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How Do I Find Utah Traffic Court Records?
Utah State traffic court records refer to the legal documentation, case files, and evidence notes generated during the legal proceedings for a traffic violation or offense. They include records involving the hearing of moving & non-moving violations, under the motor vehicle code of the State of Utah.
Are Utah Traffic Court Records Public Records?
Utah traffic courts are considered courts of public record and as such all records created are deemed public records. Under the public access to information law, records may be viewed by members of the public. Only records that have been closed off by a court order or law are exempt from this.
Which Courts in Utah have jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?
In Utah, traffic offenses are heard in Justice Court. Justice courts are established by counties and municipalities and deal with Class B and C misdemeanors, violations of ordinances and infractions which occur within their jurisdiction.
How Do I Find Utah Traffic Court Records?
Utah traffic records can be found on the Utah Court’s website or the website of the requisite county court. To obtain physical access to these records, the requesting party will need to visit the custodian of the required records, usually the Clerk of the Court where the records are stored and file an application. Obtaining copies of records usually requires paying a fee.
Additionally, publicly available records may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
What information is required to obtain Utah Traffic Court Records?
Interested applicants for Utah traffic records will need to provide relevant information about the record being requested to receive the record. Information will include details such as full name and case number for the requested record. Interested persons will need to provide a state-approved valid ID, which will be verified, before taking possession of the records. Any accruable fee required to facilitate this process must also be paid.
Are all Traffic Violations handled the same way in Utah?
Utah traffic violations and infractions are generally handled in the same manner, regardless of the violation, you receive the ticket for. Fines and charges will differ by violation and may differ by county, but the processes for responding to the citation will be mostly the same.
Can Utah Traffic Records be sealed or expunged?
In Utah, misdemeanor convictions and infractions are eligible for expungement and traffic offenses fall under these designations. There is a waiting period of 10 years- for misdemeanors under the traffic code- and 3 years-for Class C misdemeanors and infractions- before you can petition to have your records expunged. Also, you will need to obtain a certificate of eligibility from the Utah bureau of criminal identification before petitioning. You must file the petition in the court where your case was decided or the district court of the county where you were cited if there was no case against you.
How does one end up in a Utah Traffic court?
You end up in a Utah traffic court if you are cited for a traffic violation by a law enforcement offer and:
- The offense you are cited for requires a mandatory court appearance to resolve.
- You wish to dispute the ticket and fight the charges.
You will need to appear in court to perform either action.
Getting a Traffic Ticket in Utah
A Utah Uniform Citation, or traffic ticket, is a long-form document issued for violations of the motor vehicle code of the state of Utah. It is issued by an officer of the Utah highway patrol, county sheriff departments, and municipal police departments. It is a sworn statement representing the officer’s observation of the incident. The officer will fill out the form and it will list the defendant’s name, current address, date of birth and other bio-data (height, weight, sex, race, etc.). The defendant’s license information and the vehicle particulars are also listed on the ticket. The statute the defendant is accused of violating, with section code, will be indicated on the ticket along with the offense and the date, time and location of the violation. The officer may also include pertinent details, such as the speed the defendant was traveling at (if it is a speeding violation) and the approved limit.
The officer must include his name, ID number, signature and date (of issuance) on the ticket. The court which will hear the case will be listed, along with a location as well as the deadline (date and time) by which the defendant must take action. This is usually 5–14 days after receiving the ticket. The defendant is required to sign the citation, before receiving his copy, as a promise to appear to respond to the charge or risks being arrested if they refuse. The ticket will indicate if the offense carries a mandatory court appearance or not.
A Traffic offense, in Utah, can be either an infraction or a Class C misdemeanor. An infraction carries no jail time and a maximum fine of $750, while a Class C misdemeanor carries jail time up to 90 days and a maximum fine of $750. Ticket fines are determined by a state-issued fine schedule which establishes a minimum base from which judges should start when deciding fines and other charges. Consequently, fines tend to vary from county to county for similar violations.
Utah traffic tickets come with driving record points if the defendant is convicted. Utah enlists a points-based system and accruing too many points will result in a license suspension. Following convictions, traffic violations are reported to the Utah Driver’s License Division (DLD). Adults (persons over 21) who accrue 200 points with 3 years will be asked to appear for a hearing, which could lead to probation, the person being asked to take a drivers’ course or a license suspension. Individuals under 21 who accrue 70 points are also subject to this. Points for moving violations and suspensions stay on your record for 3 years.
Generally, traffic violations are differentiated into Moving and Non-Moving Violations. Non-moving violations tend to occur while the vehicle is not in motion such as faulty vehicle equipment, but can also occur in moving vehicles, such as a seat belt child restraint violation. These types of violations are not reported to the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), so they will not accrue points on your record. Moving violations refer to infractions and misdemeanors committed while the car is moving, and these will be reported to the Utah DLD and end up on your record.
What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in Utah?
In Utah, when you get a traffic ticket, you are required to respond and take action on the ticket within 14 days of receiving the citation. Your course of action will depend on whether you choose to:
- Pay the traffic ticket
- Dispute the Ticket
Opting to pay a Utah traffic ticket will be seen as an admission of guilt and recorded as a conviction. If the offense does not require a court appearance (mostly for minor infractions), you can pay the ticket
§ Online- Use the Utah Courts e-Payment service portal. You will need the citation number on the ticket. Some courts have online payment portals on their websites. You will need to input your citation number and other required information on the portal and it will bring up your ticket and follow the payment instructions. If your ticket is unavailable, you may need to contact your assigned court.
§ By Mail- You can mail a money order for the fine, along with a copy of the ticket to the court indicated on the citation.
§ In-Person- You can appear in person at the assigned court to pay your ticket.
However you choose to pay for the ticket, you must do so before the deadline (court date) indicated on your ticket. If you require any more information regarding how to pay the ticket, you can contact the court listed on the ticket.
If you are required to make a court appearance, then you must appear on your court date to enter your plea, after which you will be evaluated for the fines and other charges and penalties accruable. A conviction will be reported to the Utah DLD and will result in points being assessed on your driving record.
You might be eligible to enter a “Plea in Abeyance”, which is essentially a guilty plea, but will be held by the court for a specified amount of time (6–12 months) during which it will not be reported to the Utah DLD as a conviction. If you complete the terms of the agreement, the charges will be dropped and the ticket will be dismissed.
Opting to dispute the charges means you must appear by your court date and enter a plea of “Not Guilty”. You will be assigned a date for a Pre-Trial conference where you meet with a prosecutor and attempt to reach an acceptable agreement (plea bargain) which will negate the need for a trial. If you are unable to reach an agreement, then a trial date will be set. At the trial, the judge will hear arguments from both sides and, on the conclusion of the trial, reach a verdict. If you are convicted on the charges, the judge will administer your sentence which can include fines, surcharges and even jail time (depending on the offense). You will also be assessed points on your driving record. If acquitted, all charges will be dropped and fines and penalties will be dismissed, including demerit points on your license. You might still be liable for court costs.
Failure to pay the fine or contest the ticket in court, by the deadline indicated on the ticket will result in increases in fines in the form of surcharges and the possibility of a license suspension and a warrant being issued for your arrest. If you are unable to make any of your court dates, ensure to inform the court and reschedule the date.