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HOW DO I SEARCH UTAH COURT RECORDS?

Utah court records are maintained by different bodies under the Utah judicial system. Official court records are kept in both paper and electronic formats for easy access. All court records are deemed public records of the state, which means anyone can inspect and copy them. Note, confidential court records that are sealed or expunged are not open to the public. Hence, citizens may request to view available Utah court records in any of these ways:

  • Visit the local courthouse and request to inspect the paper records
  • Visit the local courthouse, request to view the electronic copies of available court records
  • Visit the local courthouse to make use of the courthouse Public terminals
  • Remotely access electronic court records via the internet for courts that offer this service.
  • Utah Division of Archives and Records Service 346 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1106
  • Visit the Public terminal at the Utah State Law Library at 450 S. State Street

To determine the address of a local courthouse, use the Utah State Court directory available on the Utah Judicial website. Copying the available court records may incur a fee depending on the volume of a request.

HOW TO GET UTAH COURT RECORDS ONLINE FOR FREE

There are no free court records, however, as a service to the public, courts usually provide electronic case information of its records on its website. The different courts under the Utah Judicial System provide such electronic copies. However, users in need of official copies of court records need to visit the courthouse where the action was filed to request copies.

Utah District and Justice Courts case records are available on the XChange engine search provided on the Utah Courts website. XChange is a fee-based subscription service; this means for a user to search court records, a login is required. Utah appellate courts' records can be viewed via the Appellate Docket Search. This search tool allows users to input appellate docket number of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals case.

Court records are considered open to the public and are usually accessible through government sources, though they may also be accessed through third-party websites. These websites offer an easier method in most cases, as they are not limited by geographical area, or by limitations in search engine technology. They can often serve as a starting point when looking for a specific record, or multiple records. Interested parties must usually provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. This may not apply to records on juveniles.
  • The assumed or known location of the person listed in the record. This will most often be a city, county, or state.

Because they are not government-sponsored, record availability on third party websites may vary when compared to government sources.

HOW DOES THE UTAH COURT SYSTEM WORK?

The Utah court system is categorized into two levels; the appellate courts and the trial courts. The trial court system is made up of the District Court, Justice Court, And the Juvenile Court. The appellate court is made up of the Utah Supreme Court and Utah Court of Appeals.

The District Court is divided into eight judicial districts serving all 29 counties in the state of Utah. The District Court consists of 71 full-time judges, while the Justice Court consists of 81 judges, and the Juvenile Court consist of 31 judges. In the Court of Appeals, the judges elected are seven judges who sit in a three-man panel. The Supreme Court consists of five justices, which is headed by the chief justice.

Annually, the state trial court handles about 630,000 cases. About 800 of these decided cases of the District Court are appealed to Court of Appeals, while some 500 appeal cases are entertained at the Supreme Court.

HOW DOES THE UTAH DISTRICT COURT WORK?

The District Court is the state trial court of general jurisdiction. The District Court has the jurisdiction to handles the following types of cases:

  • Civil cases
  • Criminal felonies (homicide, assaults, sex and drug offenses, forgery, arson, robbery, and misdemeanors)
  • Domestic relations
  • Probate

The District Court handles appeals to review informal adjudicative proceedings from Administrative Agencies.  The 71 judges serving Utah District Courts are appointed to four-year terms. However, these judges may face the first retention election within three years of the appointment. Each of the eight judicial districts within the state serves at least three counties.

HOW DOES THE UTAH JUSTICE COURT WORK?

Justice Courts in Utah are created by counties and municipalities; hence the jurisdiction of these courts is defined within the ambits of the local government. Justice Court has jurisdiction to handle:

  • Class B and C misdemeanors
  • Violations of ordinances
  • Small claims
  • Infractions committed within their territorial jurisdiction.

Over eighty Justice Court judges are serving in the 115 County and Municipal Courts. 

Justice Court judges serving County Courts are appointed by the County Commission and stand for a retention election every six years. While the judges serving the Municipal Courts are appointed by the City Officials for a term of 6 years.

Appointed Justice Court judges who are not attorneys are required to go for extensive and continuing legal training. These judges must attend 30 hours of continuing judicial education each year to remain certified.

HOW DOES THE UTAH JUVENILE COURT WORK?

The Juvenile Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over youths under the age of 18 years who has violated any federal, state, municipal law, as well as, any child who is abused, neglected or dependent. It also has exclusive jurisdiction over traffic offenses committed by these youths such as:

  • Automobile homicide,
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving,
  • Joyriding.

It shares concurrent jurisdiction with the District Court and the Justice Court over adults contributing to delinquency and neglect of a minor. The Juvenile Court also administers a probation department. Utah Juvenile Courts are equal in status with the District Courts therefore all appeals from the Juvenile Court go straight to the Court of Appeals.

WHAT ARE UTAH'S APPELLATE COURTS?

The Supreme Court is the court of highest jurisdiction in Utah. The court's original jurisdiction covers cases of state law certification from federal courts and to issue extraordinary writs. It has appellate jurisdiction over first-degree and capital felony convictions from the District Court and civil judgment other than domestic cases. It also has jurisdiction over judgments of the Court of Appeals by writ of certiorari, proceedings of the judicial conduct commission, and both constitution an election question.

The Supreme Court consists of five justices, each elected to serve a term of 10 years which is renewable. One of the justices is elected by the rest to serve as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for four years while another is elected as an Associate Chief Justice to serve for two years.

As the highest court, the Supreme Court the duty to oversee operations all Utah courts and the practice of law in the state.The court also reviews formal administrative proceedings of the following state entities:

  • Public Service Commission,
  • Tax Commission,
  • School and Institutional Trust Lands Board of Trustees,
  • Board of Oil, Gas, and Mining,
  • the State Engineer.

