When you are charged with a crime, you may receive a citation or you may be arrested. If requested, the prosecution must file formal Information against you. If you are arrested, you may be released on bail. In either case, you must appear in court within 14 days of receiving the citation/information or of being arrested.

Your first appearance on a charge is called an arraignment. When you arrive at the court you will be required to read a document advising you of your rights; you may also be asked to watch an instructional video further explaining your rights.

You may have an attorney with you, but it is not required. The court may appoint an attorney for you if you meet certain income guidelines, but only if jail time is a real possibility if you are convicted of the charge(s).

When you appear before the judge, you will be asked to “plead” to the charge(s) against you. You may plead “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.” A “no contest” plea has the same procedural effect as a guilty plea, but rather than admitting guilt, the defendant admits that the prosecutor would likely prevail at trial. It is up to the judge whether or not he will accept a no contest plea.

You will be sentenced if you plead guilty or no contest. You have the option to delay sentencing for at least two days. See the below heading for further information regarding sentencing.

Pleading Not Guilty


Additional information:

Information about the criminal case process
Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure