Under criminal law in Utah, a misdemeanor charge can carry penalties including jail time (almost a year) and a fine and surcharge of as much as $4,750. There are also collateral consequences to a misdemeanor conviction that can extend beyond the courtroom, affecting employment, professional licensing, driver’s license, gun rights, and much more. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Ogden, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
We are pleased to provide legal services to clients in Ogden and throughout Utah. Call us today to see how we can help with your Ogden criminal defense case.
Defending Ogden Misdemeanor Cases
Misdemeanor charges in Ogden can include many alcohol offenses, marijuana possession, domestic violence, DUI, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, assault, and more. Ogden misdemeanor prosecutions are handled in both the Ogden City Justice Court and the Second District Court’s Ogden Department. But Ogden’s Justice Court is restricted to hearing only class B and lower level offenses. Class A misdemeanors must be heard in the district court.
When developing the best defense strategy for a Utah misdemeanor case, one must consider the type of the charge(s) filed, the specific facts of the case, the applicable law (including statutory provisions, case law, and procedural rules). Perhaps one of the most important considerations, however, involves the needs and goals of each distinctive client.
A careful analysis of the law and the facts related to the case should reveal what strengths and weaknesses exist for both the defense and prosecution sides of the case. By examining both sides of the case we are best able decide which defense techniques are most appropriate – a motion to suppress, a constitutional challenge, jury trial, etc.
Additionally we meet with each client, to learn what his or her respective needs and goals are. For some, it is most important to keep a conviction off their record. For others, it is critical that they stay out of jail. Some want to take the case “all the way,” and others may hope for a speedy resolution through negotiations. By taking into consideration each of our client’s personal needs and circumstances, we are able to prepare a strategy for defense most likely to accomplish the needs and goals of our clients.
Misdemeanor Jail Time and Fines in Ogden
The following are maximum penalties associated with each class of Utah misdemeanor charge.
Class A Misdemeanor – 364 days jail; $4,750 (fine plus surcharge)
Class B Misdemeanor – 180 days jail; $1,900 (fine plus surcharge)
Class C Misdemeanor – 90 days jail; $1,425 (fine plus surcharge)
When facing multiple counts, the district court or justice court judge has the discretion to run the sentences for each count consecutively (back to back) or concurrently (simulatenously). As an example, a person with two class B misdemeanor 180-day jail terms, if imposed consecutively could end in nearly a full year in jail. Imposed concurrently, those two 180-day jail terms would only equal 180 days. A judge can impose consecutive sentences on multiple misdemeanor charges contained in one single case. Or, two different judges could impose sentences consecutive to the other judge’s sentence if a person has convictions in multiple cases.
Other Consequences for Ogden Misdemeanor Convictions
On top of jail time and fines, Ogden courts may order payment of restitution for injuries or damage that resulted from the criminal conduct of the defendant. Restitution payments can be ordered as a condition of probation, or can be simply entered as a judgment to be collected if the person is sentenced to actually serve all jail time without probation.
In situations where the defendant is allowed the opportunity for probation, a judge in Ogden may impose a variety of conditions including community service, drug or alcohol treatment, domestic violence counseling, anger management classes, theft classes, curfews, restrictions on travel, restrictions on personal associations, drug testing, and more. Probation conditions must be rationally related to legitimate goals of the criminal justice system. But the requirement of a rational relationship does little to limit the court’s discretion in determining appropriate probation conditions.
Certain collateral consequences can accompany a misdemeanor conviction even without an order from the court. Drug-related convictions (such as possession or paraphernalia charges) can result in a suspension order from the Utah Driver License Division. A domestic violence conviction can result in the loss of the right to carry, use, or otherwise possess a firearm. Many housing rental agreements will contain clauses allowing a landlord to evict the tenant if the tenant is convicted of a criminal offense. The list of potential collateral consequences is long.
Too often, people may believe that since a case involves “just” a misdemeanor, that having an attorney is not necessary. While misdemeanors are obviously not as serious as felony charges, a conviction can have lasting consequences. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome for your Ogden misdemeanor case.