Speeding, dozens of other misdemeanor crimes to get dropped to infractions

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Did you you know you can do three months in jail for speeding?

Dozens of class C misdemeanor crimes will be dropped to infractions under a bill racing through the Utah State Legislature. Senate Bill 187, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, and House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, takes 41 crimes and removes the threat of jail time. Instead, people convicted of them would just pay a fine.

"It's likely to have the most impact probably of any piece of legislation we've seen up here this session, in terms of what actual people in Utah will feel," said Marina Lowe with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah.

The bill originally called for 180 class C misdemeanor crimes to become infractions. It's been watered down to 41.

"There were a lot of people who came to the Sentencing Commission when they found out 180 had been moved to be designated from misdemeanors to infractions and said, 'No, no, you can't do that,'" King told the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.

Here's the list of crimes set to become infractions under SB187:

crimes

"Saying to a tanning salon that you're 18 when you're not 18. That, I think, is something people would agree you should not be looking at jail time," Lowe said.

Ron Gordon with the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice said the biggest impact will be speeding tickets, reducing the Justice Court caseload by 180,000 misdemeanor cases per year. People wouldn't have to see a judge, could pay a fine and it may not appear on their criminal record.

The bill passed the House committee unanimously. It has already passed the Senate. If the full House approves it, SB187 goes to Governor Gary Herbert to become law.

3 comments

  • Anotherbob

    Many of these are good, but speeding a d not securing your load? These are things that can affect other people’s lives. I guess it depends on how fast they are going, but I’d be very upset if a family member was injured/killed due to a speeder who didn’t care because they wouldn’t see jail time.

    • Utah Red

      Let me get this straight. You want people to do jail time because what they are doing/did could, may, might possibly, injure or kill someone? I’m pretty sure there will still be laws on the books that say if you do something stupid and someone gets killed or injured because of it they’re going to get some jail time. Then, after that, you can sue them for the harm they caused by their stupidity. At least that way you aren’t putting people in jail for what MIGHT happen.

  • Utah Red

    Looking at the list I would suggest they re-visit the other 140 jail time infractions that they took out of the bill. It is little wonder that we have the largest prison population in the world when we can be sent to jail for lying to a tanning salon, building without a permit, modifying a car, removing a license plate, and on, and on. How is it that people still believe that we live in a free country?

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