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Utah Justice Courts - Salt Lake Criminal Attorney

Utah's justice courts have limited jurisdiction to hear criminal cases at only the class B misdemeanor level and below. But while these misdemeanors are less serious than  felony or class A misdemeanor charges, the consequences of a conviction in a Utah justice court can still include substantial jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, loss of a driver license, restricted rights to carry firearms, and more.

If you are facing criminal prosecution in a justice court, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard has protected his clients' rights in thousands of Utah criminal cases. He has the experience, knowledge, and determination to help you get the results you need. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Criminal Jurisdiction for Justice Courts in Utah

Many cities and counties in Utah have established justice courts to handle class B misdemeanor and lower level criminal cases. The geographic jurisdiction of each justice court is based on the city or county in which the court is located. A county justice court will typically have jurisdiction throughout the county, with the exception of any cities or towns which have an established municipal justice court. A city or municipal justice court will typically have jurisdiction only within the incorporated borders the city or town.

Exceptions can be made which will broaden the jurisdiction of a city justice court. For example, through an agreement between the two cities, the Holladay Justice Court has jurisdiction over cases occurring both in Holladay and in Cottonwood Heights.

Under Utah law, a justice court has jurisdiction to hear criminal matters only at the class B or C misdemeanor level as well as infractions. A justice court may also hear small claims civil actions.

Potential Criminal Penalties in Utah Justice Courts

The most serious criminal offense that can be heard in a Utah justice court is a class B misdemeanor. Under Utah law, a class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,900 in fines and surcharges. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and more than $1,400 in fines and surcharges.

In cases involving multiple criminal charges, or when a defendant has multiple pending cases, a Utah justice court judge has discretion to impose sentences either concurrently (running together or simultaneously) or consecutively (running back-to-back). If the court imposes consecutive sentences, then the length of a defendant's jail sentence can quickly double, triple, or more.

Criminal Appeals from Justice Courts in Utah

Justice courts in Utah are not considered to be courts "of record." Since there is no official record to review, an appeal from the justice court consists of a "de novo" trial or hearing in the district court. Whereas a successful appeal from a district court to the Utah Court of Appeals or Utah Supreme Court requires a showing that a reversible error was committed in the district court, a "de novo" appeal from a justice court gives the defendant an automatic "do over" for a conviction or other ruling in the justice court.

Not all orders of a justice court are automatically appealable. The Utah legislature has placed some limits on what can be appealed from the justice court to the district court.

A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the court's ruling. If you are considering filing an appeal, it is important to speak immediately with an experienced criminal attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake

Utah Criminal Defense AttorneyWhen facing criminal prosecution in Utah, you deserve to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients in justice courts and district courts throughout Utah. He has a record of results that includes not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals on some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah. He also understands that even "minor" charges can carry severe consequences, and takes every case seriously.

Contact us today to schedule a confidential attorney consultation.

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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

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