What Are the Long-Term Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in Utah?

If you have been charged with a crime, know that a conviction in Utah can have many serious and far-reaching consequences. Our lawyers can help you understand how the charges you are facing could impact you and how to defend against them.

Nearly every aspect of your life could be affected if you are convicted of a crime in Utah. Not only can you be financially punished in the form of fines, but it can also prevent you from applying for certain jobs and renting a home. In many cases, these consequences will be felt whether the conviction is for a misdemeanor or a felony. Our team can help you get in front of these oncoming problems so you have a plan to overcome them. We can help you apply for housing, restore constitutional rights, or get your public assistance back. No matter the crime you were convicted of, our lawyers are ready to fight for you.

Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation with our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers.

What Long-Term Consequences Could I Face for a Criminal Conviction in Utah?

They say that crime doesn’t pay, and in Utah, that statement proves true. You could be subject to numerous long-term consequences if convicted of a crime in Utah. Regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony conviction, you could have trouble getting a house, finding employment, or losing your public assistance. A criminal conviction can also impact your family life. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can explain how a conviction in your case will impact you and how to defend against it. The following are common consequences of a criminal conviction in Utah:


Virtually all types of convictions, from low-level misdemeanors to first-degree felonies, can be punished by fines. According to Utah Code § 76-3-301(1)(c)-(e), fines for misdemeanor convictions can range from $750 to $2,500. Felony fines are even harsher, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, as per Utah Code § 76-3-301(1)(a)-(b). However, the court has the discretion to administer fines upon a conviction.

You could also be subject to civil fines for a criminal conviction. The state or victim of the crime can file a lawsuit in civil court to recover damages that resulted from the crime. These penalties would be in addition to the fines mentioned above. Our attorneys can negotiate with the state to potentially lower these fines or avoid them in a plea deal.

Driver’s License Suspension

You could also have your license suspended depending on the driving crime you were convicted of. For instance, your license can be suspended for careless driving under Utah Code § 41-6a-1715.

In more and more cases, defendants are getting their license suspended for using their phones while driving, as per Utah Code § 41-6a-1716. License suspensions are discretionary in these cases, so you might not necessarily lose your license if convicted of the crimes above. However, the length of the suspension will depend on the judge and the arguments made in your defense.

If you are convicted of a serious moving violation involving someone’s death, your license will be automatically suspended. According to Utah Code § 53-3-220(a)(i), your license will be suspended indefinitely if you are convicted of vehicular manslaughter or negligent homicide while driving. Your license will also be suspended for up to two years for a DUI conviction under Utah Code § 53-3-220(a)(ii). As these suspensions are ordered by law, you will have little way of avoiding this consequence if convicted.

Loss of Housing Opportunities

A criminal conviction might also cause you to lose out on vital housing opportunities. In Utah, most landlords and property managers run background checks on potential residents. If the tenant agreement or background check reveals a misdemeanor or felony conviction, they have the right to deny you housing according to Utah Code § 53-10-108(2)(d). Our team can help if your prior conviction is making it difficult to find a home.

Loss of Employment Opportunities

A conviction will also seriously impact your employment opportunities. Just like landlords, Utah Code § 53-10-108(2)(c) gives employers the right to run background checks and deny employment based on the applicant’s criminal history. This can prevent you from working in many types of areas. A felony conviction will prevent you from applying for the police or working in the judicial system. You could also be barred from teaching or lose your post for a misdemeanor or felony conviction.

A conviction will also rule out most jobs that require a security clearance. If you have a business that relies on government contracts, you can lose out on important state and federal ones that require clearance.

There are many businesses that also rule out applicants with criminal convictions because the position involves a level of trust. For instance, most banks and financial institutions have policies against hiring people with a criminal history. Our team can review your criminal history to see if we can lessen its impact on your employment prospects.

Loss of Professional Licensing Opportunities

Further, a criminal conviction will impact virtually any type of professional license you try to obtain in Utah. Under Utah Code § 58-1-401(2)(b), the Division of Professional Licensing (DOPL) has the right to refuse or revoke a professional license if you were convicted of any unlawful act, including misdemeanors and felonies. This can prevent you from getting a real estate agent license, a security guard license, or countless others.

Fortunately, a criminal conviction will not automatically bar you from holding a license. The DOPL uses criminal history guidelines to help applicants determine if their conviction will prevent them from applying for a particular license. Each license requirement is different, though. Whether you are barred from applying or need managerial review before your application moves further will depend on your conviction.

Once you access the link provided above, you can click on the license you are interested in or already have. From there, click on the “Criminal History” section on the tab on the left side of the screen and choose the “Guidelines” option from the dropdown menu. You should see a long list of crimes with a table of timeframes to their right. This list will tell you whether you can apply or how long you have to wait before applying.

In some cases, you might be able to apply right away with a review of your application. In others, you might not be able to apply for several months or even years. For instance, even a homicide conviction will not prevent you from applying for a medical license, but you would not be able to apply until ten years after your conviction. Our team can help determine when you can apply for the license you are pursuing or when it can be restored.

