degree felony)

Reach Out to Lokken & Putnam, P.C.

Whether you have been charged with an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony, the potential penalties you could face can impact your life. For instance, your finances and personal or professional relationships may be ruined. You could also have trouble being approved for certain opportunities. Because the justice system is so complex, having a criminal defense lawyer represent you throughout your case is a good idea.

If you need legal assistance in Salt Lake City, please contact us at (801) 829-9783.