I Don’t Live in Utah but Got Charged with a Crime in Utah
Utah is a heavily toured place. People visit from all over for the skiing and cultural attractions. It can—and very frequently does—happen that people come to Utah to visit, commit crimes, and then return to their home state. A non-resident’s crime, unless it is an outstanding case, will be treated under Utah law, not the state that they’re a resident of. Non-residents of Utah that commit crimes in the state will still need to face the consequences of their crimes, just like a Utah resident, whether by working with an attorney in Utah or returning to the state to appear in court.
If you have committed a crime in Utah but live in another state, there is help available to you as you navigate court proceedings and penalties. Contact Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson at (801)-823-6935 for more information about what you can do if you have committed a crime in Utah but don’t live in Utah.
Misdemeanor and Felony Crimes for Non-Residents of Utah
Whether or not a defendant will have to return to Utah to appear in court depends on the severity of the crime they’ve committed. If a defendant has committed a misdemeanor (which includes minor crimes such as traffic violations, petty theft, and marijuana possession) in the state of Utah, then it is easier for them to engage with the court. They may not even have to leave their home state to receive their consequences.
If a defendant has committed a misdemeanor, then they will be able to send a local attorney to attend court in their place. This attorney must be licensed to practice law in the state of Utah. This local attorney will stand in for the defendant in court, the results of which will be communicated to the defendant. The defendant will then have to serve any imposed sentences or penalties.
If a defendant has committed a felony (which includes more serious crimes, such as burglary, rape, murder, or kidnapping), the defendant can post bail, which will allow them to leave the state of Utah with the assurance that they will return for their court date. If they appear for their court date, the bail will be refunded. If the defendant fails to appear in court, then the court will keep the bail money and a bench warrant against the defendant will be issued, in addition to their outstanding charges.
Extradition costs (e.g. a flight and hotel) will be covered initially by the state treasury. However, if you are found to be guilty, the cost will need to be paid back to the state on top of other fines and penalties.
How to Respond to the Issuance of a Court Date After Committing a Crime in Utah
All crimes committed in Utah by non-residents and residents alike will result in a court date at which the defendant is expected to appear. During this court appearance, a Utah judge will hear the case and assign penalties. The easiest response for a defendant in this situation is to appear in court (or, if the crime is a misdemeanor, to send an attorney licensed to practice law in Utah to appear in their place) at the appointed time and accept the administered consequences. Defendants are encouraged to use the help of an attorney throughout the process if needed.
Defendants that live a far distance from Utah might convince themselves that it might be possible to ignore their charges. This will ultimately not turn out to be in the defendant’s best interest; the charges are very likely to affect their lives at some point. If, for any reason, the defendant fails to appear in court, an arrest warrant will be issued. This is known as a “fugitive from justice” warrant and is issued when a person, even if they are a resident of the state in which they committed a crime, fails to engage with the courts in pursuance of consequences for their crime.
These warrants will follow a defendant to wherever they live and can be found by police during a search, which may result in an arrest. Defendants may be held in custody until Utah officers retrieve the defendant to be brought back to Utah. Alternatively, police finding a warrant can result in extradition, which, depending on the severity of the crime, could result in the defendant being sent back to Utah to appear in court. These warrants are also visible in background checks while applying for housing or a job.
It should be noted that, although there may be a statute of limitations on prosecution for the crime itself, there are no statute of limitations in place for warrants of arrest; they never expire and can follow you around for the rest of your life.
A Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Offer the Help You Need
If you have been charged with a crime in the state of Utah and you live in another state, it’s best to face the charges directly. Attempting to avoid the charges will lead to more trouble with the law, which will cost you even more time and money.
There is help available to you. Utah criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson is available to help you navigate the court system and to return to your home state with as few penalties and headaches as possible. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation at (801)-823-6935. We’re looking forward to your call.