Uintah County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Uintah County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Uintah County.
Prosecutor in Uintah County
In Uintah County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Uintah County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Utah. For the most part, the prosecutor in Uintah County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Uintah County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Uintah County will take place at the Uintah County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Uintah County Criminal Court Locations.
Uintah County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Uintah County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Uintah County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Uintah County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Mandatory Appearances in Uintah County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Uintah County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Who can help me in Uintah County?
For general information about your case the Uintah County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Uintah County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
Uintah County Criminal Court Locations
8th District Court – Uintah County
Address: 920 East Highway 40, Vernal, UT 84078
Phone: 435-781-9300 Fax: 435-789-0564
8th District Juvenile Court – Uintah County
Address: 920 East Highway 40, Vernal, UT 84078
Phone: 435-781-9335 Fax: 435-789-0564
Naples Justice Court
Address: 1420 East 2850 South, Naples, UT 84078
Phone: 435-789-9090 Fax: 435-789-9458
Uintah County Justice Court
Address: 641 East 300 South, Suite 100, Vernal, UT 84078
Phone: 435-781-5338 Fax: 435-781-6726
Vernal Justice Court
Address: 374 East Main Street, Vernal, UT 84078
Phone: 435-789-7137 Fax: 435-789-1753