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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 34506
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
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My wife has been charged with a class c misdemeanor in the

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My wife has been charged with a class c misdemeanor in the state of Utah for animal cruelty. She left our dog in the car for 30 min at 7pm and someone called the police. What is likely to happen to her?
Thanks for the chance to assist on this matter. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience in criminal law.

A class c misdemeanor is the lowest possible level of criminal charge in Utah.

The maximum punishment is 90 days in jail and a fine of $750.

That is the max punishment. That would only happen if she had an extensive criminal record and the dog died.

More likely? IF she does not have a criminal record? She will be forced to pay a fine.

I doubt they even give probation, much less jail time.

This is what the law states

Except as provided in Subsection (4) or (6), a person is guilty of cruelty to an animal if the person, without legal privilege to do so, intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:
(a) fails to provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal in the person's custody;

Frankly, if the animal was not harmed? It may be she can fight the case and win. IF she can show that the animal was not in danger and did not suffer? It is not a crime.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She has no criminal record of any kind as is supper anxious about the whole thing. We go to court tomorrow and understand that we will likely pay a fine. Should we bother fighting it at this point other then apologizing profusely and stating that we felt the dog was not in danger because the sun was going down and the windows were all cracked.


When you show up tomorrow (or sometime before she appears) the prosecutor will give her the "offer"

90++ percent of all cases plea out pursuant to a plea agreement deal. They will likely offer to let her plea for a fine. If she refuses she can set a date to fight it in court. If she looses, it could be she faces a larger fine or perhaps the stakes go up a bit.

But not so much

Really her call...this is a really minor matter (in terms of criminal law). I understand it is stressful. And again, what you describe, if she wants to fight this she can...they (the state) must prove she put the dog in danger...what you describe I do not see I think you have a case to fight it.

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