If you receive a citation for a traffic offense, the
citation will direct you to appear in court between five and 14 days after the
date the citation was given. (You must wait at least five business days so the court
will have information regarding your case. If you wait over 14 calendar days, you may be
subject to delinquent fees and a warrant for your arrest may be issued.) In most cases you may simply pay your bail
and the case will be closed if you do not wish to contest the citation. Mandatory court appearance is required for some
violations. If you wish to contest your citation, you must contact the court. While
you may simply appear at any court session, it is recommended that you call the
court ahead of time. You will be given a date by which you are to appear before
Your first appearance on a charge is called an
arraignment. You will be required to read a sheet advising you of your rights. You may also be required to watch an instructional video.
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. In most cases
involving a traffic citation incarceration will not be imposed and you will
not have the right to an appointed attorney.
When you appear before the judge, you will be asked to enter a plea 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.
If you plead guilty or no contest, you will next be
sentenced. See "Sentencing" below for further information regarding sentencing.
Utah Uniform Fine and Bail Schedule
How citations affect your driver's license
Utah Department of Motor Vehicles
Utah Driver's License Division