Criminal charges can change every aspect of your life in the blink of an eye. Most defendants do not have any experience with Utah’s legal system, and begin the process feeling completely lost and overwhelmed. If a loved one or family member was arrested in Provo, there are probably dozens of questions on your mind, like “How long can my loved one be held in custody?” or “What could happen if my loved one is convicted?”
Our Provo criminal defense attorney, Darwin Overson, is here to answer those questions, protect your loved one’s Constitutional rights, and fight for a favorable resolution to their case. If you or someone you know has been criminally charged in Provo, your family needs aggressive legal representation. Call Provo criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson of Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 right away to set up a free, totally confidential consultation. Darwin is able to make emergency visits to the Utah County Jail and other holding centers.
Crimes Handled by Our Provo Criminal Defense Lawyer
Darwin has over 16 years of experience representing many different clients across Utah. He has represented a wide variety of misdemeanors and felonies on behalf of adult and juvenile defendants, including:
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Crimes
- Sex Crimes
- Violent Crimes
- Weapons Crimes
- White Collar Crimes
No criminal charges are too big or too small for our Provo criminal defense attorney to handle. Contact our office for a legal consultation as soon as possible.
Figuring Out Bail After Being Arrested for Criminal Charges in Provo
After an arrest is made, the arresting officers will bring the person into custody. After being taken into custody, the person will be “booked,” which means police will compile information about the suspect and alleged crime. During booking, the suspect will be photographed and fingerprinted, and their personal items will be confiscated.
If no charges have been filed by the prosecutor, the person should not be held in custody for more than 72 hours. It’s not unusual for the Utah County Attorney’s Office to file for an extension on this 72-hour period, though these extensions can be challenged.
Generally speaking, people awaiting trial at the Utah County Jail are eligible to be released on bail. Bail may be cash-only or bondable, which means that a bail bond can be used. Excessive bail is unconstitutional, so you should seek legal assistance if you think your loved one’s bail amount is unreasonably high. If the defendant fails to return for future court appearances after being released on bail, the judge can issue a bench warrant for the person’s arrest.
If you were arrested and need help at your bail hearing, reach out to our Provo criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. We can help you keep your bail as low as possible so you can return home to your family as you await your trial.
Pre-Trial Stages for Criminal Charges in Provo
The trial itself is never the first step in the court process after an arrest. In fact, there are many steps which take place before trial. These steps include arraignment, which is when the defendant enters their plea (e.g. “guilty,” “not guilty”), and, in some cases, plea bargaining, which involves negotiation between the defense and prosecution. If the person was arrested for a felony, there are additional steps called the first appearance and preliminary hearing at the outset of the process.
The pre-trial process looks a bit different for misdemeanors and felonies. For a misdemeanor, your arraignment occurs at your first appearance. At this hearing, you are formally informed of the criminal charges against you and you are advised of your rights by the judge. If you do not already have an attorney, you will also be informed about your right to counsel. Usually, the court will allow you some more time to hire an attorney before moving forward. For misdemeanors, you will also be given the opportunity to enter a plea at this stage.
It is crucial to speak with your attorney before entering your plea, as it will affect the rest of your trial going forward. A plea of not guilty will lead to a trial. A plea of guilty will waive your right to a trial and you will move straight to sentencing. A plea of no contest has the effect of a plea of not guilty but cannot be used against you in a related civil matter.
For felonies, no plea is entered at the first appearance. Instead, a preliminary hearing is scheduled for a later date. At the preliminary hearing, the prosecutor must prove to the court that enough probable cause exists to hold the defendant over for trial. If the prosecutor fails to meet this burden, the case is dismissed, and the defendant is released. However, if the prosecutor is successful, the defendant will enter a plea, and a trial will be scheduled. Our Provo criminal defense attorney can help you through this process for both felonies and misdemeanors.
Plea Bargaining in Criminal Hearings in Provo
Plea bargaining often begins relatively early in the criminal justice process but can carry on throughout the trial. A plea bargain is like an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor. The defendant will agree to plead guilty and waive their right to a trial. The prosecutor will agree to reduce the charges against the defendant or recommend a lighter sentence in exchange.
