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July 23, 2017

July 7, 2017

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How Do Judges In Utah Determine Punishment At Sentencing?

July 7, 2017

How a Sentence is Determined

The judge determines the sentence of a person convicted of a crime using the Utah Sentence and Release Guidelines. These are available on the Utah Sentencing Commission's website (sentencing.utah.gov).

The Guidelines also provide aggravating and mitigating factors which can be considered in sentencing:

 

Aggravating factors

Things that can make the punishment more severe, including:

  • whether the victim suffered substantial bodily injury;

  • whether the offense was extremely cruel or depraved;

  • whether the offender was in a position of authority over the victim;

  • whether the victim was unusually vulnerable..

A penalty can also be enhanced if:

  • the person committed the crime with two or more other people;

  • the person used a dangerous weapon on or near a school;

  • the person committed the crime in the presence of a child;

  • the person is determined to have committed a hate crime;

  • the person is determined to be a habitual offender;

  • the offense was committed while in prison.

Mitigating factors

Things that can make the punishment less severe, including:

  • whether the offender was exceptionally cooperative with law enforcement;

  • is a good candidate for treatment;

  • has developmental disabilities.

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