Layton is the largest city in Davis County, Utah. It is also home to one of the three district courthouses in Davis County. The Layton District is one of only a few district courts in Utah that regularly handles class B and class C misdemeanors.
Misdemeanor Case Jurisdiction in Layton
Layton City regularly files lower-level misdemeanor cases in the Layton District Court. Utah’s district courts are considered to be courts of general jurisdiction, meaning that they can handle both felony and misdemeanor cases. But direct filing in the district court by city prosecutors is unusual in most other counties.
Layton City does not have a justice court. For most cities, this would mean that city misdemeanor prosecutions would be filed at the county level. However, because there is a district courthouse within Layton City’s borders, the city prosecutors are able file misdemeanor cases directly in the district court.
Felony Case Filing in Layton
The Layton District Court has jurisdiction to hear criminal cases of any level – including infractions, misdemeanors, felonies, and capital crimes. However, as a matter of case management the Davis County Attorney and Second District Court has chosen to have most felony prosecutions filed directly in the Farmington District Court.
Felony cases hearings and trials are sometimes handled in the Layton District Court. But these cases will normally begin with an initial appearance and other hearings in the Farmington District Court.
Judges in the Layton District
Currently, judges assigned to hear cases in the Layton District Court are also assigned to calendars in Farmington. Typically, judges from Farmington will be assigned to handle Layton court cases on specific days of the week. For the rest of the week, these judges will handle cases in Farmington.
De Novo Appeal for Misdemeanors in Layton?
Most misdemeanor city prosecutions being in the justice court. Because Utah’s justice courts are not considered to be “courts of record,” an appeal from a justice court conviction takes the form of a “de novo” appeal at the district court level.
A de novo appeal differs from a standard appeal in that the defendant does not need to demonstrate any specific error or incorrect ruling by the trial judge. Instead, the de novo appeal functions essentially as a “do over” in the district court.
Because Layton City files its misdemeanor prosecutions directly in the district court, an appeal from a Layton City prosecution or conviction must be filed as a standard appeal with the Utah Court of Appeals. This form of appeal is much more difficult and complex than a de novo appeal. Having the assistance of a good appellate attorney is very important.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney for Layton, Utah
Even at the misdemeanor level, Utah’s criminal justice system is complicated. The consequences of a conviction can be serious. At the felony level, direct penalties and collateral consequences can have life-changing effects.
If you are facing criminal prosecution in Layton, Utah, the criminal defense team at Canyons Law Group is ready to help. Talk to us today to see how our team of attorneys can help you.