Utah Felony Basics
Utah defines felony offenses as any kind of criminal offense that is punishable by incarceration or death sentencing. Felony offenses are more severe than misdemeanor offenses. Many states separate their felonies into alphabetical or numerical class distinctions. Utah instead classifies its felonies into classes of degrees.
Often times two individuals will be involved in the same crime and one will receive a harsher punishment, or class degree, than the other. This is often the case when one individual is viewed as an accessory to the crime rather than the instigator. Under these circumstances the individuals will be charged with the same offense but in different degree levels.
The state of Utah has four degree classes in which it separates its felonies. The most severe of these classes is the capital felony offense. An individual will be charged with this kind of offense for the crimes of rape, aggravated murder, arson, or kidnapping. Capital felony offenses can earn sentences of life in prison with out parole possibilities, imprisonment sentences of twenty years or more, and the possibility of death sentencing.
A felony in the first degree can also have the same offenses as a capital felony but are less severe and is based on the circumstances of the crime. Criminal charges for first-degree felonies include kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, and drug crimes — including marijuana possession and distribution. First-degree felonies can earn up to fifty years of incarceration with or without a maximum fine of ten thousand dollars.
A second-degree felony is far less severe than a capital felony or a first-degree felony. These degrees of felonies can earn anywhere from one year to fifteen years of incarceration with or without a maximum fine of ten thousand dollars. Second-degree felonies include sexual crimes, burglary, theft, driving under the influence felonious crimes, robbery, white collar crimes, aggravated crimes, and minor enticement with intentions to commit a felony in the first degree.
The final category of Utah felonies is the third-degree felony class. Crimes considered third-degree felonies include the practice of medicine without the proper licensing, theft, forgery, and domestic crimes. Felonies in the third degree can earn several months to five years in prison with or without a maximum fine of five thousand dollars.
Unlike some states, Utah does allow the expungement of some felony crimes. However some kinds of felonies are always excluded from eligibility and include capital felony offenses, felonies in the first degree, forcible felonies in the second degree, sexual crimes against minors, and all other felonies that exclude individuals due to other cases of ineligibility.
Some states set statutes of limitations on some felonious crimes. Utah currently has not statute of limitation for crimes that are considered capital felony offenses as well as those for manslaughter, murder, child kidnapping, and child abuse homicide. Utah also has four-year limitations for negligent homicide.
There is a three-year limitation for official misconduct as well as a two-year limitation for bribery. Cases of sodomy, sexual abuse, child sexual abuse, and rape need to have charges filed within four years of offense reporting.