How are felony charges classified?
There are four types of felony charges in Utah: capital, first degree, second degree and third degree. A capital offense is aggravated murder, which has the most severe consequences. A person convicted of this offense will face life in prison, death or life in prison without parole.
First-degree felonies are crimes like kidnapping, murder, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance near a school and several other crimes. These are one step down from capital offenses and have a prison sentence of five years to life in prison.
Second-degree felonies are crimes like manslaughter, theft of property over $5,000, intentional child abuse, residential burglary and similar crimes. These carry a one to 15-year prison sentence.
Third-degree felonies are crimes like forgery of checks from more than $1,000 but under $5,000, burglary of a non-dwelling, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and other similar crimes. These have a prison sentence of up to five years.
How are misdemeanors classified?
There are three classes of misdemeanors: class A, class B and class C. These are punishable by imprisonment, fines, or a combination of both. A class A can mean up to one year in jail, a class B can mean up to six months in jail, and a class C can mean up to 90 days in jail. Fines range from up to $750 to up to $2,500 depending on the class.
Facing any criminal charge can affect your life in more ways than only having to deal with the criminal justice system. Knowing your rights and learning how to fight these charges can help you as you move through the system.
Source: Utah Courts, "Criminal Penalties" Dec. 08, 2014