Being accused of a felony in Utah is bad news, as felonies are the most serious of crimes and carry harsh, maximum penalties of at least one year in prison. If you’ve been accused of a felony, make sure that you hire a good attorney, as your life and the lives of whom you care about will truly depend on one.
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Felonies are broken down into four levels or degrees. A third degree felony (the lowest level of felony) is punishable of up to 5 years in prison and may include up to a $5,000 fine. A few examples of these crimes include burglary, producing or distributing marijuana or spice, aggravated assault and theft of more than $1,000 but less than $5,000.
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Second degree felonies are crimes which include residential burglary, kidnapping of an adult, theft of property worth $5,000 or more, child abuse, auto theft, manslaughter and arson. Second degree felonies carry a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
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Examples of first degree felonies are rape, murder, child kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, setting off a nuclear device and distributing drugs in a school area. First degree felonies are punishable of up to life in prison. Aggravated murder is a capital offense, the highest degree of felony in the state of Utah, and its penalties are life in prison, life without parole and death.
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Utah prisons are overpopulated, and too many people are serving sentences much too severe for their crime. There are also numerous, innocent people that have been falsely accused and now lie hopelessly in a prison cell. If you’ve been charged with a felony, don’t wait for just any lawyer to call you. Be proactive and hire an attorney who has a proven track record in criminal defense. Once again, your life depends on it.