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Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions in Utah

According to the Utah legislature, the Criminal Code classifies crimes into divisions based on the gravity of the crime. Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions. Felonies are separated into four distinct classes:

  • First Degree Felony
  • Second Degree Felony
  • Third Degree Felony
  • Capital Offense

The gravity of the crime is used to group these four different classes and, as a result, have varying levels of punishment. Burglary, for instance, is a second or third-degree felony (depending on if it occurred at a personal residence or not). But aggravated burglary (burglary that concerns dangerous weapons, harm, or an intent to harm a person) is a first-degree felony. Consequently, it carries a longer minimum prison time and a more significant maximum fine.

Misdemeanors in the State of Utah can be punished by up to 364 days in a county or local jail. They are classified as either:

  • Class A Misdemeanors
  • Class B Misdemeanors
  • Class C Misdemeanors

Some other misdemeanors are unclassified and punished as infractions.

Infractions are not classified. Any crime, which is an infraction within the Utah state penal code, is explicitly designated. Any crime defined outside this code, which is not clearly outlined as a felony or misdemeanor with no punishment specified, is an infraction.

Full information on each category of crime and their punishments are found in Title 76 of the Utah Code. Summarily, Utah crimes are tried on the basis of these categories.

What is a Felony in Utah?

Like most other states, a felony in Utah is a crime whose punishment is over one year long. Authorities in the state of Utah take criminal felony accusations very seriously. Most felonies come with compulsory minimum sentences to ensure that anyone convicted of a felony will serve a jail term as well as a possible fine. The categories of felonies in the state of Utah are stated below:

Third Degree Felony

The third-degree felony is the lowest degree felony in the state of Utah. What this means is that it has the least penalty of all three. Punishment for this category can be up to five years in prison and a payment of up to $5,000 in fines but has no minimum sentence. A typical example of a third-degree felony is thievery of property (or services) with a value above $1,500, but below $5,000. These fines greatly depend on the gravity of the crime.

Second Degree Felony

A second-degree felony can result in a prison sentence of between 1 to 15 years and payment of a fine of up to $10,000.

First Degree Felony

Generally, first-degree felony convictions are punishable by a minimum of five years in jail with a maximum of life imprisonment. Fines could also be as high as $10,000 and sometimes above.

Capital Offense

Very severe crimes like murder are regarded as capital felonies in the state. These felonies attract the most severe punishments, which may be a death sentence, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or at least 25 years in jail.

What are some examples of felonies in Utah?

The different classes of felonies have felonious crimes classified under them. Some of these crimes include:

Capital Felony:

  • Aggravated murder.

First Degree Felony:

Second Degree Felony:

  • Assault with a harmful weapon, and
  • Theft of property worth $5000 or more.

Third Degree Felony

  • Theft of property between $1000 and $5000.

Can an Individual get a Felony Expunged from a Court Record in Utah?

In the state of Utah, a high percentage of criminal felony conviction records may be removed or expunged from court records. However, not all felony records are considered for expungement, and waiting periods are compulsory for eligible records.

Certain felony records are ineligible for expungement. Felony records are ineligible for expungement if one is convicted in separate criminal episodes of:

  • two or more felonies (other than possession of drugs),
  • five or more offenses of any type (other than possession of drugs),
  • three or more felony drug possession crimes, or
  • five or more drug possession offenses of any degree.

Furthermore, one’s conviction record will not be considered for expungement if;

such a person provides false or misleading information in their expungement paperwork, or

if there is a criminal case pending against such a person.

Note that certain offenses cannot be removed from court records without pardon.

The offenses listed below are not considered for expungement unless the felon is pardoned by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole:

  • a felony classified as capital, first-degree, or violent crime,
  • a felony offense involving a DUI,
  • a felony offense involving vehicular homicide, or
  • any crime for which it is required that one registers as a sex offender or child abuse offender.

A pending infraction charge cannot render an individual ineligible in Utah. And if after ten years from the date of being convicted or the completion of all terms of one’s sentence, whichever is later, then the number of convictions in the above list may be increased by one.

What are the Waiting Periods for Expunging a Felony from Court Records in Utah?

If one’s felony record is considered eligible for removal, such an individual must satisfy a waiting period before considering applying to expunge their record. This waiting period runs from the date such a person was convicted or released from probation, jail, or parole, whichever is later.

  • Felonies that are subject to the Utah Controlled Substance Act: 10 years,
  • Other felonies: 7 years.

Section 77–40–105 of the Utah Code clearly states that before individuals can request a criminal record expungement (a felony in this case), they must be issued a Certificate of Eligibility from the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification. The individual must then file their petition for expungement in the court where their case was heard. Sometimes, no case was brought to court, but there was an arrest then release. In that instance, the district court of the county where they were arrested can process their record deletion.

See the Utah State Courts website.

Is Expungement the Same as Sealing Court Records in Utah?

Yes, expungement is the same as sealing court records in Utah.

How Long Does a Felony Stay on an Individual’s Record in Utah?

It all depends on certain scenarios. In Utah, a felony will stay on an individual’s record for life provided that the records are not expunged. However, one can file for felony expungement. Persons can only file for expungement after they are deemed eligible and will have to wait for seven to ten years, subject to the nature of the felony.

What is a Misdemeanor in Utah?

