In Utah, a misdemeanor can be a serious conviction with lasting consequences. A single misdemeanor charge can carry penalties of up to a year in jail as well as fines and surcharges totaling a maximum of $4,750. Collateral consequences of a misdemeanor conviction can also include loss of your job, driver license suspension, professional licensing problems, firearm restrictions, and more. The consequences of a conviction can be severe. Choosing the right attorney to defend your misdemeanor case can make all the difference.
What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a classification of criminal charges, with a severity less than that of a felony. Under Utah law, there are three classifications of misdemeanors, each with their own penalties and consequences
- Class A Misdemeanors are the most serious type, punishable by up to a year in jail and fines and surcharges up to $2,500. Crimes that can classify as a class A misdemeanor include drug possession (Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances), theft, assault, criminal mischief, violation of a protective order, stalking, and more. Crimes at the class A misdemeanor level or higher cannot be tried in a Justice Court but must instead be handled by a district court.
- Class B Misdemeanors are one step removed from class A misdemeanors, and may be result in up to six months of jail and a fine of $1,000. Examples of class B misdemeanors include DUI and driving with measurable metabolite, retail theft, criminal trespass, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, possession of alcohol by a minor (minor in possession), domestic violence assault, criminal mischief, and more. Charges of class B misdemeanors and lower may be tried at either a District Court or a Justice Court, depending on the geographic jurisdiction of the courts.
- Class C Misdemeanors are the lowest level of misdemeanor and just one step above minor infractions such as speeding. The maximum punishments for crimes of this level include 90 days of jail time and a fine of up to $750. Crimes that may result in a class C misdemeanor include public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and other lower-level offenses. Charges at this level may also be tried at either a District or Justice Court.
What are My Options?
No matter what level of crime you are charged with, when you are facing potential jail time you have a constitutional right to representation by a qualified attorney. If you are able to prove to the court that you cannot afford a private attorney, a public may be appointed. A private defense attorney is often better qualified and better able to devote the necessary time, attention, and resources to your case.
The attorneys at Canyon’s Law Group have handled the most serious charges on the books in Utah, including trials for aggravated murder, sexual abuse, and much more. Our attorneys also understand that misdemeanor charges are significant, and that every case and client is unique, requiring individual consideration of your goals and needs.
When facing any level or kind of criminal charge, it is essential to have advice from an experienced defense attorney before proceeding further in your case. Even if the case is still in the investigative stage, consultation with an attorney can be critical before you even decide whether you will talk to police or not.
Make sure that your rights are protected. Learn more about our criminal defense team online, or contact Canyons Law Group and see what the right criminal defense attorney can do for you