Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Veteran Criminal Defense Attorney / Former Prosecutor
Call 801-449-1409. We'll fight to protect your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Contact Us

District Courts - Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Utah district court system has jurisdiction over all levels of criminal offenses, both felony and misdemeanor. Utah justice courts are limited in their jurisdiction to class B misdemeanor and lower level offenses. If you are facing criminal prosecution in a Utah district court, it is vital that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Stephen Howard has achieved positive results for clients facing charges in district court for charges including murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, drug charges, and many more. Based in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Criminal Jurisdiction for Utah District Courts

A district court in Utah has jurisdiction over both felony and misdemeanor criminal offenses. The court's jurisdiction is typically limited to cases that occur within the geographical boundaries of the county within which the court is located. If there is a justice court that has concurrent geographical jurisdiction with the district court, class B misdemeanor and lower level offenses will initially be filed in that justice court. But all class A misdemeanor and felony charges must be heard in the district court.

Some larger counties in Utah (notably Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah counties) have a criminal case load sufficient to justify multiple district court locations within the county. Case assignments are typically made based on the location within the county where the offense occurs. For example, charges occuring in Salt Lake and West Valley are normally filed in the Salt Lake Department of the Third District Court; whereas cases arising in Sandy, South Jordan, or Draper are normally heard in the West Jordan Department of the Third District Court.

Consequences for Criminal Conviction in a Utah District Court

Because the jurisdiction of Utah's district courts includes both misdemeanors and felonies, the potential penalties for a conviction in a district court criminal case can vary widely. While there are a few criminal offenses under Utah law that carry mandatory prison terms, in most cases a district court judge has the option of granting probation. Depending on the nature and level of the underlying criminal charge, a district court may order a defendant's probation to be supervised by either Utah's Adult Probation and Parole ("AP&P") or by a private probation provider. In Salt Lake County, the court has the option of assigning Salt Lake County Probation Services to supervise probation in class A misdemeanor and lower level charges.

In Utah felony cases, if a district court judge denies a request for probation and instead orders a prison term to be served, the court enters an "indeterminate" sentencing order. Under Utah law, a district court judge cannot determine the exact length of a defendant's prison sentence. Instead, a district court judge can only order a range of time to be served (e.g. 0-5 years, 1-15 years, 5 years to life). Utah law permits the death penalty to be imposed only by a jury in an aggravated murder case.

In Utah misdemeanor cases, a court may impose jail time or probation, or a combination of the two. The maximum amount of jail time depends on the level of the misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail; class B misdemeanors have a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail; class C misdemeanors carry a potential of 90 days in jail.

In addition to jail or prison time, a district court in Utah can impose fines and surchages that can range into the thousands of dollars. With just a few exceptions, most offenses allow a district to impose a lower fine amount if the judge believes doing so is appropriate.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City

If you are facing criminal charges in one of Utah's district courts, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has achieved not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals in some of the most serious criminal charges on the books in Utah.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and case analysis.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
** All fields are required. **
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Statewide Warrant Search How do I find out if I have an outstanding warrant? - If you believe you may have an outstanding arrest warrant in Utah, a criminal defense attorney can access the Utah statewide warrant system and help you find the best. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

Successfully defending against criminal prosecution requires more than just an 'aggressive' defense. The best defense attorneys understand that a sophisticated defense requires a thorough understanding of a variety of nuanced legal issues, real experience in the courtroom, good negotiation skills, and much more. Fighting hard is good. Fighting smart is better....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Defending against a criminal prosecution in Utah is a job that has to be done right the first time. Choosing the right attorney to defend you can be the most important decision you make. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling some of the most serious felony and misdemeanor charges on the books in Utah. No matter what charges you are facing, we can help....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

Even a "minor" misdemeanor carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. The direct penalties and collateral consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe. Understanding these consequences is critical as you make decisions relating to your case. Even in a misdemeanor case, you should not....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Attorney - Reasons to Hope

An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
340 East 400 South, Suite 25, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.