Category Archives: Criminal Law

White Collar Crime Attorney

White Collar Crime Attorney

White-collar crime is criminal acts that are financially motivated, nonviolent crime and is committed by business and government professionals. First coined in 1939 as a crime committed by a person or persons of respectability and social status white-collar crimes typically include the types of crimes described. White collar defense lawyers are very busy these days. The proliferation of computer and cyber crimes has led to changes in the structure of justice departments. Increased paranoia has led to sweeping arrests, and the changes in the law in regards to the penalties for this type of crime have become exponentially more severe. The need for criminal attorneys who focus on white collar cases is in high demand especially those who have experience defending them on a federal level. Individuals who have been accused with a financial crime, such as fraud in a business or government setting need to hire a competent criminal defense attorney to counter the resolve and resources of the Utah government.

Consequences of white collar crime

Clients can lose their reputation and even their freedom as a result of these crimes because the penalties include fines, restitution, loss of personal property, or a long prison sentence. With many financial crimes, the prosecutor typically seeks enhanced penalties, which will prevent you from obtaining future employment. White collar crime is the terminology used to describe those crimes perpetrated (mostly) in the office or “white collar” environment. Non-violent in nature, they tend to be treated differently by the courts. On one hand the white collar defendant is not accused of doing physical harm in the perpetration of the crime, and therefore when it comes to determining the sentence for such crimes the courts are less likely to put white collar criminals in the same “classification” as those that have committed acts of violence. On the other hand, white collar crimes account for $200 billion in loss each year, a number far higher than that of more “traditional” crimes like burglary or theft. This fact prompts greater scrutiny from law enforcement and justice officials. When you have been accused of a white collar crime such as embezzlement or computer fraud you must respond immediately by hiring an experienced white collar crime lawyer who understands all of the complicated issues, legal and factual, that surround the prosecution of a white collar case.

White Collar Crime Punishment: Prison Sentences and Other Penalties
In many cases, white collar crimes are either category B or Category C felonies. Getting convicted of a white-collar crime can get a person imprisoned from one to twenty years and a fine of up to $100,000. The fine does not include other costs such as restitution, criminal attorneys’ fees and the costs to repair the credit history or ratings that may be destroyed if an individual is charged with identity theft. There is a common misperception that people accused of white-collar crime get light sentences. A felony conviction will stay on your record for a long time and make it difficult to get the desired employment or even a home in Utah. If you are accused of white-collar crimes, you need to make sure to take the charges seriously. You need to be pro-active and hire the best defense team for your criminal case. Any criminal defense attorney worth his or her salt has to be as well-educated in the “how” of crimes like hacking or computer fraud. He or she must be able to understand the mechanics, to know what is necessary in order to defend their client to the fullest. White collar crime lawyer should be as familiar with hacking terms as any member of Anonymous. He or she must be fluent in “cyber-speak” and the methods used by prosecutors at the Department of Justice to translate this to a jury. A white collar defense begins with understanding the offense. An attorney has to be ready for what’s coming at them and that includes anticipating the items that the federal white collar attorneys will have waiting for you during disclosure.

Embezzlement, Bribery, and Bank Fraud

A white collar crimes lawyer will also be prepared to defend your crimes of embezzlement, bribery, and bank fraud. These types of “office” crimes are usually the domains of federal investigators and therefore have to receive the attention of a good white collar defense lawyer who has won cases in the federal jurisdiction, as well as, state. Due to the types of unwanted exposure in these cases it is sometimes possible for a savvy defense attorney to negotiate in special pre-arrest negotiations arrangements that will put you in a better position for crimes of embezzlement. If you are in a situation of self-surrender, call one of white collar lawyers today.

Process of Prosecution of White Collar Crimes

There are a variety of crimes that may be inflicted upon others. Of these, the white collar offenses may be some of the more serious ones committed because they are accomplished by professionals at their places of work with manners of concealment that provide a means of obtaining cash, property, services or advantages in work via illegal manners. While these violations of the law are not usually violent, they may be more devastating when vast sums of money or extensive information has been stolen in one fashion or another. Many of these individuals already have money or prestige among their peers, and little to no suspicion exists that they will perform unlawful actions. These criminal acts may be charged at both the state and federal level. Some courts refuse to try these cases due to the extensive investigations, the sheer volume of information that must be understood and the fact that expert witnesses are needed to explain the data that may be incomprehensible to the judge, jury and lawyers present. While the federal government has more resources for these investigations, many are not tried unless there is some speculation that the prosecution has a fighting chance of winning the trial. Because of this, it is usually the minor crimes that are tried as when someone has completed a major criminal offense, he or she may have covered his or her tracks. In some instances, the offenses implicate that someone else perpetrated them.

A Grand Jury

When certain crimes have been committed, a grand jury is needed. This term means that 16 to 23 persons are tasked with assembling data about the activity that is suspected to be criminal. Testimony from witnesses must be listed to and documents must be examined with an analysis of other evidence as well. When a prosecutor is involved, he or she is a legal advisor for these individuals on the grand jury. The prosecuting person also directs the flow of all witnesses that must explain their information and evidence used in the case. When everything has been processed, this body of persons determines if evidence is sufficient in charging the suspected criminal for the crime presented to them.

Differences in Treatment of Suspects

While the courts attempt to provide equal treatment to all defendants, those that have committed white collar crimes are often not judged as harshly by many involved in the investigation. This could lead to preferential treatment in negotiations for plea bargains, pretrial releases and when sentences occur. However, the difference in treatment is often due to the lack of violence when these crimes occur. Physical assault and battery of anyone are lacking in most cases where a professional has violated the law through interactions with his or her business. Variations of the accused often demand a restriction of movement when the person may be violent or commit further illegal acts when on his or her own recognizance. But, persons that have no history of harming others are often trusted to be out of jail while the trial is ongoing. The only other alteration to this would be if he or she is a flight risk and may leave the state or country while he or she is awaiting a verdict. Those that commit nonviolent crimes are often cooperative with both defending and prosecuting lawyers. They understand the professional world and are calm and friendly during all proceedings in many instances of these cases. When the court has little comprehension of what the crime entails, or if it is unduly complicated, the only possibility for legal action against the accused may lie in a plea bargain. These could be unfairly lenient to ensure some consequences are enacted through a portion of what may be issued against a more violent criminal. The sheer complexity of many of these court issues causes prosecution to be laxer with those that are expert enough to ensure court proceedings are so difficult that they are left with only minor penalties to issue.

Criminal Restitution

When the prosecution has determined the case is worth pursuing, they may attempt to lean towards negotiation where the accused pays back through restitution. This means the perpetrator must provide monetary compensation to the victim for whatever was taken during the crime. Fines may be required as one means of punishment as well. Through the federal Mandatory Victims’ Restitution Act of 1996, the person harmed financially from the offense is entitled to restitution for losses suffered through the direct impact of the defendant’s actions. There are a variety of state and federal laws in addition to this one that demands a criminal to pay the victim back in various manners. That also means that the court could order this restitution if the defending person is sentenced to this remedy upon conviction.

Types of White-Collar Crimes

Most types of white-collar crime tend to involve some type of fraudulent scam or activity. Below are descriptions of common types of white-collar crimes:
• Fraud: Fraud involves deceiving someone for some type of monetary gain. Fraud often centers around financial transactions in a corporate or business setting.
• Securities Fraud: White-collar crimes are most common in a corporate setting that involves securities, stocks, and bonds. One common type of white collar-crime is “insider trading” in which someone who has inside confidential information about the companies’ investments trades or shares that information in violation of their duty to the company.
• Misrepresentation: Another type of securities fraud is when a person knowingly misstates or misrepresents inside information about the companies investments and finances, which causes investors to be lured by the false and misleading information. This causes the investors to rely on that information when making business and financial decisions.
• Embezzlement: This type of white-collar crimes involves a person who has been entrusted legal authority over some type of property or money who then improperly takes that money from that person for his or her financial gain. For example, a manager at a store that embezzles the money entrusted in him by transferring or taking that money and placing it in his own personal account without authorization of the store.
• Tax Evasion: Tax evasion occurs when a person tries to avoid paying the required taxes that they owe to the IRS. Any scheme or activity done knowingly and intentionally to avoid paying taxes is considered tax evasion.
• Money Laundering: Money laundering is a criminal act that is done by taking money that was gained by illegal means and converting it into a series of transactions to make it appear that it was gained legitimately. It is basically taking “dirty” money and filtering it into “clean” money. For example, a drug dealer who makes money illegally who takes that money and filtering into a legitimate business and making it appear like the business made this money, and not the sale of drugs.
• Bribery: This type of criminal act is done by offering money or property with the intention of influencing the actions of another.
• Bankruptcy Fraud: This occurs when a corporation or business lies and misrepresents to creditors who they owe money about the assets and debts that they have in order to avoid paying the creditors’ or having the creditors reach this type of asset.
• Bank Fraud: One of the most common type of white-collar crime is fraud against a bank institution. There can be many different ways to defraud a bank such as using fraudulent checks, commercial loan fraud, mortgage fraud, use and deposit counterfeit money, and other financial misrepresentation upon the bank for a financial gain.

Who Enforces White-Collar Crime Laws?

There are many government enforcement agencies that conduct investigations to determine whether individuals are committing white-collar crimes. Corporations also employ internal investigators, attorneys, or the SEC to investigate to determine whether any directors, management, or individuals in connection with the corporation are committing criminal activities. When the white-collar crimes involve the sale of securities and stocks, the SEC and State Attorney Generals investigate and enforce proceedings against individuals who are suspected to commit insider trading. Many corporations have regular internal investigations and audits to investigate a wide variety of alleged wrongdoing.

What Elements Are Required to Prove White Collar Crimes?

