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GENERAL INFORMATION FOR CRIMINAL MATTERS
GENERAL INFORMATION FOR CRIMINAL MATTERS
"If you've been charged with committing a crime in Smithfield, the following information may help you through the criminal justice system. The 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 Judge nor the Clerk may provide legal advice to you.
Some crimes have been designated as non-mandatory appearance matters. If you are cited for crime for which your appearance in court is not mandatory, you may contact the Court to find out the amount of the bail for your offense(s). If you do not dispute the accusation, you may choose to simply pay the bail amount. You may pay by check or money order through the mail. If you would like to pay by cash, MasterCard or Visa credit card or you want to set up a payment schedule, you must come to court during regular business hours. If you do not post bail within fourteen days, a late fee will be assessed and a warrant for your arrest may be issued.
If you wish to dispute the accusation or if you are accused of a crime for your which appearance in court is mandatory, you must appear at the Court in not less than five (5) days and not more than fourteen (14) days after issuance of the citation. Open court is held Tuesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Additional information may be provided to you by the Clerk concerning your hearing or case. Usually, you will watch a short video explaining the court proceeding and your Constitutional Rights. You will be given a form to request that your case be called. READ and complete the form. Give it to the court clerk or bailiff when your number is called.
If the offense(s) with which you are charged require mandatory appearance and you fail to appear for arraignment a warrant for your arrest will be issued.
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 if you can be jailed if you care convicted of the crime(s) charged. If an attorney is not appointed, you may 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 are convicted. 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 for an Affidavit of Indigency. Complete the Affidavit of Indigency and submit it to the Bailiff or Court Clerk in the courtroom.
If you plead not guilty, your case will be set for a pretrial conference. If you plead guilty or no contest, you may be sentenced immediately or you can ask the court to delay sentencing for at least two days. If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be giving up important Constitutional rights.
Be sure that you fully understand the rights you will give up before you enter your plea
At the Pretrial Conference, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case with the prosecutor. You are not required to discuss your case with the prosecutor. However, it is an opportunity to tell your side of the events. 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 the 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. 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 present the case to the court. 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 can ask the court to delay your sentencing for at least two days. In most cases, you may waive this right and hear 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 85% of the base fine depending on the crime. Certain offense require that a $32 Court Security fee be imposed. The Court can explain the base fine, surcharge, Court Security fee and moving violation surcharge associated with any fine imposed by the Court. The maximum fine for any one offense heard in a justice court is $1,882.
You may receive probation from the Court. If the Court imposes probation, the Court will explain each of the terms and conditions of your probation to you .You must fully comply with each term and condition of probation.