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Richard G. Uday, Attorney at Law Licensed to practice in the State of Utah
Richard G. Uday, Attorney at Law

The Answer To Your
Criminal Law Issues

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Why Hire Uday Law?

Criminal Procedure for Felony Cases

(and class A misdemeanors)

1. Initial Appearance

When first arrested on a felony or a class A misdemeanor in Utah, the first hearing is often referred to as an arraignment but more precisely is called what it is, "an initial appearance." The Initial Appearance is normally scheduled within a few days or weeks of formal charges being filed. At the Initial Appearance, two things occur, (1) the judge will address your personal information and your custodial status, and (2) whether you have counsel or are seeking to be appointed a public defender. The purpose of the Initial Appearance is to provide the Defendant and his or her attorney with a copy of the Information or formal charging document and advise the defendant of the charges that have been filed against him or her. Uday Law prefers to get involved prior to this initial appearance, but often joins the case after that appearance has been held. If the accused is in custody, then scheduling a bail hearing may be the most important thing that can occur at this first hearing. If no bail hearing is required then the judge will set the next court date for, depending on the jurisdiction, what is called Roll Call Hearing or a Waiver Hearing.

2. Roll Call or Waiver Hearing

The purpose of the Roll Call or Waiver Hearing is for the defendant to advise the judge as to whether he wishes to have a preliminary hearing. This hearing is really what amounts to a scheduling conference. Some cases have more than one roll call. The Roll Call also provides an opportunity for the defense attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor to see if a plea agreement can be made. If a plea agreement is reached, the defendant will waive his right to a preliminary hearing. If a plea agreement is not reached, the court will set a date for a preliminary hearing, if the defendant desires one.

3. Preliminary Hearing

The preliminary hearing is often referred to as a probable cause hearing. At a preliminary hearing, the rules of evidence are relaxed and reliable hearsay evidence is admissible. At the preliminary hearing, the prosecutor must present enough evidence to establish that probable cause exists to believe that a crime was committed and that the defendant was the person who committed the crime. The accused has the right to testify at the preliminary hearing, but typically his testimony is not advantageous at this hearing. Listening to the evidence the prosecutor produces, the judge determines whether probable cause exists. If the judge finds that probable cause exists, the case will be bound over for trial.

The preliminary hearing also allows the defense attorney to not only a review of the prosecution's case but also permits an opportunity to cross-examine some of the witnesses supporting the prosecution's case. Uday Law prefers to be on board well before this hearing as adequate time to prepare may provide dividends to defending the charges against you.

4. Arraignment

After a case has been bound over from the Preliminary Hearing, an Arraignment is scheduled. At this hearing, the defendant is required to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. This hearing is usually set before the judge you will have for the remainder of the proceedings. If you enter a plea of guilty, the case will be scheduled for sentencing. If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for a Pre-trial or Scheduling Conference.

5. Pre-trial/Scheduling Conference

At the Pre-trial Conference, your attorney can discuss your case with the prosecutor and can again attempt to negotiate a reasonable plea agreement. If you are unable to reach a plea agreement, the pre-trial conference can be used to schedule further hearings in your case or a trial date.

6. Motion/Suppression Hearing

When appropriate an attorney may be able to file Motions to Suppress asking the court to suppress some or all of the evidence from being introduced in the case against the accused. If such a Motion is granted, a case can be dismissed or seriously weakened. There may be multiple motions that can be filed, depending on the facts of your case.

7. Trial

If you are unable or unwilling to negotiate a satisfactory plea agreement and your case is not resolved by a Motion to Suppress, you have the right to have your case tried before a judge (bench trial) or a jury (jury trial). The size of the jury is determined by the most serious charge filed against you in your case. At the trial the prosecution will be required to present witnesses and evidence that support the charges against the defendant. At trial the prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to convict, all members of the jury must agree to find the defendant guilty; this is called a unanimous verdict.

8. Sentencing

If you are convicted or enter a plea of guilty pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant has the right to be sentenced in no less than two (2) but no more than forty-five (45) days. The defendant has the right to waive time for sentencing and be sentenced immediately if he or she chooses. In some cases, a judge will require the defendant to meet with a probation officer prior to sentencing to get a pre-sentence report. The pre-sentence report is a recommendation by the probation department for what type of sentence is appropriate for the defendant. At sentencing, the court will hear recommendations from the probation department, the prosecutor, and from the defendant and his attorney. None of these recommendations are binding on the court, and the judge makes the final determination as to the sentence to be imposed.

9. Appeal

If you are found guilty, you have the right to appeal your conviction. There are many different reasons for filing an appeal, and it is important that you have an experienced attorney review your case and determine which grounds for appeal will have the greatest likelihood of success. You may be able to appeal the denial of a Motion to Suppress or an error at trial. In some cases, a successful appeal will result in a dismissal of the case; in others, it may result in a new trial. Regardless of the basis of appeal, a written Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of the conviction and/or sentencing. Along with the Notice of Appeal, a Petition for a Certificate of Probable Cause can be filed asking the court to stay the imposition of the sentence that was imposed until the appeal has been decided.

10. Post Conviction Motions

After sentencing (and at times prior to sentencing) motions may be directed to the court to request a new trial or to arrest judgment. Again, experienced counsel can assist in explaining these opportunities to you.

Uday Law Office

Trolley Corners Center
515 South 700 East, Suite 3-E
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102

p: 801.579.0600
f: 801.579.0606

Free Consultation