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Criminal Probation Conditions in Utah

Must a sentencing court impose full-time employment as a condition of probation in a Utah criminal case?

When a Utah criminal court suspends a felony prison sentence or at least part of a misdemeanor jail sentence, the court may place the defendant on probation and order compliance with conditions dictated by the court. In most cases, Utah courts will require that the defendant be employed full time. But the court does not have to impose "full time verifiable employment" as a condition of probation.

In some cases, the defendant may not be working at the time of sentencing due to permanent disability, temporary injury, lack of job opportunities, the choice to be a stay-at-home parent, or something else. Courts can and frequently do order the defendant to engage in an amount of community service, school, treatment, etc. that is the "equivalent" of a full time job. In appropriate circumstances (e.g., a stay-at-home parent with disabled children), a court may completely omit this type of "full time" activity as a condition of probation.

Utah Code section 77-18-1 sets out a framework for courts to decide whether to suspend a sentence, hold a plea in abeyance, obtain a pre-sentence report, or determine appropriate conditions of probation. "Full time employment" in fact does not even appear as one of the probation conditions specifically enumerated under Utah Code 77-18-1. Instead, employment would come under the statute's catchall provision - "other terms and conditions the court considers appropriate to ensure public safety or increase a defendant's likelihood of success on probation."

Because the legislature has directed the courts to consider conditions that are designed "to ensure public safety or increase a defendant's likelihood of success on probation," a court may impose alternatives to full-time employment when the specific facts or circumstances of a case may justify. To accomplish these goals, a court may require that the defendant be engaged in full time paid employment, full time charitable or philanthropic service, full time education, full time treatment, taking care of a family full time or other activities designed to meet the goals of probation.

Finding a Criminal Attorney in Utah

Utah Criminal Defense LawyerWhether you are facing an order to show cause for a probation violation or a new felony or misdemeanor prosecution, having an experienced criminal lawyer on your side is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us today to see how we can help you. Contact us today to see how we can help 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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