PROVO/OREM FIRST TIME OFFENDERS CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS
Have you been charged with your first Provo/Orem criminal offense? Having a clean criminal record matters and as a first time offender you really need an aggressive criminal defense to help keep your Utah criminal defense record clean.
Here is what you should know about being charged as a first time offender in Provo/Orem.
(1). Diversion Agreements. Diversion agreements can be by written information, or formally in writing under the government Utah Code provision. Diversion agreements are similar to Pleas in Abeyance in that if you successfully complete the probationary/diversion agreement period, the case will go away.
In Pleas in Abeyance, the probation period can be up to 18 months for Misdemeanor or up to 3 years for a Felony. In diversion agreements, you never plead guilty and often do not go to court ever, only that you agree to stay allegation, crime free during the diversion period. You cannot divert an agreement longer than two years.
You cannot divert the following crimes as of 2018.
(a) a capital felony;
(b) a felony in the first degree;
(c) any case involving a sexual offense against a victim who is under the age of 14;
(d) any motor vehicle related offense involving alcohol or drugs;
(e) any case involving using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony;
(f) driving a motor vehicle or commercial motor vehicle on a revoked or suspended license;
(g) any case involving operating a commercial motor vehicle in a negligent manner causing the death of another including the offenses of:
(i) manslaughter under Section 76-5-205; or
(ii) negligent homicide under Section 76-5-206; or
(h) a crime of domestic violence as defined in Section 77-36-1.
Surprisingly you can divert a limited number of sex offenses if the court finds the following:
When a person is alleged to have committed any violation of Title 76, Chapter 5, Part 4, Sexual Offenses, while under the age of 16, the court may enter a diversion in the matter if the court enters on the record its findings that:
(a) the offenses could have been adjudicated in juvenile court but for the delayed reporting or delayed filing of the information in district court, unless the offenses are before the court pursuant to Section 78A-6-701, 78A-6-702, or 78A-6-703;
(b) the person did not use coercion or force;
(c) there is no more than three years’ difference between the ages of the participants; and
(d) it would be in the best interest of the person to grant diversion.
Pleas in Abeyance statutory authority is found at Utah Code Ann. 77-2a-101 (2018). Diversion agreement authority is found at Utah Code Ann. 77-2-6 (2018). See this deeper article on Pleas in Abeyance HERE.
(2). Pleas in Abeyance. Utah Pleas in Abeyance as mentioned above can be given out for first time offenders, or on cases where the prosecution feels weak about their case. There are limitations to what can be taken under advisement. Provo/Orem pleas in abeyance can be taken on certain Felonies and Misdemeanors. Any failure to substantially comply with a plea in abeyance can cause the court to revoke the plea in abeyance and enter the plea as a conviction.
(3). Motion 402 Reductions. Rule 402 reduction motions reduce the severity of your criminal convictions by one or two grades. Rule 402 reductions can be by stipulation between the prosecution and the defense as part of your plea agreement, or can be litigated motions brought by the defense. One step 402 reduction motions can be granted by the judge over the prosecutor’s objection, whereas two step 402 reductions can only occur with consent of the prosecutor.
Guarantee a 402 reduction for a first time offender is a great way your Provo/Orem criminal defense attorney can advocate for you. One benefit of reducing the severity grade is that it shortens the waiting time requirements for getting an expungement of that conviction.
EXAMPLE 1: You are charged with a Provo District Court Class A Felony. As part of your plea agreement, your Provo/Orem criminal defense attorney obtains the written agreement from the prosecutor that they will stipulate to a one step Rule 402 reduction if you successfully complete the 18 month probation period effectively dropping the conviction from a Felony to a Misdemeanor. This one step reduction will shorten the required expungement waiting period from 7 years to 5 years.
EXAMPLE 2. Your Provo/Orem criminal defense attorney fought hard and obtained a plea agreement from a Third Degree Felony down to a Class B Misdemeanor. You then successfully completed the probationary terms ordered by the Provo District Court. Your Provo/Orem criminal defense attorney can then unilaterally bring a 402 reduction motion to further ask the judge to reduce the matter down to a Class C Misdemeanor. The expungement waiting period between a Class B Misdemeanor and a Class C Misdemeanor goes from 4 years to 3 years.
(4). Jury Trial. When you have a first time offender and a prosecutor who will not budge, you may need to take the case all the way. This will often force the prosecutor to reconsider their prior poor decisions not to offer a Plea in Abeyance. When you exert enough pain in time, resources and money, the prosecuting attorney who previously would not make a Plea in Abeyance offer may on the eve of trial.
FIRST TIME PROVO/OREM CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY.