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Utah Code 76-3-203 - Felony Indeterminate Prison Terms

Utah Felony Prison Terms - Indeterminate Sentencing

Utah Code 76-3-204 establishes the indeterminate prison terms that can be imposed as part of a sentence in most Utah felony cases. Some felony crimes carry the potential for different and more severe penalties. But for most general felony convictions in Utah, the potential prison terms are as follows:

  • first degree felony - not less than five years and up to life (5-life);
  • second degree felony - not less than one year and not more than 15 years (1-15);
  • third degree felony - not more than five years (0-5).

When a defendant is convicted of multiple felony counts, a sentencing judge generally has discretion to impose prison sentences for each felony conviction either concurrently (running simultaneously) or consecutively (running back-to-back). Consecutive sentencing can substantially increase the potential prison time that a defendant can be ordered to serve.

If you are facing prosecution in Utah for felony or misdemeanor criminal offenses, it is important to have the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard has successfully protected his clients rights for some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah, including homicide, aggravated felonies, drug charges, and many more. Contact us today to arrange for an initial confidential consultation.

Maximum Consecutive Prison Time

Salt Lake County Jail InformationWhile consecutive sentencing can increase the total amount of time a defendant is ordered to serve, other Utah statutes provide a cap on the amount of time that can be ordered in felony cases not involving a first degree felony conviction. If a defendant is being sentenced only on second and third degree felony crimes, the maximum prison term is 30 years.

Utah uses an indeterminate sentencing scheme. This means that the Board of Pardons, rather than the judge, determines the ultimate length of time that a defendant will serve in prison. In addition to increasing the maximum possible length of a sentence, consecutive sentencing also can affect the actual period of time that the Board will require a defendant to serve in prison.

Financial Sentencing Sanctions for a Felony Conviction

Fines in a felony case can be substantial. As of January, 2015, most Utah felony convictions carry the following potential fines:

  • first degree felony - $19,000 (including 90% surcharge);
  • second degree felony - $19,000 (including 90% surcharge);
  • third degree felony - $9,500 (including 90% surcharge).

These maximum fine amounts can be imposed for each felony count resulting in a conviction. While many judges impose the maximum fines, most judges will suspend a significant portion of the fine if probation is granted. Even when prison time is imposed, it is relatively rare for a judge to actually require payment of the full fine amount.

In some felony cases, restitution can present a bigger financial issue than fines. Under statute, a sentencing judge can require a defendant to pay restitution for damages or losses that are the direct result of the criminal conduct for which the defendant was convicted. If probation is granted, the repayment of restitution in a felony case will generally be monitored by AP&P and enforced by the court. If the prison sentence is executed, the Board will normally monitor repayment of restitution.

Collateral Consequences of a Felony Conviction

Felony convictions also carry potential consequences that last even beyond a prison term or probation. A felony conviction can affect the rights to own or possess firearms, and thus also a person's ability to hunt. A felony conviction can make it more difficult to find a job, rent an apartment, get a loan, get student financial aid, and many more.

Relief from Felony Conviction Consequences

A felony conviction does not automatically expire or "fall off" a person's criminal record - no matter how much time passes. But for many individuals, an expungement or a "402" reduction can lift the consequences of a felony conviction.

Under Utah law, an expungement acts to seal the records of the case and permits a convicted felon to, in most circumstances, to respond to questions as though the arrest and conviction had never occurred. A 402 reduction does not seal the records. But a successful 402 motion can result in a court order lowering the level of the offense to a misdemeanor. In some situations, a 402 reduction may also restore eligibility for expungement.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake Criminal Defense AttorneyA felony conviction in Utah can carry consequences that can last a lifetime. In order to give yourself the best chance of success, it is vital to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has successfully defended his clients' rights in thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor cases, including charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, drug distribution, and many more. He has a track record of achieving real results for his clients.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation. See what an experienced attorney can do for you.


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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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