The criminal code is a separate section found in the Utah Code Annotated (UCA) where criminal offenses and penalties for those offenses are set forth in writing. Generally, the Utah Criminal Code makes a distinction between crimes against persons and crimes involving a person’s property.
Crimes against persons are any criminal offenses that typically involve bodily injury, or the threat of bodily injury, or any other act committed against the person’s will. These crimes include, for example, assault, battery, rape, and domestic violence.
Crimes against property means any criminal offense involving damage to or theft of property. For example, stealing someone else’s money has almost always been considered a property crime. However, if that money is taken by force or threat of force against a person, it would be a crime against the person. Property crimes also include burglary, shoplifting, vehicle theft, and vandalism.
In Utah, the Criminal Code is organized by crime based on the severity of the offense. The most serious offenses are felonies.
Felonies are divided into four levels. In Utah’s criminal justice system, capital crimes carry the most severe penalties, ranging from life in prison, life without parole, or death.
Felonies are punishable by life imprisonment or death.
- First-degree crimes are punishable by five years to life imprisonment.
- Second-degree crimes are punishable by one to fifteen years in prison.
- Crimes of the third degree – from zero to five years.
- First- to third-degree crimes also carry mandatory fines.
Misdemeanors are the next category of criminal offenses, which are punishable by county jail and/or a fine. Many city and county ordinances, as well as some state laws, are misdemeanors. This includes intoxication offenses, simple assault, and most drug possession offenses. Misdemeanors are divided into three types:
- Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in prison.
- Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in prison.
- Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to ninety days in county jail. All misdemeanors also include the possibility of a monetary fine.
Misdemeanors are the lowest category of criminal offenses under the Criminal Code. These crimes are minor, punishable only by a fine of up to $750.00. You will not go to jail for violations. Examples of violations are violations of traffic rules in the city and some public order violations.