Practically every jurisdiction makes a distinction between felony and misdemeanor crimes in criminal law. While felony status is accorded to more serious offenses, misdemeanors denote a relatively lesser offense. Some crimes can even wobble between felony and misdemeanor levels depending on the severity of the situation. Under Utah law, there are several classes of misdemeanors to cover different types of prohibited conduct.
What Are the Penalties for a Misdemeanor
Utah's criminal law system sets out a maximum sentence for a misdemeanor crime. A person convicted of a misdemeanor, regardless of class, can be remanded to the county jail for a maximum time of one year. In contrast, convictions for one or more felonies can land a defendant in prison for a number of years. Courts can also impose a fine for certain misdemeanor violations.
Class C Misdemeanors
Class C crimes are the least serious of the misdemeanor level offenses. Ax example of Class C offenses includes drinking in public or careless driving. Per law, Class C convictions can result in a jail sentence of 90 days or less. A court can also impose fines amounting to $750 or less in addition to jail time.
Class B Misdemeanors
In Utah, a Class B misdemeanor is the middle ground for this level of offenses. Examples of Class B crimes includes prostitution or gambling. A person convicted of this type of misdemeanor can face a maximum of six months in a county jail. He or she can also be required to pay $1,000 or less in fines.
Class A Offenses
Class A is reserved for the most serious misdemeanors. Common crimes include sexual battery or furnishing alcohol to a minor. Class A convictions can receive the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor of one year in jail. This jail sentence can also include a fine amount of $2,500. In most cases, the court will not allow a defendant convicted of a Class A offense to perform compensatory service in lieu of the sentence.
Other Types of Offenses
A crime most citizens are probably most familiar with is the infraction. Most types of tickets (traffic or parking) are considered infractions. An infraction is an offense that is less serious than a misdemeanor. Infractions are also not punishable by jail time. In Utah, an infraction can be punished by a fine not exceeding $750. Some courts will also allow a defendant to complete community service to satisfy the fine.
It's never a good idea to fight a criminal case alone. Whether you are dealing with felonies or misdemeanors, it makes sense to hire an experienced attorney who knows criminal law. Spencer and Jensen, PLLC can help!