The Utah Court of Appeals' jurisdiction is complementary to that of the Supreme Court. All appeals from the Juvenile and District Courts except the ones the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over are heard by the court. The Court of Appeals also reviews appeals of administrative proceedings by state agencies which include the Utah Industrial Commission and the Department of Employment Security Career Service Review Board. Also hear cases transferred to it by the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeals consists of seven judges elected to serve a renewable six-year term. The judge of the Court of Appeals elects the presiding judge in a majority vote every two years. The court sits in a rotating panel of three judges. The statute prohibits the court from sitting in full, that is all seven judges sitting on the panel. The court also designates three judges to sit on law and motion panel. This panel determines procedural and substantive motions and hears cases on one day per month.

The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals conducts sessions regularly in Salt Lake City, but the Courts may sit in other locations occasionally.

WHAT ARE UTAH'S DRUG COURTS?

Utah's Drug Courts were established to eliminate drug addiction as a long term solution to crime. The state has seen an estimated 700-800 participants statewide and hundreds of successful graduates. The Drug Courts handle matters such as treatment providers and participatory restriction, as well as what is provided for in the guidelines which establish structural components. Each of the eight districts in the state has a Drug Court.

HOW MANY CASES DOES THE UTAH COURT SYSTEM HANDLE ANNUALLY?

Over 630,000 cases are filed by litigants and attorneys in the Utah court system. For instance, in the fiscal year of 2018, the District Court of Utah recorded a total of 169,047 cases. This represents 43,775 criminal cases, 69,405 civil cases, 21,072 domestic cases, probate, property, torts, and traffic/parking cases. A total of 161,659 dispositions were issued in the year.

In that same year, Justice Court recorded a total of 439,358 filed cases. This figure represents 70,561 criminal cases, 25,943 small claims, and 342,854 traffic cases. A total of 443,797 dispositions were issued at the Justice court of Utah. The Juvenile Court in its stead also handled a total of 24,649.

The Supreme Court of Utah in its fiscal year of 2018 handled 563 appeal cases with a total of 212 dispositions made. At the Court of Appeal for that same fiscal year, a total of 836 appeal cases were handled and at the end of the fiscal year, a total of 890 dispositions were issued.

Utah Supreme Court Total Filings, Fiscal Years 2015 Through 2018

FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
Civil Appeals 304 249 249 219
Criminal Appeals 50 63 60 55
Interlocutory Appeals 81 86 74 102
Other 56 61 57 44
Writ of Certiorari 112 126 117 143
Total filings 603 585 557 563
Total Dispositions 231 220 202 212

Data provided by the Utah Judiciary

Utah Court of Appeals Total Filings, Fiscal Years 2015 Through 2018

FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
Administrative Agency 103 88 79 67
Civil Appeals 323 272 278 209
Criminal Appeals 274 277 275 215
Domestic Civil Appeals 69 93 55 77
Interlocutory Appeals 108 116 89 133
Juvenile Appeals 74 67 85 72
Other 69 33 39 63
Total Filings 1,020 946 900 836
Total Dispositions 889 846 844 890

Data provided by the Utah Judiciary

Utah District Courts Total Filings, Fiscal Years 2014 Through 2018

Criminal Domestic General Civil Probate Property rights Torts Traffic/parking Total
Total filings
FY2014 37,484 20,595 79,721 8,885 8,389 2,003 20,011 177,088
FY2015 39,639 20,701 79,604 9,208 8,200 21,225 1,973 180,550
FY2016 40,082 21,144 72,355 9,160 8,260 2,091 18,528 171,620
FY2017 42,111 20,870 68,232 9,891 8,135 1,900 15,308 166,537
FY2018 43,775 21,072 69,405 9,896 7,887 2,303 14,709 169,047
Disposition
FY2014 38,236 20,566 82,805 8,855 8,460 2,066 21,343 182,331
FY2015 38,102 20,377 84,068 9,303 7,930 21,768 1,935 183,483
FY2016 44,122 20,639 72,965 8,757 7,802 2,046 18,543 174,874
FY2017 44,334 20,958 73,513 9,045 8,222 2,072 18,648 176,792
FY2018 40,820 20,602 66,377 9,358 7,506 2,215 14,601 161,659

Data provided by Utah Judiciary

Utah Juvenile Courts Referrals Total Filings, Fiscal Years 2014 Through 2018

FY2014 FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
Felonies 1,843 1,662 1,580 1,572 1,924
Misdemeanors 15,677 14,908 12,775 12,517 12,938
Contempt 6,404 6,026 5,551 3,441 940
Infractions 799 791 790 804 554
Juvenile Status 4,396 4,197 3,323 3,103 1,467
Adult Offenses 1,338 1,399 1,404 1,390 1,512
Dependency-Neglect Abuse 3,478 3,602 3,394 3,541 3,431
Termination of Parental Rights 729 1,599 801 894 937
Domestic/Probate 744 823 816 817 946
Total 35,408 35,007 30,434 28,079 24,649

Data provided by Utah Judiciary

Utah Justice Courts Total Filings, Fiscal Years 2015 Through 2018

Criminal Small claims Traffic Total
Total filings
FY2015 72,835 27,400 359,387 459,622
FY2016 68,612 26,678 333,519 428,809
FY2017 68,273 28,820 331,743 428,836
FY2018 70,561 25,943 342,854 439,358
Dispositions
FY2015 78,074 37,022 384,401 499,497
FY2016 70,145 27,598 342,686 440,429
FY2017 67,142 28,658 336,515 432,315
FY2018 70,916 25,510 347,371 443,797

Data provided by Utah Judiciary

First names in Utah