The elements required to prove that a white-collar crime was committed is the following:
• Intent: To commit a wrongful act or to achieve a purpose that is inconsistent with the law or public safety with the intent that the purpose is achieved. This usually occurs when the defendant acts or commits a behavior with the knowledge that the act is unlawful and can be publishable by law.
• Disguise and Concealment: The hiding or concealing of the real purpose of the crime. This usually occurs when the defendant hides or conceals his criminal violation with the purpose of not getting caught.
• Knowledge: For a defendant to be liable for a white-collar crime, the defendant must have knowledge that he is committing the crime. This usually occurs when the defendant knowingly and intentionally commits the act to gain a financial advantage.
• Reliance: Reliance occurs when the victim or plaintiff relied on the defendant’s fraudulent scheme or act.
One of the main defenses for a white-collar crime is the absence of intent. Since all white-collar crimes require the defendant to commit the criminal scheme or activity with knowledge and intent that the crime is being committed in motivation of a financial gain, if a defendant did not intend to do the crime, the defendant may not be held liable. The following are common defenses used for a white-collar charge:
• Absence of Intent: The defendant did not have intent to commit the crime or the activity that was carried out by the defendant was not intentionally done for a personal and financial gain.
• Entrapment: Entrapment occurs when the defendant did not have intent to commit the white-collar crime, but law enforcement officials coerced criminal activity.

The penalties for a white-collar crime depend of the nature and degree of the offense and whether the crime was against state law or federal law. Penalties for white-collar crimes can be harsh and severe since some of the crimes are against federal law. The punishments for white-collar crimes may include:
• Imprisonment
• Fines and restitution
• Community service
• Disgorge of any profits and financial gain received from the crime
• Probation
• Home detention with a supervised release
Some state and federal crimes allow the defendant to receive a lower penalty if the defendant cooperates with prosecution by taking responsibility of the crime and assisting the authorities in their investigation.

Seeking Legal Help

White-collar crime can have serious criminal and financial consequences for you, your business, and your family. If you have been convicted of a white-collar crime, a criminal defense attorney with experience in this field can evaluate your case and determine whether there are any possible defenses that are available to you.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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What Are The Marijuana Possession Charges In Utah?

What Are The Marijuana Possession Charges In Utah

A marijuana possession charge in Utah can be filed as a misdemeanor or as a felony charge, depending on a variety of circumstances. Any Utah marijuana possession charge carries the possibility of jail time and substantial fines. If you are facing prosecution for marijuana or other drug-related charges, an experienced drug crimes and criminal defense attorney can make all the difference.

Second-Degree Felony Marijuana Charges

At the second-degree felony level, a marijuana conviction in Utah carries the possibility of up to 15 years in prison and a $19,000 fine (including surcharge). Marijuana possession can be filed as a second degree felony under the following circumstances: possession with the intent to distribute within a drug-free zone; actual distribution of marijuana within a drug-free zone; or possession of more than 100 pounds of marijuana (regardless of intent).

Third-Degree Felony Marijuana Possession

A third-degree felony marijuana charge in Utah is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine (including surcharge) of up to $9,500. Marijuana possession is classified as a third-degree felony under the following circumstances: possession of more than 16 ounces but less than 100 pounds of marijuana; possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute (with no drug-free zone enhancement); or growing or cultivating marijuana (regardless of the amount).

Class A Misdemeanor Marijuana Charges

A class A misdemeanor marijuana charge is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines up to $4,750 (including surcharge). Marijuana possession can be filed at the class A misdemeanor level if: the amount of marijuana possessed is at least one ounce but less than 16 ounces; or possession of less than one ounce of marijuana in a drug-free zone.

Class B Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession

Class B misdemeanor charges in Utah are punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,900 in fines (including surcharge). A basic charge of marijuana (less than one ounce) begins as a class B misdemeanor.

Defenses to Marijuana Charges in Utah

An effective defense to marijuana possession or distribution charges in Utah can involve important Constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment. Motions may be needed seeking the suppression of evidence. Factual defenses may include constructive possession defense issues. The knowledge and intent of the defendant can serve as potential sources of a factual defense to criminal marijuana charges. A thorough understanding of procedural rules, relevant statutory provisions, and related case law can be critical to mounting a successful defense. An understanding of how substance abuse treatment and mitigation can influence the outcome of the case and lead to a successful negotiated resolution may also be critical. Possession of marijuana is a criminal offense in Utah. The amount of marijuana you have in your possession will determine the crime and penalties that you will receive for a possession offense. Marijuana possession can earn you serious penalties if you are caught with a large amount of marijuana. If you or a family member was arrested for marijuana possession, you should consult with an experienced Utah drug possession lawyer.

Utah Marijuana Possession Laws

The requirements to charge an individual with marijuana possession and other drug crimes are listed under Utah’s Controlled Substances Act. A combination of state and federal laws makes it illegal to not only possess a certain amount of marijuana but also to possess any drug paraphernalia needed to use marijuana. Marijuana possession, sometimes referred to as simple possession, is an offense that arises out of possession of marijuana for personal use. This contrast with an offense for possession with intent to distribute (PWID), a crime that focuses on the offender manufacturing and distributing drugs. The possession of marijuana is also referred to by terms like “actual possession” and “constructive possession,” depending on how law enforcement located the drugs. If an offender actually possessed marijuana when they were arrested, it means that they had it on their person or in an item that they were carrying. If an offender constructively possessed marijuana, it implies that they had knowledge of and control over the drugs found by law enforcement. For example, if you hid drugs in the trunk of your car or in a safe in your home, you will likely be charged with possession if law enforcement finds it, even if you did not have the drugs on your person.

Penalties for First Offense Marijuana Possession

To reiterate, the penalties for marijuana possession are directly correlated to the amount of marijuana that you are discovered with. If the weight of the drugs in your possession is over a certain limit, you risk being charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor, even if this was the first time you were arrested for possession. If you are found with less than 100 pounds of marijuana, you will likely receive a class B misdemeanor charge. The penalties for a class B misdemeanor are a maximum of six months in jail and up to $1,000 in criminal fines. If you receive a class B misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession, you may be given the option to perform compensatory service instead of paying a fine. The hours you will have to work typically depend on the amount of your criminal fine. If you were granted the option of compensatory service, you could volunteer with:
• A charity
• Utah state or local government agencies
• A business or organization approved by a Utah court
If you are arrested with over 100 pounds of marijuana in your possession, you can be charged with a second degree felony. In Utah, second degree felonies carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Additionally, there are other factors that could make a possession charge even more severe. For example, if you are arrested with drugs in a school zone, the penalties for possession may be increased, or you may even be charged with an additional crime. However, it is important to note that if you are a nonviolent, juvenile or first time offender, you may be eligible for drug rehabilitation programs instead of being incarcerated.
Types Of Marijuana Offenses

Marijuana is considered a Schedule I controlled substance in Utah. The amount of marijuana and crime associated with it will determine the severity of the marijuana charge and its resulting penalties. Under Utah marijuana possession laws, the following are punishable offenses, listed in order of severity.
• Possession of paraphernalia
• Possession with intent to deliver
• Distribution, sale or delivery of marijuana or paraphernalia
• Cultivation – growing and/or harvesting cannabis seeds
• Trafficking – importing into or exporting out of the state

Marijuana Possession Conviction Penalties

The potential punishment is directly dependent on to the amount of marijuana in your possession at the time of arrest. The amount in your possession also determines the classification of the charge as a misdemeanor or a felony. In addition, the number of offenses also affects the severity of the charge. The various levels of marijuana possession penalties in Utah are listed below:
• One ounce or less – class B misdemeanor
• Up to six months of jail time
• Up to $1,940 in fines and an assessment
• Possession in a drug-free zone such as a school, church or park can result in charge being upgraded to a class A misdemeanor
Between one ounce and one pound – class A misdemeanor
• Up to 12 months jail time
• Up to $4,790 in fines and an assessment
Between one and 100 pounds – third-degree felony
• Up to five years in Utah State Prison
• Up to $9,540 in fines
• Over 100 pounds – second-degree felony
• Up to 15 years in Utah State Prison
• Up to $19,040 in fines and an assessment

Utah Marijuana Distribution Penalties

Other transactions involving marijuana, such as sale and distribution, hold a greater punishment than possession alone. For a first time conviction, distribution of any amount is a third-degree felony. Penalties included with the charge are $5,000 in fines and a sentence up to five years in Utah State Prison. Distribution in a drug-free zone or in the presence of a minor, as well as subsequent conviction will increase the felony classification and penalties. At the minimum, a mandatory five-year prison sentence will be served with any first-degree felony conviction.

Permitted Prescribers of Medical Marijuana in Utah

Only those medical providers registered with the Utah Department of Health to recommend Medical Cannabis can issue recommendations for Medical Cannabis. To be deemed qualified by the department, a health care provider must:
• Be licensed in Utah
• Be a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician assistant
• Complete appropriate continuing medical education courses
• Have authority to prescribe Schedule II drugs
• Pay a fee of $300
Process for Legally Obtaining Medical Marijuana
If the patient does not yet have a Medical Cannabis Card, she or he must follow these steps to obtain Medical Marijuana legally in Utah:
 Get a recommendation letter from a qualified medical professional.
 Take the recommendation letter to a Medical Cannabis pharmacy.
 The Medical Cannabis pharmacy must obtain independent confirmation from the medical provider or an employee of the medical provider that the letter is valid.
 Present a valid form of photo identification.
Patients must follow these steps to obtain a Medical Cannabis Card:
 The patient must be a Utah resident with at least one qualifying condition
 The patient must meet in-person with a qualified medical professional.
 The medical provider then certifies the patient’s eligibility for a Medical Cannabis Card online.
 Patient pays a $15 application fee online.
 The Utah Department of Health will approve or deny the application within 15 days.
 When approved, the patient can use the card to purchase at any of the authorized Medical Marijuana pharmacies in Utah.
 The initial card expires in 90 days unless the patient and provider renew online. Subsequent renewals will be valid for six months or a year.
Penalties for Violating Utah Marijuana Laws
Possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor at least, unless the possessor is a Medical Marijuana patient. Any sale of marijuana outside of one of the authorized Medical Marijuana dispensaries/pharmacies is a felony.

