General Information on Criminal Matters
If you've been charged with committing a crime in Holladay City, the following information may help you through the criminal justice system. The Holladay Municipal Justice Court follows all applicable rules, statutes, and codes governing trial procedure. However, the following general information is provided as a guide to assist criminal defendants. For specific legal advice concerning your case, you must consult an attorney. Neither the Court nor the clerks may provide legal advice to you.
The first step in the judicial process for criminal matters is an arraignment. At the arraignment, you will be notified of the charge(s) brought against you, the location at which they are alleged to have occurred, and the date and time at which the crimes are alleged to have occurred. You may enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest at this time. You are not required to enter a plea at this time.
You may request appointment of an attorney to represent you. An attorney will only be appointed to assist you if you cannot afford one and there is a substantial likelihood that you will be jailed if convicted. If an attorney is not appointed, you must hire your own attorney or represent yourself. If an attorney is appointed, you may be required to repay some or all of the cost of the attorney.
If you believe you will qualify for a court appointed attorney and would like to ask the Court to appoint one to you, you must ask the Clerk or Bailiff for an Affidavit of Indigency. Fill out the Affidavit of Indigency and have it ready when your case is called.
If you plead not guilty, your case will be set for a pretrial conference. If you plead guilty or no contest, you have the right to be sentenced in not less than two days and not more than 45 days. You may waive time for sentencing and be sentenced at arraignment. If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be giving up certain rights. To learn about the rights you will be waiving, please review a Waiver of Constitutional Rights form. You can get a copy of the waiver from court personnel.
At the Pretrial Conference, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case with the prosecutor. The prosecutor may offer to reduce the charge in exchange for your guilty or no contest plea ("plea bargain"). The prosecutor is not obligated to offer a plea bargain and you have no right to a plea bargain.
You are not obligated to accept any offer made by the prosecutor. The Court will not reduce the charge against you on its own motion. If you and the prosecutor are unable to resolve your case at the pretrial conference, your case will be set for a jury or bench trial.
In a bench trial, the Court will hear the evidence presented by both sides, then decide whether you are guilty or not guilty. In a jury trial, a panel of four jurors will hear the case, then they will decide if you are guilty or not guilty. You only have a right to a jury trial if you can be jailed if found guilty. Traffic offenses which are infractions are not eligible to be heard by juries. Non?lawyers who desire a jury trial are encouraged to 1) get an attorney or 2) study the applicable rules, laws and codes governing jury trials. You can jeopardize your rights or liberty if you do not follow the rules.
Since the prosecution has the burden of proof to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, they have the first opportunity to speak to the court. This is called an opening statement. After the prosecution has made its opening statement, the defense has the option to make their opening statement or wait until the beginning of their turn to present evidence & witnesses.
The opening statement is an opportunity to briefly describe the types of evidence and what you hope the evidence will mean to the Court or the jury. Neither side is required to make an opening statement.
After the opening statements, the prosecution presents its case in chief. The prosecutor will offer evidence to prove that a crime was committed and that you committed the crime. After the prosecution is done, you will have the opportunity to present your side of the story. Either side may present testimony by witnesses or submit documents, subject to the Utah Rules of Evidence and the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure.
After you finish presenting your side of the story, then both sides will have the opportunity to rebut the other side. This is done be presenting additional testimony or evidence. Again, the prosecutor goes first, then you will have a chance to speak. After each side is done, closing arguments are made.
During closing arguments, each side will have the opportunity to tell the Court why they are right. The prosecution gets to speak first, then you will get to argue your case, followed by a final argument by the prosecution. The case is then submitted to the Court or jury for a determination as to guilt. If you are found not guilty, then you are free to go and the proceedings will end.
If you are found guilty, then you have the right to be sentenced in not less than two days nor more than forty-five days. In most cases, you may waive this right and receive your sentence immediately. The Court may order that you take a blood test or report for a pre?sentence evaluation. If the Court so orders, then you will be instructed to report to an agency. It is important that you follow the instructions given to you as your failure to comply with the Court's order may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. The following table shows the range of penalties which the Court may impose:
In addition to the base fine, the State requires those convicted of certain crimes to pay a surcharge of either 35% or 90% of the base fine depending on the crime as well as a possible $40 security surcharge. Also, the State imposes an additional $10 surcharge for moving violations. The Court Clerk can explain the base fine, surcharge and moving violation surcharge associated with any fine imposed by the Court. The maximum fine for a Class B misdemeanor including the surcharge is $1,950.
You may receive probation from the Court.
If the Court imposes probation, the Court will explain to you each of the terms and conditions of your probation.
YOU MUST FULLY COMPLY WITH EACH TERM AND CONDITION OF PROBATION.
Failure to do so can result in revocation of your probation and your incarceration in jail.