Utah’s Habitual Violent Offender Law

In Utah, a person who is considered a habitual violent offender can be found guilty of a crime and be penalized as if the crime were greater than what would normally be charged.

Who May be a Habitual Violent Offender?

Under Utah law, a habitual violent offender is someone who has been convicted of a violent felony within Utah and who has been previously convicted of at least two violent felonies in the state. That individual also must have been sentenced to a Utah or other United States prison.

What is Considered a Violent Felony?

A violent felony is committing, attempting to commit, soliciting or conspiring to commit any one of a number of felonies. Some of the felonies include:

• Aggravated arson
• Stalking
• Child abuse
• Kidnapping
• Rape
• Robbery
• Theft by extortion
• Witness tampering

There is a much more extensive list of potential violent felonies in the Utah Code.

When a person is convicted of a violent felony and the judge or jury (depending on the case) finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is habitual violent offender, the penalties are as follows:

• A third-degree or second degree felony is treated as if it were a first-degree felony
• A first-degree felony stays the same, except:
• The person is not eligible for parole and
• The Board of Pardons and Parole has to take into consideration the fact that the person is a habitual violent offender when they consider how long he’ll spend in prison

This section of the Code does not apply to situations where a person would receive a lesser penalty if this section is used as opposed to the normal law he would be charged under.

Don’t Wait to Hire a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are being charged as a habitual violent offender, you need immediate legal representation. Contact a top Utah criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will make sure that your case is handled with discretion and dignity.

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