Marijuana Possession: Laws & Penalties

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana ranks as the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. While some states have passed laws permitting or decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, marijuana remains an illegal controlled substance under federal law. The conflict might someday be resolved, but for now, federal and state law are at odds with each other. As a result, federal consequences are possible even when people follow state laws about marijuana use and possession.

Federal Marijuana Law

Federal drug laws classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug. A first possession offense of any measurable amount carries misdemeanor penalties of imprisonment for up to one year and a minimum $1,000 fine. The penalty increases to a felony for a second possession offense. If someone possesses marijuana in order to sell it or for other criminal reasons, the penalties become much harsher including possible mandatory prison time and forfeiture of property or money. Federal prosecutors can prosecute conduct that is legal under a state’s marijuana laws. While federal prosecution for marijuana possession when state law allows it isn’t common, the rise in the number of states authorizing certain medical and recreational marijuana use has prompted the federal government to reevaluate its enforcement policies from time to time.

State Marijuana Laws

Some states follow federal law and prohibit any possession of marijuana. But a growing number of states have enacted laws that split from federal law and allow possession of small amounts of the drug.

Medical Marijuana

More than 30 states have approved medical marijuana programs. Regulations vary widely between states. To legally purchase and possess medicinal marijuana, most states require patients to register with the state or obtain a specific identification card. Some states allow patients to grow their own marijuana, while others allow access only through regulated dispensaries.

Legalization

A few states have legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use by adults. But, even in these states, limits exist. In “legalized” states, laws still control:
 who can use marijuana (usually adults age 21 and older)
 how much marijuana is too much to have, and
 where marijuana can be smoked (often not in public places).
And similar to alcohol, driving under the influence of (legal) marijuana remains illegal (and dangerous).

Decriminalization

Instead of legalizing recreational use of marijuana, some states have decriminalized it. What’s the difference? In “decriminalized” states, the law still prohibits possession of small amounts of marijuana, but punishment is typically a civil fine or low-level criminal infraction that can’t result in jail time.

Sealing Past Convictions

A number of states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana possession allow people with past convictions to seal or expunge their old records. Depending on the state, the process can be automatic or require people to petition the court. Clearing your criminal record often helps in obtaining jobs, housing, and professional licenses.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Utah Jails

Utah Jails

When someone is arrested and taken to jail their first concern is how they can get out. Several things must happen before the authorities release an individual from jail. The process typically involves a “booking” process and a bail hearing that determines whether the person arrested may be released pending trial and set the bail amount. Once the accused has “posted bail” themselves or through a bail bond agent they are released.

Arrest

An arrest occurs when a person has been taken into police custody and is no longer free to leave or move about. When and how an arrest takes place is very important. Obviously, someone who has been handcuffed and read their rights knows they have been arrested, but not everyone who is arrested is handcuffed or explicitly told that they are under arrest. Whether or not the proper procedure is followed may determine the admissibility of evidence or even result in the case being dropped.

Booking

After an arrest a police officer will begin the “booking” process. This is an administrative process in which the police collect the suspect’s personal information and organize evidence relating to the alleged crime. The officer will record evidence, observations and statements about the alleged crime, fingerprint and photograph the suspect, conduct a criminal background check, collect the suspect’s personal property for storage until release, and place the suspect in a holding cell.

Bail Hearings

The purpose of bail is to ensure that an individual accused of a crime that is released into the community will willingly return for future court hearings and not commit new crimes, intimidate victims and witnesses, or flee to another jurisdiction. Those accused of minor crimes may simply be cited and released, but all others arrested and charged with crimes will have an opportunity to argue for their release at a bail hearing. At the bail hearing a judge or magistrate examines the alleged crime, the accused’s criminal background, and connections within the community, financial resources, and length of residence in order to determine whether releasing the suspect would pose a threat to the safety of the community and whether the suspect is likely to appear at future hearings. Someone who poses a threat to the community may be held without bail. Likewise, someone who is a flight risk may be held without bail. Concerns about these and other factors also impact the amount of bail required. More serious crimes typically result in a higher bail amount. Wealthy individuals may also face higher bail amounts to ensure that the bond represents a significant amount to the party paying. On the other hand, if the alleged crime is not serious, the accused can show evidence that they pose no risk to the community, and are likely to appear at future court hearings they may be released “on personal recognizance” without having to post bail. Other conditions may be placed upon release including limits on travel, court ordered drug and alcohol abstinence or testing, periodic checks by an authority and restrictions on contact with victims or witnesses.

Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system is comprised of three major institutions which process a case from inception, through trial, to punishment. A case begins with law enforcement officials, who investigate a crime and gather evidence to identify and use against the presumed perpetrator. The case continues with the court system, which weighs the evidence to determine if the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If so, the corrections system will use the means at their disposal, namely incarceration and probation, to punish and correct the behavior of the offender. Throughout each stage of the process, constitutional protections exist to ensure that the rights of the accused and convicted are respected. These protections balance the need of the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute criminals with the fundamental rights of the accused (who are presumed innocent). The major restriction on the investigative stage of a case is the prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. This prevents officers from searching a suspect or his home without a warrant. There are exceptions for extenuating circumstances, such as when an officer is in “hot pursuit” of a suspect or where evidence might be destroyed, such as when a suspected drug dealer runs into a restroom. Much like the law enforcement stage of a case, there are dozens of restrictions on the court’s ability to prosecute a case, including the right to confront one’s accusers, the right against incriminating one’s self, the right to counsel, and the right to a jury trial. The primary purpose of all of these protections is to ensure a fair trial for the accused. The defendant has a right to be represented by either an attorney of their choosing, or, if they cannot afford one, court-appointed counsel. The jury must be a fair cross-section of the community, which in most cases will not lead to a jury composed of a single race or gender. If the defendant is convicted and the charges merit jail time, they will be sent to the corrections system for punishment. Typically, this involves probation, incarceration, or both. Probation can be either supervised or unsupervised. Supervised probation requires the offender to check in regularly with an officer to ensure compliance with the terms of his probation. Unsupervised probation means that a person only faces jail time or other punishment if they run further afoul of the law. Incarceration is also a common outcome of criminal trials, especially in more serious cases. The convict is housed in either jail or prison. Jails are usually located in each county and are for less serious offenses. Jail terms usually do not exceed one year. Prison terms, on the other hand, are usually for longer than a year and almost always involve serious felony offenses. The primary constraint on abuses in the correctional system is the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. There are many ways in which this prohibition has come into play in our corrections system, including jail overcrowding, improper medical care, and in physical abuses at the hands of corrections officers. Though violations do occur, they usually will not result in a suspension of one’s sentence. Rather, the remedy is typically injunctive relief and/or monetary damages obtained via a civil rights lawsuit. If you’ve been arrested, are awaiting arraignment, or have a trial date coming up, it isn’t too late to access professional assistance.

At the most basic level, the fundamental difference between jail and prison is the length of stay for inmates. Think short-term and long-term. Jails are usually run by local law enforcement and/or local government agencies, and are designed to hold inmates awaiting trial or serving a short sentence. Often “short” is designated as a misdemeanor conviction versus a felony, so in some instances where misdemeanor sentences are run consecutively, one may spend more than a year in jail. Jails often operate work release programs and boot camps, and some offer educational, substance abuse, and vocational programs. While many of these programs are designed to help the inmates change their lives and improve themselves so they stand a better chance of avoiding a return visit, they also have the added benefit of keeping the inmates occupied and less likely to cause problems for jailers. Prisons, on the other hand, are typically operated by either a state government or the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). These are designed to hold individuals convicted of more serious crimes, typically any felony. Prisons offer different programs to inmates depending on the inmate’s level of custody (i.e., minimum, medium, or maximum security, solitary confinement, etc.).

Minimum and medium security programs include halfway houses, work release programs, and community restitution centers. Typically those who are eligible for such programs are nearing the end of their prison terms. Because prisons are designed for long-term incarceration, they are better developed for the living needs of their populations. Jails, on the other hand, tend to have more transient populations and less well-developed facilities. As a result, many inmates prefer their stays in prison given the more regular life, the greater availability of programs, and better facilities. Indeed, many repeat offenders will ask for prison time rather than time in jail followed by probation if given the option. Some inmates complain that jail, given its constant flow of people that can often interfere with an inmate’s ability to sleep, eat on a regular schedule, or participate in exercise. Some jails also suffer from budget shortages that lead to lower quality or inadequate food. These issues often lead to claims of violations of the inmate’s right against cruel and unusual punishment. However, such claims are rarely, if ever, successful. In either system, the inmate has a right to visitation. The inmate will also have the basic rights of any prisoner. These include the right to be treated humanely, not suffer cruel and unusual punishment, be free from sexual crimes or harassment, a right of access to the courts, a right to medical care, and a right to not suffer racial discrimination. Although an inmate’s rights are abridged compared to other citizens given their status as inmates, they also still have limited rights to free speech, possession of property, and other basic human rights. If you or someone you know is facing time behind bars, you should speak with an attorney. Not only may a lawyer be able to help you avoid jail or prison time all together, they may be able to help minimize the time spent their if a conviction is unavoidable.