Plea bargains are not a required part of the process and are offered at the discretion of prosecutors. Many cases are resolved through plea bargains because prosecutors are extremely busy and do not have time to put every single defendant on trial. However, prosecutors may not choose to offer a plea bargain and take you to trial instead.
Plea bargains, when they are offered, are negotiable. We do not have to accept the offer on the prosecutor’s terms. If you are open to a plea bargain but you want more favorable terms, we can work things out with the prosecutor. If you think a plea bargain is best for your case, speak with our Provo criminal defense lawyer about arranging a deal with the prosecutor.
Criminal Penalties for a Criminal Conviction in Provo
Crimes fall into one of two categories in Utah: misdemeanors, which are less severe offenses such as reckless driving and shoplifting under $300, and felonies, which are serious offenses like sexual assault and homicide.
Misdemeanors and felonies are both divided into several different categories. Misdemeanors are assigned alphabetical “classes,” while felonies are given numbered “degrees.” Some offenses, such as assault, can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the factors that were present when the crime was allegedly committed. Factors that enhance sentencing, like committing a crime on school property, are called “aggravating factors.”
Utah criminal penalties are listed below:
- First Degree Felony
- Sentence — Up to life in prison
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- Second Degree Felony
- Sentence — Up to 15 years in prison
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- Third Degree Felony
- Sentence — Up to 5 years in prison
- Fine — Up to $5,000
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail
- Fine — Up to $2,500
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Sentence — Up to 6 months in jail
- Fine — Up to $1,000
- Class C Misdemeanor
- Sentence — Up to 90 days in jail
- Fine — Up to $750
Despite carrying lesser penalties than felonies, misdemeanors are still capable of resulting in stiff fines, incarceration, and the creation of a criminal record. Depending on which type of offense is involved, the defendant might also receive other penalties, such as:
- Criminal restitution, which is paid toward the victim.
- Mandatory community service.
- Mandatory installation of a breathalyzer device in their personal vehicle.
- Mandatory registration as a sex offender.
- Restrictions on gun rights.
- Supervised probation.
- Temporary suspension of their driver’s license.
Probation and Diversionary Programs for Criminal Charges in Provo, UT
A prison term is not always the end result of a criminal conviction. In some cases, convicted defendants are allowed to avoid time in prison through a term of probation or by entering a diversion program. Both are alternative forms of sentencing that could give you a second chance.
Probation allows a convicted defendant to serve their punishment while at home in their communities. The exact terms and conditions of your probation will depend on your unique circumstances. For example, a defendant convicted of a drug crime may be required to undergo random drug testing and remain drug-free for their probation duration. A violation of your probation could result in being sent to prison to serve out the remainder of your sentence.
Diversion programs also allow defendants to avoid prison time and have the added benefit of removing the conviction from their record. There are a wide variety of diversion programs targeting different defendants. For example, the Utah drug court diversion program allows defendants to avoid prison time and complete education and treatment programs that focus more on recovery and rehabilitation. Additionally, the completion of some programs will result in your charges being dismissed. To discuss the possibility of entering a diversion program, contact our Provo criminal defense lawyer for guidance.
Appealing a Criminal Conviction in Provo
If you were unfortunately convicted at your criminal trial, you have the right to appeal your case to a higher court. An appeal is not like a second trial. The court will not re-examine the evidence or listen to new arguments. Instead, the court will examine the record of your trial and look for legal mistakes or errors that may have resulted in an unfair or unjust outcome.
The nature of your appeal will depend on the issues at your trial. Only issues that were preserved at trial can be heard on appeal. Issues can be preserved by making motions or objections, among other ways. If your attorney did not preserve a certain issue for trial, you have waived your right to have it heard on appeal.
Your petition for an appeal typically must be received by the courts by a specific deadline. If you miss that deadline, you risk waiving your right to appeal. Reach out to our Provo criminal defense lawyer about starting your appeal process as quickly as possible.
Trust Our Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys with Your Case
If you or one of your loved ones was arrested in Utah, do not wait until it is too late to get legal help. Call our Provo criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson of Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 today to set up your free, confidential case evaluation.