Waiver of counsel, 2014

A juvenile may waive his or her right to counsel as long as it knowing and voluntary. Juveniles under 14 cannot waive this right outside of the presence of his or her parent, guardian, or custodian.

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    Under 14

  • Crime

    No restrictions

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    No restrictions

Timing of counsel, 2013

In Utah, an attorney for a juvenile can be appointed at the following points in the process: Custodial Questioning / Talk with Intake Officer; Detention Hearing / First Court Appearance / Arraignment; Once a Petition is Filed / Hearing on the Petition; All Stages of Proceedings / All Critical States of Proceedings.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Organized at the local level (county/judicial district)

(Additional detail concerning the organization and administration of juvenile defense is available in a state profile from the National Juvenile Defender Center.)

Indigency is not determined legislatively

In Utah, this topic is governed by both juvenile statutes and juvenile court rules. State statute provides procedures to determine indigency. Indigency is judicially determined. Court can / must appoint attorney for juvenile if non-indigent parent refuses to pay for juvenile's attorney.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by legislature

Utah statute UT ST § 78A-6-122 requires that a juvenile may not be restrained during a court proceeding unless authorized by the rules of the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council Rule 4-905  states that a minor present in a juvenile courtroom shall not be restrained unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that restraints are necessary:

  1. to prevent physical harm to self/third party;
  2. presents a flight risk;
  3. is currently in jail/prison or a secure facility;
  4. the seriousness of the charged offense warrants restraints;
  5. (an) other good cause.

Any person with an interest in the case may move the court to restrain the minor during court; and every person with direct interest in the case has the right to be heard (to contest). If the court orders restraints, the matter must be reconsidered at each future hearing. Ex parte communications are ‘not prohibited’, but the judge/commissioner must notify all other parties ASAP and provide an opportunity to respond. 

Sex offender registration, 2015


Competency, 2015

In Utah, the Juvenile Code (of statutes) has a sub-part devoted to juvenile competency. Delinquency proceedings must be stayed while the evaluation is pending. Formal evaluations must be conducted by a mental health examiner with experience in juvenile forensic evaluations, juvenile brain development, intellectual disability (if indicated), and not otherwise involved in the child’s current treatment. If the judge finds the juvenile is “not competent to proceed” (due to a mental disorder, intellectual disability, or related condition) and may attain competency, the Department of Human Services is required to develop a plan of treatment, which is reviewed by the court. If competency is not achieved within one year, the delinquency petition is dismissed without prejudice.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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