Rights of Inmates

Even the most chronic or hardened inmates have basic rights that are protected by the U.S. Constitution. If you are facing incarceration, or if you have a family member or friend who is in prison or jail, you should know about inmates’ rights.

The Right to Humane Facilities and Conditions

Pre-trial detainee must be housed in humane facilities; they cannot be “punished” or treated as guilty while they await trial. Inmates also have the right to be free, under the Eighth Amendment of “cruel and unusual” punishment; the term noted by the Supreme Court is any punishment that can be considered inhumane treatment or that violates the basic concept of a person’s dignity may be found to be cruel and unusual.

The Right to be Free from Sexual Crime

An inmate cannot be subjected to sexual crimes including sexual harassment. The Prison Rape Elimination Act protects prisoners.
The Right to be Free from Racial Segregation
Inmates cannot be racial segregated in prisons, except where necessary for preserving discipline and prison security.
The Right to Express Complaints


Inmates can complain about prison conditions and have a right of access to the courts to air these complaints.

The Right to Assert ADA Rights

Disabled prisoners are entitled to assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that they are allowed access to prison programs/ facilities that they are qualified and able to participate in.

The Right to Medical Care/Attention

Inmates are entitled to medical care and attention as needed to treat both short-term conditions and long-term illnesses. The medical care provided must be “adequate.”

The Right to Appropriate Mental Health Care

Inmates who need mental health care are entitled to receive that treatment in a manner that is appropriate under the circumstances. The treatment must be “adequate.”

The Right to a Hearing

Inmates are entitled to a hearing if they are to be moved to a mental health facility. However, an inmate is not always entitled to a hearing if he or she is being moved between two similar facilities. A mentally ill inmate is not entitled to a full-blown hearing before the government may force him or her to take anti-psychotic drugs against his or her will. It is sufficient if there is an administrative hearing before independent medical professionals.

Limitations on Inmates’ Rights

Inmates retain only those First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech, which are not inconsistent with their status as inmates and which are in keeping with the legitimate objectives of the penal corrections system, such as preservation of order, discipline, and security. In this regard, prison officials are entitled to open mail directed to inmates to ensure that it does not contain any illegal items or weapons, but may not censor portions of correspondence which they find merely inflammatory or rude. Inmates are entitled, under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution, to be free from unauthorized and intentional deprivation of their personal property by prison officials. However, Inmates do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their prison cells and are not protected from “shakedowns,” or searches of their cells to look for weapons, drugs, or other contraband.

Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)

Under the PLRA:
• Prisoners must exhaust internal prison grievance procedures before they file suit in federal court.
• Prisoners must pay their own court filing fees, either in one payment or in a series of monthly installments.
• Courts have the right to dismiss any prisoner’s lawsuit which they find to be either “frivolous,” “malicious” or stating an improper claim. Each time a court makes this determination, the case can be thrown out of court and the prisoner can have a “strike” issued against them. Once the inmate receives three “strikes,” they can no longer file another lawsuit unless they pay the entire court filing fee up front.
• Prisoners cannot file a claim for mental or emotional injury unless they can show that they also suffered a physical injury.
• Prisoners risk losing credit for good time if a judge decides that a lawsuit was filed for the purpose of harassment, that the inmate lied, or that the inmate presented false information.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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How Much Does A Criminal Defense Attorney Cost?

How Much Does A Criminal Defense Attorney Cost

If you are looking to hire a criminal lawyer, chances are that you are in a difficult situation and need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney quickly. Facing criminal charges, whether minor or a more severe charges, is often a very serious matter with consequences. These may include jail time, creation of a criminal record, monetary fines, loss of future employment opportunities, or more. Therefore, it is often in your best interests to find and hire an experienced and well qualified criminal defense attorney to assist you with your charges. Importantly, the Constitution guarantees you the right to counsel in criminal prosecutions. If you cannot afford an attorney, then the court will appoint one for you. However, if the court decides based on your income and assets that you can afford an attorney, and then you may either hire a private attorney or represent yourself. Criminal defense attorney costs will typically vary based upon various factors. These may include: the severity of the charges that you are facing, the notoriety or experience of the attorney, the complexity of the legal issues in the case, and whether the case goes to trial, to name a few. Thus, it is important when hiring a criminal defense attorney to discuss the attorney’s fees prior to entering into a written contract.

What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

If there is a criminal claim brought against you, you may be faced with criminal penalties, such as fines, jail time, or both. Thus, if you have been charged or are under arrest for suspicion of having committed a crime, it is in your best interests to first consult an experienced attorney before you respond to any criminal prosecution. A qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney will guide you through the entirety of the criminal legal process and help you assert any possible criminal defenses to the charges being brought against you. In most cases where you are seeking a criminal defense attorney, you may have already been arrested, taken into police custody, and booked through the police system. After this, you are typically given a chance to post bail, before an arraignment is held where you are read the criminal charges that are being brought against you. During the arraignment, you will be asked to enter your plea, and should there be no plea bargain, a preliminary hearing will be held where a judge will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to charge you with a crime. As can be seen, the entire criminal procedure is often very complex, and, thus, it is often in your best interest to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney will often charge you based on an agreed upon hourly fee or flat fee, as well as bill you any related court costs for defending your case, such as expert witness or investigator fees.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

As noted above, the costs of criminal defense lawyers vary, as no criminal case is identical to another. There are several factors that can affect the overall costs of a criminal case, including:
• Defendant’s Income: Your income determines whether you are eligible for a court-appointed attorney, or whether you need to hire your own attorney. Each jurisdiction may have different qualifications to determine if someone can afford to hire their own attorney. If an individual qualifies based on their income, then the court will appoint a public defender paid for by the government, as guaranteed by the Constitution;
• Investigation and Experts: As mentioned above, many criminal cases have complex issues that can require investigators and/or expert witnesses. For example, a defense attorney might hire an expert in chemical testing to contest or explain the results of a BAC analysis in a DUI trial, or a psychologist if the defendant wants to claim the defense of legal insanity. Investigators and experts require on average a retainer of $2,000 and can charge over $300/hr. Thus, based on the particular circumstances of your criminal charges, there may be extra fees needed to form a stronger defense; or
• Attorney’s Fees: As mentioned above, criminal defense attorneys do not all cost a fixed amount of money. Attorney’s fees will vary according to several factors. Some of the more important factors affecting an attorney’s rate include:
• The skill of the attorney;
• The experience of the attorney;
• The seriousness of the offense;
• The complexity of the legal issues in the case;
• The amount of time spent by the attorney in the criminal discovery process;
• The delegation of tasks to law clerks or paralegals;
• Whether the case goes to trial; and
• Whether the attorney charges a flat fee or by the hour.
Even if you wish to plead guilty or represent yourself “pro se,” it is extremely important to first consult an experienced attorney before you respond to any criminal prosecution. At a minimum, a criminal defense attorney will ensure that the charges brought against you are appropriate, given the facts of the case and advocate on your behalf to receive the lowest possible penalty. The criminal procedure process is a complex matter, and the nuances of the differences of criminal charges are even more complex. For example, suppose that a person is caught leaving a jewelry store with a $100 necklace. The shop owner, furious over the incident, tells the police it was a $1,000 necklace. The difference between the values is the difference between petty theft, which carries a misdemeanor charge, and grand theft which carries a felony charge. While a person has the right to proceed in their own defense, even experienced criminal lawyers will admit to not wanting to defend themselves.

Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

• They Understand the Judicial System: The first and often most important reason to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney is that they understand how the judicial system works. The legal system can be confusing, even for people who work in it every day, but an experienced defense lawyer knows the intricate workings of the court systems and can help guide you through the process based on your individual case. In fact, the attorneys at Berry Law help demystify the process by providing a free step-by-step guide of the court proceedings for any individual criminal case during your first in-person consultation.
• They Have Built Relationships with Prosecutors: After working in the legal field for long periods of time, defense attorneys begin to develop relationships with their counterparts prosecuting attorneys. While it may seem odd to develop a positive relationship with an adversary, both parties understand that everyone has a better experience when people are familiar with each other. Having an attorney who has developed a good relationship with your prosecuting attorney can prove vital in the outcome of your case. Their relationship may allow them to negotiate a better plea deal or negotiate an affordable bond.
• They Have Dealt with Cases Similar to Yours Before: Not all attorneys are built the same. While all attorneys passed law school and the state bar to practice in the jurisdiction, different attorneys have different specialties.
• They Can Protect Your Future: An experienced criminal defense attorney can fight for you and your future. A good attorney may be able to get your charges reduced; your penalties lessened, or even get your case dismissed due to police errors while illegally obtaining evidence against you. By reducing your charges, they can keep a felony off your criminal record and keep you from jeopardizing your career. By reducing your possible penalties, they can keep you from jail and help you avoid losing your job. By getting your case dismissed they can save you from any negative impact that a criminal conviction could have had on your life.
• They Can Save You Money: It’s counterintuitive to think a more expensive lawyer will save you money, but history has shown that spending the additional money for an experienced criminal defense lawyer is almost always worth it. They can help you receive the best possible sentencing for your case, which could help you keep your job or keep you from losing your professional license. How many months of income would you lose if you lost your job tomorrow? How many years of viable earning potential would be destroyed if you are stripped of a professional license? Even without being fired, missing work for jail or extended court may cause a financial strain that could be avoided.
• They Can Assess Law Enforcements Conduct: No amount of observation through TV, media, or Facebook, can help the average person really understand the actual legal limits of what law enforcement can do when obtaining evidence in a criminal case. Good criminal defense lawyers spend years learning the nuances of proper procedure and identifying the blind spots and loopholes. They know what police officers are allowed to do when investigating a client, and can look at every possible means by which the officers may have infringed upon the rights of the accused. If the evidence gathering was improper, the lawyer can get the evidence thrown out of your case and this can often lead to dismissals.
• They Can Advise You on the Possible Outcomes: Some criminal attorneys will paint a bright picture of how they can help you in their case. They will assure you that nothing negative will happen once you go to court. Then suddenly you are convicted of a felony and facing 5 years in jail. The attorney assured you it wouldn’t happen, but it did because you simply trusted the system would work itself out and your innocence would be proven.

