Benefit of Appealing Utah Criminal Case from Justice to District Court

Penalty Cannot Be More Severe On Appeal to District Court

One of the benefits of appealing your Utah criminal case from a justice to a district court is that the district court cannot impose a harsher sentence that was imposed by the justice court.

This rule is set out very specifically in both statutory and case law.

As discussed in Taylorsville City vs. Atkins, 145 P.3d 1161, 1165 (Ut. App. 2006): ”

“a defendant cannot be punished more harshly by a district court after a trial de novo than he was in the justice court proceedings.” The court further explained that “a person’s decision to avail himself of the right to appeal guaranteed under art. VIII, sec. 9 of the Utah Constitution may not be impaired by making it conditional on taking the risk of a harsher sentence after the second trial. Plaintiffs are guaranteed the right to appeal from the justice court to the district court pursuant to art. VIII, sec. 9 of the Utah Constitution. They should not be required to take the risk of a longer jail sentence in order to exercise that right.”

The Utah Legislature has codified this rule in the following statute:

§ 76-3-405. Limitation on sentence where conviction or prior sentence set aside

(1) Where a conviction or sentence has been set aside on direct review or on collateral attack, the court shall not impose a new sentence for the same offense or for a different offense based on the same conduct which is more severe than the prior sentence less the portion of the prior sentence previously satisfied.

(2) This section does not apply when:

(a) the increased sentence is based on facts which were not known to the court at the time of the original sentence, and the court affirmatively places on the record the facts which provide the basis for the increased sentence; or

(b) a defendant enters into a plea agreement with the prosecution and later successfully moves to invalidate his conviction, in which case the defendant and the prosecution stand in the same position as though the plea bargain, conviction, and sentence had never occurred.

SLF Will Take Care of Your Appeal to District Court

If you were sentenced in a Justice Court and feel that your sentence was too harsh or extreme.  Call the Criminal Defense at Salcido Law Firm PLLC for help.  We can get your appeal on file in a matter of minutes.  Call us anytime at 801.413.1753.