Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now for help protecting your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Salt Lake District Courts and Justice Courts

The criminal court system in Salt Lake County includes two district court departments and several justice courts. If you are facing prosecution for a criminal charge in Salt Lake County or elsewhere in Utah, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital. This page is intended to provide general information only about the district court and justice court system in Salt Lake County. Contact us to arrange for an initial confidential attorney consultation to learn more.

District Courts in Salt Lake County

Under Utah law, district courts are considered courts of general jurisdiction, and can hear any level of criminal charge. Judges in district courts have exclusive jurisdiction over felony and class A misdemeanor charges. Even if there is a justice court with geographic jurisdiction, these higher-level charges must be filed in the district court.

District courts can hear lower level misdemeanor cases when there is no justice court with geographic jurisdiction. District courts also have jurisdiction over de novo appeals from justice courts.

The district court system in Salt Lake County includes two courthouses - the West Jordan Department and Salt Lake Department. Most criminal cases are initially filed in the Salt Lake Department (Matheson Courthouse). But if the geographic origins of the case are on the south end of Salt Lake County, many of these cases will then be transferred to the West Jordan Department.

Justice Courts in Salt Lake County

Utah law gives justice courts only limited jurisdiction. A justice court can handle only class B and class C misdemeanors and infractions. While city prosecutors also have legal authority to prosecute class A misdemeanor crimes, the city prosecutor must file a class A misdemeanor charge in the district court. Felony charges that happen with a city's geographic jurisdiction must be prosecuted by the district attorney's office.

Although Salt Lake County justice courts are restricted to lower-level offenses, the penalties can still be severe. A single class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail. A class C misdemeanor carries a potential jail sentence of up to 90 days. If a case involves multiple charges in a justice court, the sentences can run consecutively (back-to-back), resulting in much longer jail time.

Many municipalities in Salt Lake County operate their own justice courts. These include the Alta Justice Court, Bluffdale Justice Court, Draper Justice Court, Herriman Justice Court, Holladay Justice Court, Midvale Justice Court, Murray Justice Court, Riverton Justice Court, Salt Lake City Justice Court, Salt Lake County Justice Court, Sandy Justice Court, South Jordan Justice Court, South Salt Lake Justice Court, Taylorsville Justice Court, West Jordan Justice Court, and West Valley City Justice Court. By an agreement reached between the two cities, misdemeanor offenses occurring within the City of Cottonwood Heights are handled in the Holladay Justice Court.

Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake County

Utah Criminal Defense AttorneyStephen Howard is a criminal defense lawyer based in Salt Lake City, Utah who has handled literally thousands of serious felony charges as well as many misdemeanor cases. He is experienced in both district courts and justice courts. No matter what kind of charges you are facing, Stephen Howard is well qualified to provide vigorous and effective representation.

If you are facing criminal charges in Salt Lake or anywhere in Utah, you need an experienced and effective criminal defense lawyer on your side. Contact us now for a free consultation.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • Utah Statewide Warrant Search How do I find out if I have an outstanding warrant? - If you believe you may have an outstanding arrest warrant in Utah, a criminal defense attorney can access the Utah statewide warrant system and help you find the best. . . .
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

The best outcome is more likely when the right strategy is employed. Developing the best strategy can require real courtroom experience, a thorough understanding of procedural and substantive legal issues, and a determination to ensure that important constitutional and other legal rights are protected. Choosing the right attorney....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Defending against a criminal prosecution in Utah is a job that has to be done right the first time. Choosing the right attorney to defend you can be the most important decision you make. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling some of the most serious felony and misdemeanor charges on the books in Utah. No matter what charges you are facing, we can help....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

In Utah, even a "minor" misdemeanor conviction carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. A felony conviction carries the potential of lengthy prison terms and the various consequences that come with being labeled as a convicted felon. Never plead guilty without first finding out....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Attorney - Reasons to Hope

An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.