Tips to Help You Find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney

 An Attorney Should Be Responsive: When you’re facing a criminal charge, time is of the essence. Time lost is a case lost. You need a criminal defense attorney that’s going to get to work on the case right away. When you contact a lawyer, they should respond quickly. Their legal team should be able to arrange a meeting with you within one day. If they’re quick to answer to your phone call or email, they’re probably going to be equally on the ball when it comes to defending you.
 The Right Attorney Specializes in Criminal Law: Although they don’t have to practice criminal law exclusively, the right attorney at least specializes in criminal law. If you don’t see anything on the attorney’s website about criminal law, it’s likely that they’re not the right lawyer for your needs. The practice of law is just that — practice. Your attorney needs regular involvement in criminal law to stay up to date on the nuances of this type of law and the best possible defenses.
 Choose Someone Experienced in the Local Courts: In addition to finding a lawyer that’s qualified in criminal law, you should look for an attorney that’s experienced in the local courts. This aspect of deciding on the right attorney is one that is often overlooked, but local connections and relationships can go a long way when fighting a criminal charge. Not only does each court do things their own way, but each judge does things their own way too. Knowing the ins and outs of the court you’re up against can help you create a winning strategy for your case.
 Ask for Referrals: One of the best ways to find the right attorney for you is asking your friends and family if they know any good lawyers. Those with first-hand knowledge of how an attorney operates can help offer you insight into how they will handle your case. Also, if you use a lawyer for business or estate planning matters, you can ask them who they recommend for a criminal case.
 Look for a Clear Fee Structure: The best defense attorney doesn’t want confusion about their bill. Instead, they’re going to explain in simple terms how they bill and give you an idea of what you can expect regarding their fees for services and the total cost of your defense. The least expensive lawyer isn’t always best. Instead, you should ask what their services include and make sure that your attorney is up for mounting a vigorous defense.
 Gauge Their Enthusiasm: Some attorneys work harder than others. You will want a lawyer that conducts a thorough investigation. They should go to trial when it’s best to go to trial, and they should encourage you to accept a plea offer only when it’s really in your best interest. When it’s time to decide whether to go to trial or accept a plea, the right attorney can articulate what choice they feel is in your best interest and why. The way to find this attorney is to look for enthusiasm. While your attorney should be experienced, the number of years of experience isn’t everything. The right attorney has a certain level of sincere interest in their work, and they must be eager to dive into your case on your behalf.
 They Have Courtroom Confidence: One type of experience that matters is courtroom experience. Criminal trials move fast. Sometimes, your attorney has mere seconds to make an objection that could impact the outcome of the case. Make sure your attorney has enough experience to know the court rules and have confidence and comfort in a court hearing. In this regard, you can judge a book by its cover. If an attorney has a neat appearance and is well spoken when you meet with them, they’re likely to be the same way in court. The attorney you choose speaks on your behalf. When you meet, you should like the way they present themselves, because they’re going to be speaking for you.

Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you need a Utah Criminal Attorney to defend against charges, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Utah Sex Crime Lawyer

Utah Sex Crime Lawyer

Being accused of any type of sex crime is very serious. When the charges involve a child or a minor, the consequences can be even more severe. When charged with sexual assault of a minor or child sexual abuse, it is important that a defendant fully understands the allegations and associated consequences. A conviction for a child sex offense can follow a person for many years if not for life, whether it be a prison sentence or registration on the sex offender registry. According to the Utah criminal code, there are numerous sex offenses that involve children and minors. Some of these offenses and their penalties are as follows:

• Child sex abuse is a charge involving a person 18 years of age or older and a victim younger than 14 years of age. It generally is a second-degree felony unless there are aggravating circumstances. Aggravated sexual abuse of a child, when a child’s parent is the defendant, for example, is a first-degree felony and carries a penalty of 6, 10 or 15 years to life. Registration on the sex offender registry is for life.
• When sexual intercourse with a person 13 years old or younger is alleged, the charge is rape of a child. A child under 13 cannot consent to sexual intercourse. Object rape of a child is charged when objects other than the defendant’s personal body parts are used to rape the child. These charges are first degree felonies in the State of Utah. Mandatory prison time for 25 years up to life is the penalty. Lifetime registration on the sex offender registry is required.
• Sodomy upon a child is also a first-degree felony. Sodomy upon a child is commonly referred to as oral sex, involving contact between the mouth, genitals or anus of the defendant and the mouth genitals or anus of a child 13 years old or younger. As with rape of a child, prison time is mandatory, and carries a 25 years-to-life sentence. Lifetime registration is required.
• If an alleged victim is 14 or 15 years old, the charge is sexual abuse of a minor, rather than sexual abuse of a child. Depending on the circumstances of the case, sexual abuse of a minor is either a third-degree felony or a class A misdemeanor.
• Utah also identifies unlawful sexual activity with a minor as a situation in which sexual activity takes place with persons aged 14 or 15 years old. These cases are either Class B misdemeanors or third-degree felonies. If sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years old is alleged to have taken place with a person at least seven years older, a charge of unlawful sexual activity can result.

Penalties for Sex Offenses in Utah

Utah categorizes sex offenses in different brackets, each with its’ legal penalties. The State’s legislature has increased the minimum mandatory term for imprisonment for these offenses in the past. As such, when faced with such charges, leave nothing to chance. Though deemed a secondary charge in Utah, sexual assault penalties can be fatal. It stands to add extra 6+ years to the minimum primary sentence charge. And as a first-degree felony, there is no escaping Utah’s sex offenders’ registry. This can be devastating even if you manage to bargain for a reduced sentence on your first charge. The most common scenario for sexual assault penalties is 10 to 15 years for a start. If your defense team happens to sleep on the job you stand to lose out more. Things can escalate to life imprisonment or worse life imprisonment with no parole. Therefore, to avoid grievous consequences, hire the best defense attorneys.

Penalties for Sexual Abuse Charge

According to the Utah legislature, sexual abuse covers a wide degree of charges depending on the type of assault. If the plaintiff is a minor (below years of consent usually 18 years) the penalties fall under the child abuse charge. Such charges are treated as statutory charges and will continue to hold even if the child willingly participated. Child sexual abuse charges are usually considered as secondary charges in Utah. However, if charged with aggravated child sexual abuse, you stand a first-degree felony which has more stringent penalties. You stand a minimum of 15 years to life imprisonment or lifetime with no parole if bodily harm was caused and if you had a previous sexual offense charge. If the plaintiff was above 14 years of age, your case might be treated as forcible sexual abuse. Though a secondary charge, if bodily harm was caused the charge may change to the first-degree felony and carry a 15 year to life penalty.

Penalties for Rape Charge

Rape charges are taken up as serious offenses in the state of Utah. In rape charges, an adult is considered to be 14 years and above. This is contrary to sexual abuse charges where adults are considered to be above the 18-year threshold. Guilty offenders of adult rape charge stand a mandatory sentence of 5 years on the low end. However, the time can shoot up to a minimum of 15 years or more if the court deems it appropriate. As for a child rape case (a first-degree felony), the minimum mandatory sentence is 25 years to life. Life without parole is still on the table if bodily harm was done. Rape committed by a juvenile or when the accused was still considered a minor must incur a sentence with parole. Such charges still incur the minimum sentences with zero exclusion as a previous offense.

Penalties for Enticing a Minor Charge

The magnitude of enticing a minor charge penalty is tied up to a couple of reasons. First, on establishing what happened and next find out what was possibly intended. In Utah, such offenses are treated as class A Class A misdemeanor. They carry a penalty of up to 1 year of jail time or a $2,500 fine for persons below 18 years. Adults caught guilty of enticing minors face jail time of 5 years, permanent criminal record and a possible fine of $5000 to $10,000.

Penalties for Child Pornography Charge

Whether found guilty of producing, distributing or creating child pornography, you face some charges ranging from imprisonment to harsh fines. Such charges are treated as a second-degree felony with a jail term of 6 months to 15 years. You also stand to face fines of up to $10,000 if found guilty.

Penalties for Indecent Exposure Charge

A charge of indecent exposure can incur harsh penalties depending on previous records and the nature of the offense. If a first or second-time offense, the charge is regarded as class B misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $2,500 or six-month jail time, if convicted. Three or more violations trigger a third-degree felony punishable by five years of jail time or a maximum fine of $5000 if guilty.

Sentencing Requirements & Required Registration For Sex Offenders

In most criminal matters, Utah employs an intermediate sentencing system, which means that judges and the Board of Pardons and Parole have discretion in determining a defendant’s sentence and release date. However, many sex offenses are subject to mandatory sentencing requirements. For example, aggravated sexual assault carries a mandatory prison sentence of six, 10, or 15 years to life. Even after serving a long sentence, the impact of a sex crime conviction will likely reverberate through a person’s life. Convicted sex offenders are required to register with the Utah State Police, which posts the names of certain sex offenders on a public website. If a person is convicted as a juvenile, he or she may also face sex offender registration upon turning 18. With this information readily available, convicted sex offenders have substantial difficulty obtaining employment and professional licensing, and are often scorned in their communities and avoided by their neighbors.

Strong Defense against Sex Crime Charges

A strong defense requires meticulous preparation and investigation, which may expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as inconsistencies in accuser statements or lack of forensic evidence.

