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Utah Probation and Criminal Defense Attorney

Is there a statute of limitations on probation violations in Utah?

The time requirements for filing a probation violation in Utah are different from the requirements for filing regular criminal charges. An ordinary statute of limitations sets time limits during which a criminal legal action must be filed. Under the Utah criminal code, the statute of limitations for most misdemeanors requires that charges be filed within two years of when they occurred. The statute of limitations for most felonies requires that charges be filed within four years of when they occurred. 

These statutes of limitation do not apply to probation violations. Instead, Utah law generally requires that action must be taken on a probation violation during the probation term. Most often, this will involve the filing of or a request for issuance of an order to show cause, or the issuance of an arrest warrant by the probation court.

If you have been charged with a crime or have a pending probation violation or order to show cause, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential consultation.

Tolling the Probation Period in a Utah Criminal Case

Once the original time period for probation has expired, the case normally will be closed automatically and the court will lose jurisdiction over the case. But under Utah law, if the prosecutor or probation officer have filed an affidavit supporting an order to show cause or if the court has issued an arrest warrant for a probation violation, the court can retain jurisdiction indefinitely. If such action is taken during the probation period, the period is considered to be "tolled" (put on hold), and the court retains authority to enforce probation conditions or punish a violation of probation.

Consider the following hypothetical scenario. Assume a defendant was placed on probation on January 1, 2001, for a period of 12 months. Assume next that police found marijuana in the defendant's possession on December 30, 2001. Assume also that police did not report the marijuana possession to the prosecutor or judge until January 5, 2002. Under these circumstances, the period of probation had already expired on January 1, 2002. Because the probation period had already expired, under Utah law, the prosecution would be barred from proceeding with an order to show cause, and the case would be closed.

Consider, however, the following. If in the above hypthetical situation, police had promptly reported the marijuana possession to the prosecutor immediately on December 30, 2001, and the prosecutor had filed an affidavit supporting an order to show cause on December 30, 2001, the court could issue an arrest warrant based on the allegations that the defendant had violated the terms of probation. In this modified scenario, the period of probation would be tolled. This means that even if it took a year or more to locate the defendant, serve the warrant, and bring the defendant before the court, the court would retain jurisdiction over the case. If it were determined that the defendant had in fact violated the terms of probation, the court would have authority then to revoke probation and impose the original sentence, extend probation for additional time, modify the terms of probation, or other appropriate sanctions or remedies as determined by the court.

Exceptions for Failure to Pay Fines or Restitution

Under Utah Code 77-18-1, a court may retain jurisdiction even after the original probation term has expired, for the limited purpose of collecting the outstanding amounts owed. Other conditions of probation may not be enforced under this provision, such as community service, treatment, counseling, or drug testing. But the court may use the contempt power (which includes the power to order jail time) to enforce the payment of fines or restitution.

Finding a Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah Criminal LawyerIf you are facing an order to show cause for a probation violation, you could potentially be facing serious consequences.  As a Utah criminal defense attorney based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has a track record of achieving real results for his clients.

Contact us now to schedule an initial 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
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, 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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