Loss of Public Assistance

At the same time you are dealing with housing and employment problems, your conviction could also cost you to lose out on any public assistance you receive. You will lose your unemployment benefits for a year if you are convicted of a class A misdemeanor or felony, according to Utah Code § 35A-4-405(2)(b).

Loss of Educational Aid

Certain convictions will also cause you to be ineligible for educational financial aid like student loans and scholarships. For instance, you typically will not qualify for federal student loans if you have a conviction for a drug offense.

You might also be barred from applying to certain graduate-level programs, like law school or medical school. Graduate programs often consider the character of an applicant before accepting them. You can usually apply for a license after a conviction, but that implies you finished school. Academic programs are free to select their students. However, our Clearfield, UT criminal defense lawyers can see what options are available if your conviction is preventing you from applying to school or for aid.

Loss of Firearm Rights

One of the most impactful consequences of a criminal conviction is the loss of your gun rights. This can be especially tough on those in Utah, as many enjoy hunting and shooting activities throughout the state. According to Utah Code § 76-10-503, you will lose your firearm rights if you are convicted of a felony or domestic violence. Not only can you not own a gun at that point, you cannot legally possess or purchase one.

Further, you can also lose your gun rights for conviction of possessing a controlled substance. However, the restriction will only be in place for the probationary period.

Once lost, it can be nearly impossible to regain these rights. That is why you should contact our team today to start your defense so you have the best chance of protecting your rights.

Divorce and Loss of Parental Rights

Your conviction can affect more than just you personally. It can also cause severe fractures in your family life. For instance, Utah Code § 30-3-1(3)(f) gives spouses the right to use any felony conviction as grounds for divorce in Utah.

You could also lose your parental rights if convicted of a crime. Defendants convicted of felony assault or abuse that leaves the child or other parent with serious injuries can have their rights terminated, as per Utah Code § 80-4-302(7).

Under Utah Code § 80-4-303, the court can also consider terminating parental rights if a felony conviction will result in more than a year of incarceration, leaving the child without a suitable home during that time. Fortunately, our team can help devise defense strategies that can help keep your family in your life.

Loss of Voting Rights and Political Involvement

Utah is slightly different from other states regarding the loss of voting rights from a felony conviction. In Utah, you will only lose your voting rights during your incarceration. Once your sentence is completed, your voting rights will be restored. However, your conviction could cause issues if you move to another state.

The bad news is that a conviction will impact your ability to be politically involved. For instance, Utah Code § 78B-1-105(2) prohibits people convicted of a felony from serving as jurors. Our lawyers can determine if expungement will help get your rights back.

Will My Property Be Subject to Criminal Asset Forfeiture for a Criminal Conviction in Utah?

Criminal asset forfeiture has become a serious consequence for those with criminal convictions. Utah Code § 24-4-102 allows the state to seize property used in the crime and take legal possession of it. For instance, your house might be seized if you bought it with money made from the crime or used it during the crime’s commission. However, the state can also take vehicles used during the crime, as well as personal property the police confiscates.

In most cases, the state will seek forfeiture of the property, which allows them to sell it and retain the proceeds. This means you could lose your property without any compensation for it.

Fortunately, the prosecution cannot automatically forfeit seized property. You are entitled to a hearing before a judge, during which the state must explain why the forfeiture is justified, as per Utah Code § 24-4-105(3). Also, the prosecution typically needs to wait for the case to be decided before initiating forfeiture.

If you are convicted, the prosecution will be allowed to argue its case. However, the state must prove that you used or knew your property was being used during the crime or that you received the property when the crime occurred or soon after, according to Utah Code § 24-4-105(5).

In some cases, the state might keep the property if forfeited. In other cases, it will sell the property or destroy it. However, your property must be returned to you if you are acquitted of the crime. Our attorneys can help you fight asset forfeiture, including preparing for your hearing against the prosecution.

Are There Immigration Consequences for Criminal Convictions in Utah?

If you are living in Utah on a green card or visa, a criminal conviction can upend your life. Being charged with a crime can affect your immigration status, let alone a conviction. However, you will likely face deportation and permanent removal from the country if convicted.

Essentially, a conviction for any “crime of moral turpitude” can result in removal proceedings against the defendant. This is a broad category encompassing many types of crimes, including violent crimes like assault and non-violent ones such as fraud. However, your attorney is required to tell you the impact a conviction or guilty plea will have on your immigration status, as instructed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Padilla v. Kentucky.

If you were convicted but your previous lawyer failed to inform you of the immigration consequences, our team can help. Under Utah Code § 78B-9-104(1)(d), our team can appeal your conviction on the grounds that you received ineffective assistance of counsel from your last attorney when they failed to inform you of the threat of removal if found guilty.

Our Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help You Fight a Conviction and Mitigate the Consequences You Are Facing

For a free case review, contact our Bountiful, UT criminal defense attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC by calling (801) 758-2287 today.