Utah Rape and Sexual Assault Laws

Utah has a number of rape and sexual assault laws. The penalties range in severity based upon factors such as the closeness in age of the victim and defendant, whether the victim was a minor, and the degree of violence used. For example, the crime of unlawful sexual activity with a minor is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. However, if the defendant was less than four years older than the minor at the time of the sexual activity, it is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. The following is a brief summary of Utah rape and sexual assault laws.
Utah Rape and Sexual Assault Laws
The following table outlines rape and sexual assault laws in Utah.

Aggravated sexual assault

During the rape, object rape, forcible sodomy or sexual abuse, the defendant threatened the victim with use of a dangerous weapon, compelled or attempted to compel the victim to submit to any of the above crimes by threatening kidnapping, death, or imminent serious bodily injury, or was aided by one or more people. (It is also aggravated sexual assault if the defendant attempted any of the above crimes and caused serious bodily injury, threatened the victim with a dangerous weapon, compelled the victim to submit by using any of the above threats, or was aided by one or more people.)

Unlawful sexual activity with a minor

Having sex engaging in sodomy or penetrating the genital or anal opening of a minor with the intent of causing substantial emotional or bodily pain or arousing or gratifying a person’s sexual desires.

Forcible sexual abuse

Touching another person’s anus, buttocks, genitals, female breasts, or taking indecent liberties or causing another person to take indecent liberties with the defendant or another person, without consent, with the intent of causing substantial emotional or bodily pain or arousing or gratifying a person’s sexual desires, and the victim is 14 years of age or older. It is sexual abuse of a minor if the victim was a minor, the defendant was at least 7 years older, and held a relationship of special trust. It is unlawful sexual conduct with a 16-17 year old if the defendant was at least 7 years older and knew or reasonably should have known the victim’s age or held a relationship of special trust. It is sexual abuse of a child if the person was under 14 years of age. It is aggravated sexual abuse of a child if the defendant used a dangerous weapon, acted by force, duress, violence, intimidation, coercion, menace, or threat of harm, committed the act during a kidnapping, caused bodily or severe psychological injury, was a stranger to or made friends with the victim for the purpose of committing the crime, used or showed pornography, caused the victim to be photographed lewdly, was previously convicted of a sexual offense, committed the same or similar sexual act upon two or more victims during the same course of conduct, more than 5 separate acts during, before or after the instant offense, had a relationship of special trust with the victim, encouraged, aided, allowed, or benefitted from prostitution, sexual acts or performances by the victim, human trafficking, or human smuggling, or caused the penetration of the child’s genital or anal opening.

Sodomy

Engaging in a sexual act with a person 14 years of age or older which involves the genitals of one person and mouth or anus of another person. (It is forcible sodomy if the sexual act was done without consent and it is sodomy on a child if the victim was under 14 years of age.)

Penalties

Rape, object rape, forcible sodomy, sodomy with a child, and aggravated sexual abuse of a child are first-degree felonies punishable by up to life imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines. Unlawful sexual activity with a minor is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. If the defendant was less than four years older than the minor at the time of the sexual activity, it is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines. Sodomy is also a Class B misdemeanor. Forcible sexual abuse and sexual abuse of a child are second-degree felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If the defendant caused serious bodily injury to another person, it is a first-degree felony. Sexual abuse of a minor and unlawful sexual conduct with a 16-17 year old, are Class A misdemeanors punishable by up to 1 year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. If the defendant was 18 years of age or older and held a position of special trust as a school employee or volunteer while the minor was a student at the same school, it is a third-degree felony.

Lawyer For Sex Defense

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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DUI UT Provo

In fact, a DUI charge that is, a “driving under the influence” charge can come as a result of a wide range of scenarios, and a person can be charged with driving under the influence of a number of different substances in addition to alcohol, including drugs and prescription medications. A DUI charge also does not necessarily mean that your blood alcohol level was above .08. While a BAC of .08 or above is always grounds for a DUI charge, you can be charged with a DUI simply for being deemed “substantially incapable” of operating a vehicle. That’s something that’s up to the judgment of the officer arresting you. But while it’s important for motorists to know that it may be easier than you think to earn a DUI charge, it is also vital that you are aware of the many different ways that you can get these charges dismissed if you have a capable attorney on your side. DUI charges come with some extremely serious consequences in Utah, especially for repeat offenders or individuals with criminal records. These consequences include jail time, hefty fines, and the suspension or revocation of your license. In addition, certain DUI offenders in Utah may be required to install a bulky, invasive, and costly ignition interlock device on their vehicles, which will prevent them from driving if their BAC exceeds a certain level. But for many people convicted of driving under the influence, the worst consequence is the stain a DUI leaves on your permanent record. You’ll have to live in the shadow of your conviction for years, forever explaining the DUI on your record and struggling to secure employment, find housing, or obtain a loan. Luckily, though, a DUI charge does not always mean a DUI conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a knowledgeable lawyer may be able to put together a strong defense to help get your DUI charges dropped. Some possible grounds for dismissing a DUI case include:

1. Officer error. Though many people consider police officers to be infallible, the fact is that they make mistakes just like everybody else. If there was an error somewhere in your arrest details, this could be grounds for dismissal.

2. The infringement of your rights. Before a DUI charge can be issued, a police officer has to pull you over and determine that you appear to be inebriated. But in order for an officer to pull you over in the first place, there must be probable cause that you are doing something wrong. Then, the officer must develop reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence. If an officer failed to follow the proper legal procedures, a case may be made that your rights were infringed upon.

3. Insufficient proof. If your case goes to court, the prosecution will rely heavily on evidence gathered at the scene of the crime. Often, roadside sobriety tests are not completely accurate, and if a lawyer can prove that the evidence is inadequate, a judge may have no choice but to dismiss your case.

4. Problems at the checkpoint. Searches and checks that occur at checkpoints can sometimes be unlawful for a number of reasons, often because officers have infringed on a person’s Fourth Amendment right against unwarranted search and seizure. If the checkpoint practices that resulted in your arrest were illegal, your case may be dismissed.
Each DUI case is different, and your case may come with its own unique set of circumstances that could serve as grounds for dismissal during a trial. An experienced attorney with a successful track record will be able to dissect the details of your case and find potential weak points in the charges, which may wind up either lessening the penalties of your crime or allowing you to have the charges dismissed completely. With the help of a skilled attorney, you may be able to avoid life-altering consequences such as huge fines, jail time, and a stain on your record.

What Happens After Someone Is Released After A DUI Arrest?

The first thing you will notice after you are released from jail on a DUI is that you have left jail without your driver’s license. Upon arrest, and upon your release, law enforcement will take your driver’s license from you immediately, and you are given a pink temporary license. That temporary license and the information on it, is critical. Unfortunately, because of shock and the pain of what they have just experienced, most people will put those papers away thinking that they may not need to look at them until they go to court. However, that temporary license instructs you that you must contact the DMV within ten days of a release. If you fail to contact the DMV within ten days, you will automatically lose your license. If it is the first offense, you will lose your license for four months. That is going to be your first taste of reality. When you are released, you are also issued a notice to appear in court. This will advise you which court to appear in, and the date that you are required to appear. It is critical for your attorney to see every hour of the time spent between the initial consumption of alcohol, and to that moment when you are released. Often, there are things that you may note that seem irrelevant to you at the time, but may be critical for your attorney to use in your defense.

Mistakes Made In The Initial Days Of A DUI Arrest

The biggest mistake is to try to put it out of your mind. People will try to deny either what had happened, hoping that it all goes away. You want to address your defense the moment you are released from jail. Not only that, it is critical you get in contact with the Department of Motor Vehicles so you can protect your license. There are things that you can immediately do that later on may not be available. For example, if you had consumed alcohol at a bar, perhaps returning to that bar to obtain the names of witnesses, and see if the bartender recalls serving you, or recalls what you were served. Anything that will assist you in your defense. At a later time, some of this information may no longer exist, such as videotapes, which may be destroyed after a period of time. These may very well show some critical element of your defense. Therefore, it is critical to take advantage of that potential evidence as soon as possible. A DMV hearing can be requested by either the client themselves, or your attorney. The reason for that is there are numerous hearing officers; most of those hearing officers are unreasonable. Some are less unreasonable than others.

Dealing with DUI Charges

An arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can be scary and stressful, but knowing what to expect from the legal process can help in dealing with a DUI charge. DUI laws are governed by state law, so details may differ depending on where you were charged and also whether you are a minor, but what follows is a general overview of what you need to know if you’re facing DUI charges for a first offense that didn’t involve either bodily injury or death.

The DUI Legal Process

First, it is important to note that in many states, you may be charged with both driving under the influence and having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit (often called a “DUI per se”), although one charge is often dismissed if you plead guilty or proceed to trial. Regardless, the first step after a typical DUI charge is usually an arraignment, a hearing during which a defendant is formally charged with a crime before the judge. You will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty, but you can change your plea later; for this reason, you may not yet need a DUI attorney. You can simply plead not guilty, and you may have the option to request a jury trial at this point as well. If the charge is a misdemeanor and you haven’t already posted bail, you will likely be released on your own recognizance, which means you are trusted to come back to court for your next legal proceeding. After your arraignment, you should start thinking about hiring a DUI lawyer or having one appointed for you if you cannot afford one. Remember, again, that DUI laws vary greatly by state, so be sure your DUI attorney specializes in your jurisdiction. With your attorney, you can decide how you would like to approach the DUI charge. The general options are as follows:
• Plead guilty
• Try to plea bargain down to a lesser charge
• Request a trial before a judge
• Request a jury trial
Plea bargaining, or reaching an agreement between the defense and prosecution, often involves agreeing to a conviction for reckless driving, called a “wet reckless” because it involves drinking and driving. In exchange for the plea, the defendant receives a lesser sentence than would have been available for the more serious offense. Note that “wet reckless” pleas are prohibited by law in some states. If you choose to go to trial to fight the DUI charges against you, you will most likely face an uphill battle. In all states, a blood alcohol level of 0.08% is enough for a DUI conviction regardless of whether you exhibited impaired behavior. Your attorney can challenge the test results, but your likelihood of winning goes down the higher your blood alcohol level was above the legal limit. If your blood alcohol was below the legal limit, however, a good DUI attorney may be able to help you beat the charge. Whether you would be better served by a judge or jury trial will be specific to the facts of your case and is something you would want to discuss with an experienced DUI lawyer. Moreover, as the elements of a DUI offense vary by state, it will depend on your jurisdiction’s DUI laws as to your chances of beating a DUI charge.

