Having a permanent criminal record can hurt a person’s financial future. But for college students, the implications of criminal charges can have a devastating long-term impact. Students arrested while attending the University of Utah can also be referred for disciplinary actions within the academic institution. The academic and criminal proceedings will be independent in that hearings are separate and the outcome of the school’s disciplinary process will not depend on the findings of the criminal prosecution. If convicted at the criminal level, students can face steep fines, months or possibly years of prison time, probation (or a combination thereof).
If your son or daughter was arrested and charged with a crime at college in Utah, look to the Overson Law Firm for aggressive and high-quality student criminal defense legal representation. Our experienced team can work with you as your son or daughter navigates through Utah’s criminal system and the University of Utah’s disciplinary proceedings. Leading attorney Darwin Overson is compassionate and understands that there is a lot at stake in a criminal student defense legal representation. He has years of experience defending college students against a wide array of felony and misdemeanor charges and will become a relentless and committed advocate of your son’s or daughter’s best interests. Call (801) 515-0883 to schedule a free consultation today.
Criminal Defense Practice For Students in Utah
Our results-oriented criminal defense for students in Utah will focus on providing the student with an opportunity to combat the charges and, if warranted, try to avoid jail time and seek expungement or removal of the criminal record at the conclusion of the proceedings. An experienced Utah criminal defense representation should be keenly familiar with Utah’s Sentence and Release Guidelines and will be able to guide the student and his or her family if there are ways to avoid jail time.
Utah has instituted a comprehensive structure of alternatives to imprisonment that may be highly effective in helping students be held accountable without having to be confined in prison. An experienced criminal student defense attorney should be proactive in determining if these alternatives are available and discuss the options with the students and parents. Examples of these alternatives include:
Community corrections programs are considered effective opportunities for individuals who can rebuild their lives at a correction center. When sanctions are imposed on convicted adults or adjudicated juveniles, then the prison term is served in a residential or community setting outside of jail or prison. These residential settings are run and enforced by agencies or courts with legal authority over the adult or juvenile offenders.
Alternatives to Incarceration
Utah has built a rehabilitation-oriented program of alternatives to incarceration. A judge will impose these alternatives when warranted. Alternatives to imprisonment include probation, community service, reparations, and court-ordered addiction treatments or therapy. The emphasis on this alternative can offer troubled students a plethora of opportunities to transform a criminal prosecution into a profound learning experience.
Breakdown of Charges Students Can Face in Utah
Classification of Criminal Charges in Utah
Crimes are classified into three categories: felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions. There are varying degrees of crimes within these categories. For example:
- Felonies are major crimes that can be punished with imprisonment or a fine. The different degrees include:
- A Capital felony, which carries life in prison without parole or death
- First Degree carries a possible term of life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second Degree carries a potential five years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000
- Third Degree, which can lead to zero to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000
- Misdemeanors are offenses typically punished a combination of jail time and fines.
- Class A carries a possible sentence of a maximum one year in jail and fine of $2,500
- Class B carries a possible penalty of six months in prison and fine of $1,000 and compensatory service
- Class C carries a possible sentence of a maximum 90 year in jail and fine of $2,500 and compensatory service.
In Class B & C misdemeanor and infraction cases, service or unpaid work can be completed in lieu of paying a criminal fine. This is called “compensatory service.” Each hour of compensatory service is worth $10.00. Compensatory Service can be performed for:
- a state or local government agency;
- a nonprofit organization; or
- any other entity or organization if prior approval is obtained from the court.
Common Campus Crimes that Students Face Charges For in Utah
Some offenses are more common amongst college students and young adults, such as sexual assault, drunk driving, marijuana possession, and hazing-related charges. Cyberbullying and cyberstalking charges have recently increased in college campuses in Utah. Other prevalent charges among students include:
- Drug possession, distribution, and trafficking charges
- Ecstasy (molly)
- LSD (acid)
- Marijuana (recreational cannabis, pot, weed)
- Prescription painkillers (OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Xanax)
- Prescriptions for Attention Deficit Disorders (Ritalin, Adderall)
- Psilocybin mushrooms (magic mushrooms)
- DUI/DWI charges (driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated)
- DUI with drugs
- Open container violations
- Repeat DUI
- Sex crimes
- Indecent exposure (flashing)
- Rape and sexual assault
- “Revenge porn” offenses
- Theft and property crimes
- Criminal mischief (vandalism)
- Identity theft
- Violent crimes and weapons possession
- Simple assault
- Aggravated assault
- Gun possession
- Other common campus crimes
- Disorderly conduct
- Hate crimes
- Public intoxication
- Resisting arrest
- Underage drinking/fake IDs
University of Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers for College Students
Having to confront a court of law and an academic disciplinary proceeding simultaneously can be an overwhelmingly petrifying experience for a young adult who has never been in trouble before. If you’re a parent of a student in this situation, you should be concerned that a criminal charge can destroy everything that your son or daughter has worked so hard to achieve over the years, especially if his or her career goals involve applying for a state license. But with the right legal representation, your son or daughter stands a better chance to turn a criminal prosecution into a character-building opportunity.
The team of lawyers working at Overson law firm is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of students facing criminal charges in Utah. Drew Overson and his dedicated team will fight for reduced penalties, alternatives to incarceration, reduced crime grade, or even a complete dismissal of the charges. Call (801) 515-0883 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.