When is a Utah criminal sentence excessive?

It is somewhat uncommon for a criminal defendant in Utah to receive the maximum sentence for a crime.

Many crimes have the potential to carry lengthy sentences, but defendants routinely receive smaller sentences as a result of plea bargains and judicial discretion.

When multiple crimes are involved, it is possible for sentences to run at the same time (concurrently) or after each other (consecutively.) This means that it is possible for a defendant to spend a total of five years in prison for three five-year convictions, or a total of 15 years in prison for the same convictions.

In determining whether to sentence a defendant to consecutive or concurrent terms, a judge will consider multiple factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the crime.
  • The number of victims involved.
  • The criminal history of a defendant.
  • A defendant’s character and need to rehabilitation.

A trial court’s sentence can be reversed on appeal if a defendant shows that the trial court judge failed to consider all legally relevant factors in imposing a sentence or if the sentence is “clearly excessive.”

It is difficult to prove that a sentence is “clearly excessive” because this means that no reasonable person would have adopted the view of the trail court.

The Salt Lake City criminal defense team at Greg Smith & Associates handles criminal cases, including appeals, throughout Utah. If you or a loved one is under investigation or has been charged with a crime, call us at 801-651-1512 or contact us online.

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