DUI Penalties Attorney

Drinking and driving, even as a first offense, is a serious crime and the penalties for it reflect that; they may include one or more the following:
• Fines from $500 to $2,000
• Jail (up to one year incarceration)
• Prison (one year or more incarceration)
• License suspension
• Community service
• Probation
• House arrest
• Use of ignition interlock device on vehicle (vehicle will not start until driver passes a breathalyzer test)
• Impoundment of vehicle
• Participation in a victim impact program
• Participation in a drug/alcohol abuse treatment/prevention program
Note that penalties tend to be more severe if the defendant’s blood alcohol level was considerably higher than the legal limit (double or more), someone was injured or killed, or if the defendant is a repeat offender. In some states, refusal to take a breath, urine or blood test can result in a suspended driver’s license regardless of whether the defendant is found guilty on a DUI charge.

Statute of Limitations for DUI Charges

DUI charges often have a specific time limit to try and attempt to convict the individual arrested by police for suspicion of the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving. The timeframe often depends greatly on the state, but it could extend based on special consideration by the judge or the factors of the case such as when the evidence is still in the process of collection. It is important to hire a lawyer to help with DUI charges. These are often simple misdemeanor charges, but some charges may elevate to the felony level depending on the case factors. The lawyer may help mitigate the damage of these charges and extend the time of the case to the point that the charges may exceed the usual statute of limitations. The general time may restrict prosecution to two years from the original date of arrest. However, some states have less or more time to ensure the courts may attempt to convict the person. Some states will only have one year from the date of arrest to file charges in the courts and proceed with the case. These time limits may exceed if the prosecution does not have the sufficient evidence to proceed with the DUI charges. Others may not charge the person until there is enough valid information about the situation and all factors. These limits usually only apply to non-felony DUI charges. If there are any other crimes that occur at the same time or aggravating factors, the charges may rise to the felony level. At this point, the time limit may disappear or extend significantly. Generally, the prosecuting lawyer will file the charges with the first court date for DUI matters. However, there are other times when this prosecuting legal professional will need to wait. This may occur from analysis of blood panels, urine samples or when the blood alcohol level is close to but below the 0.08 percent limit. Some prosecutors become busy with backlogged cases and paperwork. Upon the first court date, the defendant will learn if the lawyer filed the charges or if there is an update waiting for a later time. This update may arrive by mail when or if the prosecutor will file charges for the DUI.

The DUI Case and the Mistake

There are many defendants that believe the statute of limitations passes because the prosecution failed to take the person to court in the time limit for the state. However, this statute only applies to charges filed not prosecuting the matter. The mistake does not understand that the case may still proceed in the future. The lawyer may not take the person to court for the case in the time limit, but he or she may already file the charges within the one- or two-year restriction. Failure to appear in court when necessary based on updated information could lead to a warrant for arrest or other penalties.

DUI Statute of Limitations

Some states may not run on a timeframe to pursue a DUI charge against a person. The laws of the state may protect the law enforcement agencies in arrests and help to progress the case through a prosecutor that provides him or her sufficient time to take the person to court. In the states that disregard this concept, the person may face charges filed immediately or wait until multiple years pass before getting an update about the possible court case for the DUI. In some cases, one state may require another to use certain penalties when the convicted person moves.

Possible Consequences of A DUI Conviction

Some simple consequences of the DUI conviction include the temporary loss of a driver’s license through suspension, fines and jail time. Others may increase to ignition interlock systems that require the person to breathe into the machine before driving. If the person behind the wheel does not have a BAC lower than the limit, and in some cases much lower than the 0.08 percent, he or she cannot drive until the BAC decreases or a certain amount of time passes.

Legal Support for DUI and the Statute of Limitations

Some defendants facing DUI charges may need to hire a lawyer to help pass the time or assist with mitigating the damage. With creativity and various strategies, the lawyer may assist the individual through the charges passed the statute of limitations. Presenting a valid case is essential to aid the defending party.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Drug Lawyers

Being charged with drug possession in Utah can be scary, but it’s not the end of the world. In fact, if you get the right lawyer, your penalties and charges may be reduced. If you’ve been charged, you’re probably full of questions.

Drug Possession Charges in Utah

Depending on what kind of drugs you are found carrying in Utah, the charges aren’t always severe. For example, if you are charged with possession of marijuana, you may only face a Class B misdemeanor charge. The second time you are charged, you move up to the next level of consequences, namely a Class A misdemeanor. Charges continue to rise every time the offence is repeated. The length of time in jail also compounds by one year if a gun was involved. Understanding the different drug classifications can help you sort out what charges you face. Utah classifies drugs into Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V; the lower the number, the more dangerous the drug. A class V drug, for instance, is on par with less than an ounce of marijuana. The charges are as follows:
• Schedule I or II: third degree felony
• Schedules III, IV, or V: class B misdemeanor
• Marijuana: class B misdemeanor
There are four felony tiers: Capital, First, Second, and Third. Likewise, there are three misdemeanor levels: Class A, Class B, and Class C. The more an offence is repeated, the higher the consequence. A class A misdemeanor such as carrying a Schedule V drug rises to a third degree felony upon repeated charges. A felony is a major crime that can land you in prison with a fine. A misdemeanor is punished with county jail time and a potential fine.

Penalties for Drug Possession in Utah

The penalties for drug possession in Utah usually equal prison or jail time and a fine. A third degree felony equals 0-5 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. A class B misdemeanor equals up to 0-6 months’ jail time and up a $1,000 fine. The recently adopted Justice Reinvestment Initiative encourages treatment over jail time. This means that although those faced with drug possession charges can very well receive jail time in exchange for their crime, they might not. The initiative encourages courts to levy opportunities for recovery instead of only incarceration. Those on probation can reduce their time in jail based on a release that is closely supervised. Those charged with drug possession are being offered the opportunity to take a class on substance abuse or joining a recovery program.

Drug Laws and Drug Crimes

Drug laws and drug crimes have gotten lots of attention in the past decade. Laws in every state and at the federal level prohibit the possession, manufacture, and sale of certain controlled substances — including drugs like marijuana, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin. Putting aside political arguments over the so-called “war on drugs,” it isn’t hard to see why controlled substances are the focus of so much attention from legislators and law enforcement. It’s estimated that drug and alcohol abuse costs society over $110 billion a year through accidental death and injuries, health care, dependency treatment, criminal behavior, and more.

Illegal Drugs vs. Legal Drugs

The legality of a drug often depends on how it is being used or what it is being used for. For example, amphetamines are used to treat attention deficit disorder, barbiturates help treat anxiety, and marijuana can help alleviate cancer-induced nausea. But unprescribed and unsupervised use of these substances (and many others) is thought to present a danger to individuals and to society in general. So, for decades, lawmakers have stepped in to regulate the use, abuse, manufacture, and sale of illegal drugs.

Federal, State, and Local Drug Laws

Though there is a longstanding federal strategy in place to combat the abuse and distribution of controlled substances, each state also has its own set of drug laws. One key difference between the two is that while the majority of federal drug convictions are obtained for trafficking, the majority of local and state arrests are made on charges of possession. Out of these state and local arrests, over half are for the possession of marijuana. Another difference between federal and state drug laws is the severity of consequences after a conviction. Federal drug charges generally carry harsher punishments and longer sentences. State arrests for simple possession (i.e. possession without intent to distribute the drug) tend to be charged as misdemeanors and usually involve probation, a short term in a local jail, or a fine depending on the criminal history and age of the person being charged.

Controlled Substance

When a federal or state government classifies a certain substance as “controlled,” it generally means that the use and distribution of the substance is governed by law. Controlled substances are often classified at different levels or “schedules” under federal and state statutes. For example, under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed as a “Schedule I controlled substance,” cocaine is listed under Schedule II, anabolic steroids under Schedule III, and so on. The list includes a number of medications that are fairly common you’ll find cough medicine containing low levels of codeine classified under Schedule V.

Distribution and Trafficking

As a drug charge, “distribution” usually means that a person is accused of selling, delivering, or providing controlled substances illegally. This charge is often used if someone tries to sell drugs to an undercover officer. Trafficking generally refers to the illegal sale and/or distribution of a controlled substance. Despite the name, trafficking has less to do with whether the drugs cross state lines, and more to do with the amount of drugs involved. The consequences of a conviction for distribution and trafficking vary significantly depending on:
• the type and amount of the controlled substances(s) involved
• the location where the defendant was apprehended (for example, bringing an illegal substance into the country carries higher penalties, as does distributing drugs near a school or college), and
• the defendant’s criminal history.
Sentences for distribution and trafficking generally range from 3 years and a significant fine to life in prison — with trafficking carrying higher sentences.

