Charged With a Crime in Utah? Possible Alternative Sentences

Being charged with any type of crime in Utah can turn your life upside down. As criminal defense attorneys in Salt Lake City, our primary goal is to get charges dismissed and prevent our clients from being convicted. However, the reality is that some cases do end in a criminal conviction. When that happens, it’s natural to have many questions and to feel angry, frustrated, and scared. All hope is not lost, though, because, under Utah state law, there are some alternatives to serving jail time.

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When is Alternative Sentencing a Possibility?

Even if you are convicted of a crime in Utah, jail time is not necessarily mandatory. Although individual cases vary widely based upon their unique circumstances, there are several factors that may help get you an alternative sentence. Wasatch Defense Lawyers will thoroughly review all of these things to see if any of them may help prevent you from going to jail.

  • The crime committed wasn’t violent
  • You have minimal or no criminal history
  • You cooperated with law enforcement
  • You show remorse in court and make a positive impression on the judge and/or jury
  • There were extenuating circumstances out of your control, such as a mental illness or traumatic event

What to Expect

Although our criminal defense lawyers will advise you every step of the way, it’s a good idea to know exactly what to expect when it comes to sentencing in Utah.

In most cases, you will not receive your sentence at the same time as your conviction. Utah law dictates that once convicted of a crime, a person has the right to be sentenced in no less than two days and no more than 45 days. Defendants have the option to waive their rights and be sentenced at the time of conviction, but this is something you should discuss with your attorney.

Following a conviction, a pre-sentence report is prepared for the judge to aid in his or her sentencing decision. This report includes information such as the defendant’s family history, any history of mental illness or substance abuse, prior criminal records, the police report, and the crime’s impact on the victim(s) and their family. A sentencing recommendation from a state probation officer is also included. Though judges often follow these recommendations, they are not required to.

Finally, at the sentencing hearing, both the victim(s) and the defendant have the right to address the court. Victims’ families can make “impact statements” as well.

Utah Alternative Sentences

If the judge issues a sentence that doesn’t include jail time, it will likely involve treatment, community service, fines, probation, work release, or house arrest — or a combination of these. A sentence can also be suspended, meaning that you are required to fulfill the judge’s requirements in a specified amount of time. If you fail to do so, you could find yourself in jail after all.

Facing a Criminal Conviction in Utah? Get a Free Case Evaluation

If you’re in Utah and have been charged with a crime, our experienced criminal defense attorneys may be able to help you stay out of jail. Contact Wasatch Defense Lawyers for a free consultation today or call us at (801) 980-9965.

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Craig R. Chlarson