In Utah, felonies are crimes punishable by terms in state prison. Utah lawmakers classify felonies as capital felonies or first, second, or third degree felonies. (Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-103.)
Less serious crime (misdemeanors) are punishable by up to one year in local jail. For more information on misdemeanors in Utah, see Utah Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
In Utah, the most serious crimes are capital felonies, punishable by death, life in prison without parole, or 25 years’ to life imprisonment. Murder is an example of a capital felony. (Utah Code Ann. § 76-3-206.)
Felonies of the First Degree
First degree felonies in Utah are punishable by five years’ to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. (Utah Code Ann. §§ 76-3-203, 76-3-301.)
For example, rape is a first degree felony. For more information on sex crimes and their penalties, see Utah Sexual Battery Laws.
Felonies of the Second Degree
A second degree felony conviction can result in a prison term of one to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. (Utah Code Ann. §§ 76-3-203, 76-3-301.)
Assault with a dangerous weapon is an example of a second degree felony in Utah.
Felonies of the Third Degree
A third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Third degree felonies are the least serious felonies in Utah. (Utah Code Ann. §§ 76-3-203, 76-3-301.)
Theft of property (or services) with a value of more than $1,500 but less than $5,000 is a third degree felony.
For more information on theft penalties, see Utah Petty Theft and Other Theft Laws.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a time limit after which the state can no longer begin criminal prosecution. When the crime is committed, the statute of limitations begins to “run.” In Utah, the most serious crimes, such as murder, kidnapping, and sex crimes, have no statute of limitations and the state can begin criminal prosecution at any time.
For more information, see Utah Criminal Statute of Limitations.
Obtaining Legal Advice and Representation
A felony conviction can have extremely serious consequences, including time in prison and a large fine. Even after people have served their time, felony convictions can make it difficult to obtain (or keep) a job, qualify for a professional license, or go to school. If you are charged with a serious crime, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is your best hope for avoiding a felony conviction. A local Utah attorney can tell you what to expect in court and how to protect your rights.