Criminal Sentencing Process In Utah

The Sentencing Process

Non-Capital Cases

A person convicted of a crime has the right to be sentenced in no fewer than two and no more than 45 days after conviction. The defendant can waive that time frame and be sentenced on the day of conviction.

In felony cases, the judge often orders the Department of Corrections' Division of Adult Probation and Parole (AP&P) to prepare a pre-sentence report. This confidential report for the judge includes:

  • the police report;

  • the defendant's prior adult and juvenile record;

  • the defendant's statement;

  • drug and alcohol history;

  • family history;

  • probation history;

  • impact of the crime on the victim;

  • a sentencing recommendation for the judge's consideration.

Victims have the right to speak at the sentencing hearing. Their remarks considered along with the pre-sentence report and other evidence.

Capital Cases

A sentencing hearing is held at which defense counsel introduces evidence to show mitigating circumstances, and the state may introduce evidence to show aggravating circumstances. The jury or judge then deliberates to determine whether the person should be given the death penalty or a life sentence.


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