Utah’s juvenile courts have jurisdiction over cases involving criminal charges against teenagers under the age of 18. However, Utah’s juvenile courts are very different from adult courts, such as justice courts and district courts. For example, juvenile courts treat proceedings as civil matters rather than criminal matters. They also follow different procedures and rules.
If your son or daughter has been accused of committing a crime in Salt Lake County, it’s important for you to know some basic information about the county’s juvenile court system. This short informational guide for the parents, legal guardians, and family members of juvenile defendants explains information such as:
- Common crimes juveniles are accused of committing.
- Addresses and contact information for juvenile courts in Salt Lake County.
- What could happen to your child’s case if he or she has been accused of a felony.
Common Criminal Offenses Teenagers Are Charged With
There are two types of criminal offenses under Utah’s laws: lesser offenses known as misdemeanors, and serious crimes called felonies. Most juvenile charges involve misdemeanors, though there are also cases where minors are accused of committing felonies. If your child has been charged with a felony, you may wish to scroll down to the section on minors being tried as adults.
When an adult is convicted of a misdemeanor, he or she may be fined up to $2,500, and/or be incarcerated for up to one year. Juveniles who are found guilty of crimes are not incarcerated with adults, but may, at the judge’s discretion, face a host of other consequences, including but not limited to:
- Community Service
- Mandatory Counseling
There are three types of misdemeanors in Utah, labeled Class C, Class B, and Class A. Some common examples of misdemeanor crimes teenagers are charged with in Utah include:
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Public Intoxication
- Shoplifting (Under $1,500)
- Simple Possession of Marijuana
- Vandalism (Criminal Mischief)
Salt Lake County Juvenile Court Addresses, Hours, and Phone Numbers
In Utah, there are three types of courts that handle criminal allegations:
- District Courts – These courts hear cases involving defendants charged with felonies and Class A misdemeanors.
- Justice Courts – These courts hear cases involving defendants charged with Class B and Class C misdemeanors.
- Juvenile Courts – These courts hear cases involving juveniles (people under 18), with some exceptions for very serious cases.
There are two juvenile courts in Salt Lake County, which is part of Utah’s Third Judicial District: one in Salt Lake City, and one in West Jordan. They are listed below with hours, locations, and contact information.
- Salt Lake County Juvenile Court, Matheson Courthouse
Third District Juvenile Court – Matheson Courthouse
450 South State Street
P.O. Box 140431
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
- Phone – (801) 238-7700, (801) 238-7300
- Hours – 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday – Friday
- Salt Lake County Juvenile Court, West Jordan Courthouse
Third District Juvenile Court – West Jordan Justice Center
8080 South Redwood Road
West Jordan, UT 84088
- Phone – (801) 233-9600
- Hours – 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday – Friday
If aren’t sure which court you should to go to, you can determine your court location in two easy steps:
Navigate to this juvenile court locator, or, if the link is giving you trouble, manually enter the following URL: utcourts (dot) gov (slash) courts (slash) juv (slash) juvsites (slash) 3rd (slash) zipsearch (dot) htm.
Enter your zip code and click the grey “Search” button.
Of course, you won’t have to worry about figuring out all of the court-related information on your own: your Salt Lake City juvenile crimes attorney will be there to answer your legal questions, prepare you and your family for each meeting and court appearance, and represent your son or daughter aggressively at every step of the case.
Can a Minor Be Tried as an Adult for a Felony Offense?
Though teenagers are typically charged with misdemeanors, there are also cases where minors are accused of extremely serious felony offenses. If your son or daughter has been charged with a felony in Utah, there is a risk that he or she could be tried as an adult, which means your child will face harsher penalties if he or she is convicted.
There are two scenarios where a juvenile may be tried in adult court:
- A 16-year-old or 17-year-old is charged with a “Serious Youth Offender” felony, meaning:
- Aggravated arson
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated burglary
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated robbery
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Attempted aggravated murder
- Attempted murder
- Felony discharge of a firearm
- “[A]n offense… involving the use of a dangerous weapon, which would [have been] a felony if committed by an adult,” in cases where the juvenile “has been previously [found guilty] of an offense involving the use of a dangerous weapon, which… would have been a felony if committed by an adult.”
- The prosecutor convinces the judge that it serves the interests of justice for a juvenile age 14 or older to be tried as an adult. A skilled juvenile charges lawyer may be able to convince the judge otherwise and prevent your child from being tried as an adult.
There are also two scenarios where a juvenile will automatically be tried as an adult:
- A 16-year-old or 17-year-old is charged with murder.
- A 16-year-old or 17-year-old who has previously been sentenced to a secure facility is charged with a felony.
Utah Juvenile Defense Lawyer Serving the Salt Lake City Area
If your daughter or son was arrested for a felony or misdemeanor in Salt Lake County, your family is entitled to a vigorous defense by a skilled Utah criminal attorney with over 16 years of experience working on thousands of cases. Unlike defense lawyers who exclusively represent adults, attorney Darwin Overson is knowledgeable about the unique legal considerations and procedures that come into play in juvenile cases. He will work strategically toward resolving your child’s case favorably, in a way that causes minimal disruption to your everyday lives.
Make sure your child’s legal rights are being protected. Call West Jordan juvenile defense attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 for a free and confidential legal consultation today.