About Utah Crime Forcible Sodomy Under Code 76-5-403

Sodomy is a sex crime that can have extremely severe consequences for the defendant.  Depending on factors like the age of the victim and whether the victim was injured, certain sodomy offenses have the potential to be charged as first degree felonies, which are the most serious types of non-capital offenses under Utah’s criminal code.

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If you are convicted of sodomy, forcible sodomy, or sodomy on a child, you risk losing everything you hold dear, including your freedom, your reputation, and your career.  In addition to receiving huge criminal fines, you will also be incarcerated, potentially for decades.  If found guilty of sodomy on a child or forcible sodomy, you will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

When you are facing such grave consequences, it is urgent that you immediately seek legal help from a Salt Lake City defense attorney with extensive experience handling sodomy charges in Utah.  Sodomy defense lawyer Darwin Overson has worked on thousands of criminal cases over more than 16 years, and possesses the skill, knowledge, and dedication it takes to meet these complex charges head-on.  It isn’t easy to face such serious allegations, but Darwin will be there to support you and protect your rights at every step of the way.

Call Darwin right away at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free legal consultation.  Your information will be kept confidential.  Darwin is able to make attorney visits to county jails and detention facilities throughout Utah.

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When Can a Defendant Be Charged with Forcible Sodomy on a Child in Utah?

Sodomy is a criminal offense under Utah Code § 76-5-403.  A person can be charged with sodomy when, allegedly, he or she commits a sexual act with any person who is at least 14 years old.  In order to meet Utah’s legal definition of sodomy, the alleged act must “involv[e] the genitals of one person and mouth or anus of another person, regardless of the sex of either participant.”

Forcible sodomy is a related crime under a different section of the same statute.  Sodomy is forcible sodomy under Utah Code § 76-5-403(2) when it is committed without the other person’s consent.  The penalties for forcible sodomy, which are outlined in the next section, are substantially more severe than those otherwise imposed for sodomy.

Sodomy on a child is another related offense, defined separately under Utah Code § 76-5-403.1.  Sodomy on a child has nearly the same definition of sodomy, with the key difference being that sodomy on a child is charged when the other person is under 14.  Again, the sex of each participant is irrelevant to the legal definition of the crime.

Police officers may arrest a suspect by executing an arrest warrant, intervening against an apparent crime in progress, or having probable cause to believe a crime occurred or was occurring.  However, probable cause must be reviewed by a judge at the defendant’s preliminary hearing, which is one of the very first appearances in the Utah criminal court process.  If the judge does not find probable cause to believe that the defendant could potentially be guilty of the crime being alleged, the case cannot proceed and must be dismissed.

Criminal Penalties for Felonies and Misdemeanors in Utah 

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All criminal offenses in Utah are categorized as a misdemeanor or felony.  There are six groups a crime can fall into: three groups of misdemeanors (Class C, Class B, Class A) and three levels of felonies (third degree, second degree, first degree).  The lower the number, or the closer the letter is to the beginning of the alphabet, the more serious the penalties are if the defendant is convicted.  These penalties are listed below.

  • Sodomy
    • Statute — Utah Code § 76-5-403(1)
    • Offense — Class B Misdemeanor
    • Sentence — Up to 6 months in jail
    • Fine — Up to $1,000
  • Forcible Sodomy  
    • Statute — Utah Code § 76-5-403(2)
    • Offense — First Degree Felony
    • Sentence — 5 years to life, 6 years to life, 10 years to life, 15 years to life, or life in prison without the possibility of parole (early release)
    • Fine — Up to $10,000
  • Sodomy on a Child  
    • Statute — Utah Code § 76-5-403.1
    • Offense — First Degree Felony
    • Sentence — 25 years to life, life in prison without the possibility of parole
    • Fine — Up to $10,000

As these lists illustrate, forcible sodomy and sodomy on a child have several different sentencing possibilities if the defendant is convicted.  The length of a convicted defendant’s sentence depends on factors like whether the victim was seriously injured by the act, and whether the defendant has a history of prior “grievous sexual offenses,” meaning:

  • Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Child
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Forcible Sodomy
  • Forcible Sodomy on a Child
  • Object Rape
  • Object Rape of a Child
  • Rape
  • Rape of a Child

If you or one of your family members was arrested for sodomy in Salt Lake County, there is absolutely no time to waste assessing your legal situation.  Call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 for a free and completely confidential legal consultation with a Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer.  We handle criminal cases throughout Utah.