Most Utah criminal cases in Box Elder County are handled in courts located in Brigham City. All felony and class A misdemeanor charges are handled in the First District Court for Box Elder County. Most class B and class C misdemeanor charges will be handled in the Box Elder County Justice Court in Brigham City. Any criminal conviction can carry serious consequences. Even misdemeanor charges carry the possibility of substantial jail time and expensive fines.
If you are facing criminal prosecution in Box Elder County, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be vital to helping you achieve the best results for your case. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah, including Brigham City and Box Elder County. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.
Defending Criminal Charges in Box Elder County
At your first hearing in a criminal case in Box Elder County, you should expect to be given formal notice of the charges that have been filed against you. If you have hired an attorney, you will normally already have a copy of the charges. But the court is still required to provide a formal notification at this initial hearing.
In class B and class C misdemeanor cases, the first court hearing should include an arraignment where the court will also ask you to enter a plea of either “guilty” or “not guilty.” You should consult with an attorney before entering any plea in any criminal case. But in almost every case, it will work to your advantage to enter a “not guilty” plea at this first hearing. (In felony and class A misdemeanor cases, the arraignment does not occur until after a preliminary hearing has been held or waived.)
The discovery process is a critical part of defending against criminal prosecution. A formal Rule 16 discovery request should be filed in order to obtain police reports, witness statements, video recordings, photographs, dispatch logs, or other evidence in the possession of or under the control of the prosecuting agency. In some cases, an independent investigation may provide information critical to forming an effective defense strategy.
Your attorney can conduct a thorough case analysis, taking into consideration the facts and evidence obtained through discovery or independent investigation, and also the substantive and procedural laws applicable to your case. Once the strengths and weaknesses of your case are understood, it is often advisable to initiate a discussion with the prosecutor about possible negotiated resolutions. These negotiations do not commit you to resolving your case. But strategic settlement negotiations can potentially open doors to a resolution designed to achieve better results than those likely at trial.
Not all cases are well-suited to a negotiated resolution. In some cases, a motion to suppress, probable cause hearing, motion to quash, or other legal protections can help lead to the best result. In all felony and misdemeanor cases, you are entitled to a jury trial. An experienced criminal attorney can help you determine the best strategy for defending your case.
Penalties for Criminal Convictions in Box Elder County
Felony convictions in Box Elder County can carry potentially lengthy prison sentences and thousands of dollars in fines. But even a single misdemeanor conviction can carry a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine (including surcharge) of nearly $5,000. Even if jail and prison terms are suspended, probation conditions can be quite restrictive. Outside the courtroom, the consequences of a criminal conviction can also include restrictions on the right to possess firearms, loss of employment or professional licensing, loss of a driver license, and much more.
Potential jail/prison terms and fines for most criminal offenses are set forth below:
- Capital Felony – can result in the death penalty, life in prison without parole, or 20 years to life in prison
- 1st Degree Felony – 3, 5, 6, 10,15, 20 or 25 year minimum, with life in prison maximum – up to $10,000 plus 90% surcharge
- 2nd Degree Felony – 1-15 years prison – up to $10,000 plus 90% surcharge
- 3rd Degree Felony – 0-5 years prison – up to $5,000 plus 90% surcharge
- Class A Misdemeanor – up to 365 days jail – up to $2500 plus 90% surcharge
- Class B Misdemeanor – up to 180 days jail – up to $1000 plus 90% surcharge*
- Class C Misdemeanor – up to 90 days jail – up to $750 plus 35% surcharge*
- Infraction – no jail – up to $750 plus 35% surcharge*
Jurisdiction for Criminal Charges in Box Elder County
Jurisdiction for most criminal cases in Box Elder County will be in either the District Court (Utah First District, Brigham City Department) or in the Box Elder County Justice Court. The justice court has jurisdiction over class B and class C misdemeanors as well as over infractions. The district court is considered a court of general jurisdiction, and can hear cases involving charges of all levels ranging from infractions to capital felonies.
Finding a Utah Criminal Attorney for Box Elder County
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. If you are facing criminal charges in Box Elder County or Brigham City, contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation. See what an experienced criminal lawyer can do for you.