Those who are confronted with felony charges in Utah need to be fully aware of how these acts are categorized and what the potential penalties are. Having a grasp of these issues can assist in the defense, whether or not it is a good idea to cooperate with law enforcement, and if pursuing a plea agreement is preferable to going to trial.
Felonies are considered major crimes and can result in a prison sentence, a hefty fine or both. The following are the categories of felonies: Capital Offense, First Degree, Second Degree, and Third Degree. A conviction on a Capital Offense can result in a sentence of life in prison, life in prison with no parole, or death. For a First Degree crime, a conviction can result in five years to live in prison with a fine of as much as $10,000. A Second Degree crime can lead to one to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A Third Degree crime can result in zero to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
An example of a Capital Offense is aggravated murder. For First Degree Offenses, if a person can be accused of murdering another person; committing rape; kidnapping a child; aggravated burglary; aggravated robbery or arson; and crimes related to controlled substances, possessing them with the intent to distribute them near a school. Second Degree crimes include: manslaughter; robbery; kidnapping; residential burglary; theft of an automobile; forging checks for $5,000 or more; property theft that is worth more than $5,000; forcible sexual abuse; and child abuse done intentionally. Third Degree crimes are burglaries of non-dwellings; committing theft of property that is worth more than $1,000 but less than $5,000; forging checks for more than $1,000 but less than $5,000; aggravated assault; a third driving under the influence charge in ten years; possession and the intent to distribute marijuana and other controlled substances; and false or forged prescriptions.
Those who have been charged with any of the above listed crimes need to be aware of the penalties they are confronted with. Whether it is for violent crimes such as murder charges, homicide charges, assault, battery, or other levels of crimes, having assistance from an experienced attorney is an imperative when lodging a defense.
Source: utcourts.gov, “Utah Courts — Felonies,” accessed on Jan. 7, 2016