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Overview of the Utah Court System

In Utah, cases are heard at the local level through the municipal courts and justice courts. Both courts handle misdemeanors, ordinance violations, small claims and other violations in their jurisdictions. Justice court judges can be a county judge or a municipal judge; they do not have to be attorneys, but they are nevertheless required to undergo extensive training each year.

Utah’s juvenile courts handle issues relating to youths under age 18 who violate a law; are truant, runaways or ungovernable; or are abused, neglected or dependent. These issues include custody, parental rights and probation matters, health care for special-needs children and traffic offenses. There are 29 juvenile judges.

Seventy-one judges serve at the district court level in eight judicial districts. District court tries civil cases, criminal felonies and some misdemeanors. These courts also handle domestic cases such as divorces, adoption, child custody and probate, and they serve as appellate courts for administrative agencies.

Seven justices serve on the Utah Court of Appeals, and a presiding judge is elected from among the seven. The Court of Appeals handles appeals from juvenile and district courts with the exception of the district court’s small claims division. The appellate court can hear cases referred to it by the Utah Supreme Court, and it also handles appeals from state agencies.

The Utah Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to hear cases of constitutional law, state law and election issues. It also handles appeals in capital felony and first-degree convictions from the district court and, with the exception of domestic cases, is the appellate court for civil judgments. The Supreme Court oversees the proceedings of the Judicial Conduct Commission. The five justices serve renewable 10-year terms; they elect a chief justice, who serves for four years, and an associate chief justice, who serves for two years.

Utah Attorneys and Lawyers

When faced with a legal issue, contacting an experienced attorney is always the best bet. At LawInfo you can search for a skilled, Lead Counsel Rated Utah attorney by location and by practice area. We have Utah attorneys who dedicate their practice to specific areas of the law, so you will not only find an attorney, but an attorney who is knowledgeable to help you with your particular legal issue.

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Utah Legal Forms

LawInfo offers free Utah legal forms and documents to help resolve many of your issues on your own. Whether you need a power of attorney or you want to complete your will, we have you covered. You can click on our most popular forms located in the right column of this page. A user account is required to use the service, but it’s completely free.

LawInfo's free Residential Lease Agreement limits your liability if you rent property. It clearly spells out the rights and responsibilities for the landlord and the tenant. In addition to listing details such as the rent amount, penalties if the rent is past due and security deposits, this document can include information about lights or noise restrictions and conditions for eviction.

A Last Will and Testament , also available from LawInfo, is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out regarding your possessions and property when you die. If you do not leave a will naming your beneficiaries, the state will determine how to distribute your assets.

A good way to be prepared for unexpected events is by preparing a Power of Attorney . This document authorizes someone to act on your behalf. Depending on the type of POA you choose, you can specify the circumstances under which it will become valid and for how long. A medical POA appoints someone to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated due to injury or illness. LawInfo offers POA documents free of charge for your convenience.

Starting a Utah Business

There are many factors to consider when starting a new business, and the information can sometimes seem overwhelming. The state governor’s office provides clear-cut information about creating a business plan and state requirements that you must meet. It also provides information on hiring and training and securing financial backing for your enterprise.

Utah Business Statistics

Utah’s unemployment rate is less than 5 percent, and the state is experiencing growth across a number of sectors, including information, leisure/hospitality, finance and education/health. Home to more than 247,000 small businesses, Utah is also home to the Huntsman Corp. (HUN), a Fortune 500 company. Almost 3 percent of Utah’s private-industry employment is through foreign investment. With its financial tax incentives, the state offers a favorable business climate for entrepreneurs.