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Terms of felony conviction set by child custody ruling

When a defendant is convicted of a crime, the consequences often affect other people as well. In fact, entire families can be impacted by the physical separation and emotional trauma that may accompany the loss of a parent and/or caregiver to a prison sentence. That’s why attorneys and judges in both the Utah family law and criminal court systems have been known to collaborate on issues like sentencing to help ensure child custody arrangements are addressed in the most appropriate way possible.

One recent case illustrates the efforts that can be taken to account for the best interests of the child in the event one parent faces a felony conviction. The defendant in the case is a mother of two who is currently sentenced to home confinement until a family court judge rules on whether or not she is fit to have primary custody of her children. That decision is a crucial one because it may ultimately dictate if the woman is sentenced to a year in prison for a felony crime she’s convicted of.

As part of her criminal case, a plea agreement was made between the prosecution and the woman’s defense in favor of sentencing her to two years of probation instead of any time in prison. Both sides favor this sentencing option because of the child custody issue. As a result, the judge in the case has decided to postpone sentencing the defendant until her custody case is resolved.

The judge presiding over the defendant’s felony conviction is waiting for the family court judge’s ruling to see if the woman is deemed fit to care for her children. If she loses custody of the kids, the woman will likely be sentenced to one year in prison followed by one year of probation for possessing child pornography.  


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