Your Rights in Court


You will be asked to enter one of the three following pleas:

  • Not Guilty - This plea is a denial of guilt. If you enter this plea, your case will be set for a Pretrial Conference for a later date.
  • Guilty - This plea is an admission of guilt. If you enter this plea and are found guilty, you will be permitted to make a statement prior to sentencing. Unless the judge determines the violation requires a formal pre-sentence report, the sentencing will occur at the same time and day that you enter the guilty plea.
  • No Contest - This plea is not an admission of guilt, but it is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. This plea cannot be used against you in any other legal proceeding. If you enter this plea and are found guilty, you will be permitted to make a statement prior to sentencing. In most cases, sentencing will occur at the same time and day.

If you refuse to enter any of the above pleas, the Court will enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf, and your case will be set for trial.

Rights and Duties

Before accepting your plea, the Court must inform you that you have the following rights:

  • The right to know and understand the charge(s) against you and the maximum penalties for the charged offenses
  • The right to counsel
  • The right to be represented by counsel at all critical stages of these proceedings, even if you intend to plead Guilty
  • The right to a reasonable continuance to secure counsel
  • The right to have counsel assigned to you at no cost if you are indigent and if jail is a possible sentence. You will be given information on your court-appointed counsel and to complete an Affidavit of Indigency to assist the Court in determining your qualifications.
  • The right to a jury trial in any case where a jail sentence is possible. A Demand for Jury Trial must be in writing and filed with the Clerk
  • The right to waive a jury trial and have your case tried before a judge (Bench Trial). Failure to properly demand a jury trial will result in your case being tried before a judge
  • The right to remain silent and make no statement at any point in the proceeding. Any statements made may be used against you.
  • The right to confront the witnesses against you
  • The right to present witnesses and have the Court subpoena witnesses on your behalf
  • The right to reasonable bail
  • If you are convicted of a traffic violation, a record of the conviction will be sent to the Utah Driver License Division and will become a part of your driving record.
  • If you are not a citizen of the United States, you should be advised that a conviction may result in your deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States.

If you have any questions, you should ask the judge before you leave Court. You should never leave the Court without fully understanding the orders of the Court. If questions arise after you have left Court, you should call or write and ask your questions. You may ask to schedule a Review Hearing so that you can ask the judge in person. Be aware that the Court is required to give a copy of your letter to the prosecutor.