In Utah, misdemeanors are considered less severe crimes. They attract up to two years in a county or local jail. Although less severe crimes, they are not good for people’s criminal records. Misdemeanor convictions can restrict individuals from enjoying certain rights and privileges in the future.

In Utah, people convicted of misdemeanors will be required to spend up to 364 days in a county or local jail. In addition to a jail term, misdemeanors may attract a fine.

Misdemeanors are classified into three by the state’s criminal law;

Class C Misdemeanors:

The state’s criminal laws regard this misdemeanor class as the least serious. Charged individuals face up to ninety days in jail plus an additional fine of about $750. (Utah Code Ann. §§ 76–3–204, 76–3–301 (2019).)

Class B Misdemeanors:

The law in Utah classifies Class B misdemeanors as less severe than Class A misdemeanors. They attract a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine as much as $1000. (Utah Code Ann. §§ 76–3–204, 76–3–301 (2019).)

Class A Misdemeanors:

In Utah legislation, these types of misdemeanors are regarded as the most serious misdemeanors. Anyone found guilty will serve up to 364 days in jail and be fined up to $2,500. (Utah Code Ann. §§ 76–3–204, 76–3–301 (2019).)

Unclassified Misdemeanors

Unclassified misdemeanors are sometimes labeled as infractions in the state. They do not usually attract severe punishments but are very much punishable under the law. Individuals convicted of unclassified misdemeanors may be required to serve all or some of the following;

  • Payment of fine, up to $750,
  • Community service
  • Suspension or forfeiture of licenses and properties by the state and local governments
  • Loss of job or disqualification from a workplace (be it a private or a public organization)

(Utah Code Ann. §§ 76–3–104, 76–3–205, 76–3–301 (2019).)

The statute of limitations, as stated in section 76–1–302 of Utah’s code for most misdemeanors, is two years. After two years elapses, defendants can file for case dismissal. Prosecutors will be deprived of the right to continue pressing charges.

In Utah, misdemeanor crimes can have long-lasting damage to the rights and freedom of an individual. Individuals charged with a misdemeanor can get help from a good lawyer who can help defend their case and have them acquitted of all charges.

What are some examples of misdemeanors in Utah?

Based on the different classes of misdemeanors, here are some examples of misdemeanor crimes in Utah

Class A Misdemeanor:

  • The theft of services or property worth around $500 to $1,500.

Class B Misdemeanor

  • Deliberate supply of alcohol to a minor.

Class C Misdemeanor:

  • Driving on a revoked or suspended driver’s license.

Can an Individual get a Misdemeanor Removed from a Court Record in Utah?

Yes, but it all depends on certain circumstances, as stated in the state’s criminal laws.

In Utah, some misdemeanors are eligible for expungement while some are not.

For misdemeanors, individuals are rendered ineligible for expungement if;

  • They have been sentenced for three or more offenses, of which two are Class A misdemeanors (other than possession of drugs),
  • They have been sentenced for four or more offenses, of which three were Class A misdemeanors (other than possession of drugs).

Pending infraction charges will not hinder any individual from applying for misdemeanor expungement.

Eligible individuals will have to wait for a designated period before applying for expungement. The waiting period depends on the type and nature of the misdemeanor crime(s). The waiting period for;

  • A misdemeanor under the Utah Traffic Code is ten years,
  • Class A misdemeanor is five years,
  • Class B misdemeanor is four years, and
  • Other misdemeanors: three years.

Can a DUI Be Expunged in Utah?

The state allows the expungement of DUI from an individual’s records. In getting DUI records expunged, individuals need to file the right petition with the court that found them guilty of the crime.

If a request to expunge a DUI record is granted, individuals will have all their DUI court records sealed and cleared off all public records.

As earlier stated, persons will need to be granted a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement from the Utah State BCI (Bureau of Criminal Identification). Having this certificate will ascertain their eligibility when they show up in court.

DUI in Utah stands for Driving Under the Influence. It is a criminal offense in which an individual is caught driving while intoxicated with alcohol. In Utah, the Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) while driving is 0.08. Any individual whose BAC reaches or exceeds 0.08 while driving will be charged with DUI if apprehended by a law enforcement officer. The individual, if convicted, will serve the necessary punishment in adherence to the state’s law.

The waiting period for expungement of a DUI is not the same as with other misdemeanor charges. An individual cannot file for expungement until after ten years of completing a jail sentence or probation as opposed to three to five years for other misdemeanors.

What constitutes an Infraction in Utah?

Infractions are crimes that are regarded as the least serious offenses. As in most states, infractions do not attract a jail sentence in Utah. Any individual found guilty of an infraction will be required to pay a fine of no more than $750.

A court may order the defendant to engage in community service as opposed to or in addition to paying a fine.

In Utah, most infractions are traffic violations.

What are some examples of Infractions in Utah?

There are many examples of infractions, some of which include;

  • Resisting an arrest without a firearm,
  • Obstructing police officers from discharging their duties,
  • Violating traffic laws,
  • Littering the floor,
  • Illegal parking of an automobile,
  • Engaging in disorderly conduct such as spray painting, noise-making, and
  • Breaking other county or city rules and regulations.

Infractions are sometimes called “unclassified misdemeanors.”

Can Infractions be Expunged from a Utah Criminal Court Record?

Yes, infractions can be expunged from a Utah criminal court record.

As with the other two classes of crime, eligibility and waiting period are critical factors.

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