Criminal and Family Law

Criminal and Family Law

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What IS a Plea In Abeyance in Utah?

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A Plea in Abeyance (or PIA) is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor in a criminal case. It involves the defendant and prosecutor agreeing to specific terms that the defendant will complete in order to prevent the charges from going on their criminal record.

Once, the defendant and prosecutor have come up with an agreement, the judge holds the agreement in place until all the agreed upon terms are completed.

Typical PIA terms may include:Plea in Abeyance in courtroom showing judge box with gavel.

  • – Paying a fine
  • – Completing some kind of community service
  • – Taking classes relevant to your charges
  • – Completing an evaluation and/or a treatment relevant to your charges

A Plea in Abeyance’s terms is usually a combination of the two or three terms listed above. However, it is rarely just one of the terms.

The pleas for any given charge will also vary person-to-person and county-to-county. An  PIA agreement for  someone in one county may differ from the agreement given to someone in another county. However, many PIAs are held for at least 6 to 12 months.


Is a PIA a conviction?


No. A PIA does not go on your record like a flat-out guilty plea does. It allows the judge to dismiss your charges once you’ve completed your end of the agreement.

Getting a Plea in Abeyance is similar to getting a speeding ticket and then going to traffic school in order to keep the ticket from going on your driving record.


Can I expunge a PIA?


Yes. Read our information about expungements here.

Click here, to read the official definition of a Plea in Abeyance in Utah.

This kind of plea deal is one of the most ideal outcomes other than a case dismissal. Hiring an attorney is the best way to go if you want to get a deal like a Plea in Abeyance.

Call us today (801) 990-4200

Medical Marijuana in Utah

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Utah Legislature passed the Utah Medical Cannabis Act in December 2018. This allows medical providers to recommend medical marijuana to qualifying patients. Intermountain Legal has created a quick reference sheet, patient checklist and FAQ’s to help medical cannabis patients in Utah know what they can currently do to comply with the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.

Utah Medical Marijuana Cannabis Act Information and Questions by Intermountain LegalAdditionally, in collaboration with Utah Patients Coalition, we have created a brief legal analysis and letter you can download and take to your medical provider.

Our Utah medical marijuana/cannabis resources (PDFs available):


Related: Utah medical marijuana news articles featuring Intermountain Legal attorney(s):

What people are saying about our scholarship

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Intermountain Legal’s new “Casualties of Justice” scholarship was highlighted in Utah Public Radio (UPR)’s recent article, Accused Of A Crime: A Qualification For A New Utah Scholarship.

UPR wrote, “A new scholarship is being offered to students at Utah universities through a law-firm in Salt Lake. What makes this scholarship unique? You have to be accused of or found guilty of a crime to qualify…. ‘I can’t think of any other scholarship where a qualification is that you’ve been accused of a crime,’ said Steve Burton, a criminal defense attorney and an owner at Intermountain Legal…. Burton said Intermountain Legal started the $1,500 scholarship, titled “Casualties of Justice,” to help the new victims the justice system might create – the actual perpetrators of the crime…”  Read full article here.

Attorneys from Intermountain Legal. Steven Burton, Justin Pratt and Milda Shibonis.

Utah Scholarship for accused people victimized by the criminal justice system

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We all know that people are falsely accused of crimes every day in America.  Yet, when we see or hear a news story about someone who has “allegedly” committed a crime, most of us assume that the person is guilty. Then, we cry out for justice even before we’ve heard the other side of the story.

A New Victim

It is human nature to want to bring justice to victims. But when the criminal justice system gets it wrong, the opposite happens. The law creates a new victim, the innocent person who was falsely accused or convicted, or even a guilty person who is punished too severely.  Sometimes the system also re-victimizes the original victims by pursuing cases that victims want dropped, or by using their statements without their consent.  The recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings remind us that people’s judgements are influenced as much by personal beliefs as they are by evidence.  This is exactly why it is so important to uphold the presumption of innocence when people are accused of crimes and are facing a loss of their freedom.

How Can We Help

Intermountain Legal has represented both criminal defendants and victims of crime and has seen how the system often falls short or goes too far, unintentionally creating more harm than good.  Because of this, our firm has created the “Casualties of Justice” scholarship to benefit those who have been harmed by the criminal justice system itself.  Intermountain Legal will award $1,500 to someone who has been accused of, arrested for, or convicted of a crime and suffered unjust consequences because of a failure of the system or because of an unfair law. Students who have had a close family member in the same situation also qualify.

How to Apply

To be considered for the scholarship, any student currently enrolled or accepted to any State-sponsored or private (not-for-profit) college or university in Utah can submit a short video or essay explaining their or their family member’s negative experience with the criminal justice system and how the system should be improved.  The submission deadline is December 1, 2018.

To apply, visit intermountainlegal.net and click the “Apply Now” button.

Utah law firm scholarship for the accused.