Focusing on the immediate and direct consequences that are possible when a criminal sentencing hearing is approaching is important. However, collateral consequences of a criminal conviction in Utah can extend long after a sentencing hearing is completed and even after jail time is served or probation has been completed.
Defense attorneys should pay particular attention to other potential consequences when advising clients on the possible benefits and risks of accepting or rejecting a plea offer or negotiated resolution.
Advice Tailored to Individual Clients
Preparing to advise a client on collateral consequences is a complicated process, as consequences can vary greatly depending not just on felony or misdemeanor or on the type of criminal charge involved in the case, but also on the specific circumstances, goals, and history of each individual client. Understanding what matters most to each client is important
For example, a client who is a citizen of the United States will not have to worry about immigration consequences that could be a major concern for someone who is a permanent resident or has a student visa. Similarly, even a minor misdemeanor conviction can have significant consequences for a client’s employment if their job requires specific professional licensing or a security clearance.
Being convicted of a crime (or sometimes just being charged) can affect a client’s life in unexpected ways. Possible consequences can include business licensing, driver’s license, employment, educational opportunities, housing options, gun rights, political involvement, offender registries, and more.
Below is a pdf copy of the Utah Sentencing Commission’s 2022 Collateral Consequences Guide. Keep in mind that this guide should be used only as a reference. It does not provide authoritative advice and does not carry the weight of law. Specific statutes or administrative rules should be considered before advising clients.
Getting Help in Utah
The materials presented here are intended for use by Utah criminal defense attorneys in preparing to advise individual clients. Individuals should not rely exclusively on this information. If you are facing prosecution, consultation with an experienced attorney regarding your specific circumstances is strongly advised.