Manufacturing

Under federal and state drug laws, the government can charge a person for playing a part in the cultivation or manufacture of a controlled substance. Cultivation includes growing, possessing, or producing naturally occurring elements in order to make illegal controlled substances. These elements include cannabis seeds, marijuana plants, etc. A person can also be charged for producing or creating illegal controlled substances through chemical processes or in a laboratory. Substances created this way include LSD, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.

Possession

The most common drug charge especially in arrests made under local drug laws involves possession of a controlled substance. Generally, for a possession conviction, the government (usually in the form of a district attorney) must prove that the accused person:
• knowingly and intentionally possessed a controlled substance
• without a valid prescription, and
• in a quantity sufficient for personal use or sale.
A possession charge can be based on actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. Constructive possession means that even if the defendant doesn’t actually have the drugs on their person (in a pocket, for example), a possession charge is still possible if the defendant had access to and control over the place where the drugs were found (a locker, for example). This is important to note because, unlike DUI/DWI laws, the government does not have to actually prove that someone is using a controlled substance in order to charge them with possession. The theory of constructive possession is often used when illegal drugs are found in a car during a traffic stop. It is also usually illegal to possess paraphernalia associated with drug use, such as syringes, cocaine pipes, scales, etc. In fact, being found in possession of these objects without any actual drugs may be enough for a person to be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Drug charges often start with possession, but then overlap with other offenses. For example, if the police find marijuana plants in X’s storage room, X can be charged with possession of the marijuana and of cultivation equipment. If the amount of the plants is large enough, X can also face distribution, trafficking, or manufacturing charges. Charges for simple possession are often less serious than charges for possession with an intent to distribute. The difference here does not necessarily turn on an actual intent to distribute, but on the amount of the substance found in the defendant’s possession (i.e. smaller amounts are usually charged as misdemeanors, while larger amounts can be used to suggest felony possession with intent to distribute).

Diversion

Many states allow diversion for first-time offenders charged with simple possession of illegal drugs. Diversion allows offenders to maintain a clean criminal record by pleading guilty and then completing a prescribed substance abuse program and not committing additional offenses. At the conclusion of the diversionary period (18 months is common) the guilty pleas is vacated, the case is dismissed, and the offender can legally claim never to have been arrested or convicted of a crime.

“Search and Seizure” Laws

The most common defense to a drug charge especially drug possession charges is a claim that a police officer overstepped search and seizure laws in detaining a person and obtaining evidence. If a defendant in a criminal case (usually through a criminal defense attorney) can prove that the police violated the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights in finding and seizing drug evidence, that evidence may not be admissible in a criminal case against the defendant.

Utah Drug Testing Laws

Utah employers may require applicants to take a drug test as a condition of employment, as long as employers and management also submit to periodic testing. Testing may be conducted only according to the employer’s written policy, which must be available for review by prospective employees. Employers in Utah may test employees for drugs, as long as employers and management also submit to periodic testing. Employers may require testing for these reasons:
• to investigate possible individual employee impairment
• to investigate an accident or theft
• to maintain employee or public safety
• to ensure productivity, quality of products or services, or security, and
• as part of a rehabilitation, treatment, or counseling program in which the employee is participating as a condition of continuing employment after a positive drug test.
The employer must have a written drug test policy that has been distributed to employees. Testing must occur during or immediately after the employee’s regular work schedule. An employer may take action against an employee if the employee refuses to be tested or fails the test. (A failed test is a confirmed positive result for drugs, an adulterated sample, or a substituted sample.)

Legal Claims Arising From Drug Testing

Even though Utah law allows employers to drug test, employees and applicants may have legal claims based on how the test was conducted, who was tested, or how the results were used. Here are some examples:
• Violation of state laws and procedures. Although an employer has the legal right to test, it must follow the state’s requirements.
• Disability discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects an applicant or employee who is taking medication for a disability. Some prescribed medications turn up on drug tests, and some drugs that would otherwise be illegal (such as opiates) are legitimately prescribed for certain conditions. If an applicant is turned down because of a positive drug test, and the applicant’s medication was legally prescribed for a disability, the company could be liable.
• Other discrimination claims. An employer who singles out certain groups of employees for example, by race, age, or gender for drug testing could face a discrimination claim.
• Invasion of privacy. Even an employer that is allowed or required to test might violate employee privacy in the way it conducts the test. For example, requiring employees to disrobe or provide a urine sample in front of others could be a privacy violation.
• Defamation. An employee might have a valid claim for defamation if the employer publicizes that the employee tested positive, the test result was inaccurate, and the employer acted maliciously in disclosing the information.
If you’re facing drug possession charges, you may have defenses available to you that aren’t immediately apparent. Whether the police collected testimony without reading your rights, or whether the prosecutors have failed to preserve incriminating evidence, a criminal defense attorney will often reveal the hole in the prosecutor’s case. If you’re dealing with a criminal matter, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced, local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Utah Drug Lawyers

When you need Drug Lawyers in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Best DUI UT

Best DUI UT

A DUI, which stands for driving under the influence, is a driving violation. It is driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances that impair one’s ability to operate an automobile. If someone is convicted of committing a DUI, they can incur significant penalties, which will be discussed here. In most states, in order to be considered driving under the influence, one has to have blood alcohol content higher than a certain amount. It is typically in the range of .05% – .08%. This level is obtained by chemical testing. It is a crime in every state for a motorist to operate a vehicle while impaired by the effects of alcohol or other drugs, including prescription medications. Depending on the state, the offense is called driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or a similar term. Even if evidence of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) shows impairment, a good DUI lawyer may seek to have the case dismissed or the charges reduced. Also, attorneys often negotiate for lesser sentences and treatment diversion programs. Upon conviction of a DUI, you will receive some sort of criminal sentence (such as community service, a fine, even jail) and your driver’s license likely will be suspended or revoked, depending on the severity and whether it is a first offense. Your attorney may be able to help you obtain driving privileges with the condition of using an ignition interlock device (IDD) or the court’s permission to drive to and from work.

Some DUI Terms to Know

• Implied Consent: In every state, motorists consent to a police stop and BAC test as a condition of receiving a driver’s license. Failure to submit to a BAC test breaks this agreement and results in a driver’s license suspension.
• Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC): The concentration of alcohol in one’s bloodstream, which is used to determine a motorist’s level of alcohol impairment.
• Drug Recognition Experts: Officers specially trained to determine the drug impairment of a DUI suspect.
• DUI Checkpoints: Roadblocks set up by police, typically along busy roadways during New Year’s Eve and other alcohol-related events, in which motorists and checked for impairment at random.

When You May Need a DUI Attorney
Drunk or impaired driving is taken seriously by courts, particularly since it can be so deadly to other motorists. Therefore, the stakes of a DUI case are quite high. Those convicted of a DUI usually lose their license for a certain period of time, pay a hefty fine, and sometimes serve time in jail (especially if it is a repeat offense). Even if your DUI lawyer is unable to dismiss the case, he or she may be able to reduce the sentence or otherwise provide for a softer landing. Driving under the influence is illegal in every state. Generally, you can get a “per se” DUI for driving with a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. You can also be convicted of an “impairment” DUI if you drive while actually impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Some Consequences for a First-Time DUI Conviction

The consequences of driving under the influence are serious. Penalties for a first-offense DUI often include fines, license suspension, and substance abuse education courses. Some states also require mandatory jail time and ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for first DUIs. And even if you aren’t ultimately convicted of a DUI in criminal court, the Department of Motor Vehicle might still take away your license if there’s evidence that you drove with a BAC of .08% or greater. Also, there are lots of costs of a first-offense DUI like attorney fees and insurance rate increases that can significantly increase the amount you’ll actually end up paying.
Pros and Cons of an Attorney If You Get a DUI
DUI is a serious offense that could affect your future and employment. Attorneys will tell you that you “need” to hire an attorney who focuses on defending drunk drivers. Attorneys promise they “may” be able to save your driver’s license or get your drunk driving charge reduced or dismissed. The key is the word “may.” An attorney may be able to reduce charges or preserve your driving privileges, but this is not guaranteed. There was a time when hiring a drunk driving attorney could result in you being able to plead to a lesser charge such as reckless driving pay a fine and be done with it. But that was before all 50 states passed what is known as drunk driving per se and other laws, making it mandatory for intoxicated drivers to be judged on the DUI charge.

Blood-Alcohol Level Determines Guilt
What the per se laws say is, in every state in the U.S., if your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit, you can be found guilty of DUI. In 2020, this limit is .05 in Utah, and .08 in all other states. It does not matter that you were not staggering or slurring your words or in no other way appeared to be intoxicated, your BAC level alone is all the evidence needed to convict you of DUI. One key to determining if hiring a drunk driving attorney will do you any good is knowing your BAC level at the time of your arrest. If you recorded 0.08 or higher, there is little doubt that you will be convicted and have to pay all the fines, fees, and extra expenses involved with having a DUI conviction on your driving record. In some cases, having an attorney won’t make a difference. If your blood alcohol level measures .08 or above, you will lose your license, be required to pay fines and/or higher insurance rates, and will face conviction.
Long-term DUI Consequences
Driving under the influence (DUI) is the most common criminal offense in the Utah. Many conscientious drivers with otherwise clean records have been arrested for DUI and suddenly found their lives in a dizzying tailspin from which they could not pull out. DUI convictions have major ramifications and some can linger for years. Most of us are aware of the short-term consequences, including temporary driver’s license suspension, fees and fines, high insurance premiums, court-mandated community service, participation in drunk driving education programs, and even jail time. Unfortunately, the long-term shock waves from a DUI can cause the greatest pain. Even after you pay your fines and fulfill your legal obligations, your DUI conviction can still undermine your future opportunities and haunt your life for years. Learning how you might be affected by a DUI is important first step for protecting yourself, your family, and your future. Even after you pay your fines and fulfill your legal obligations, your DUI conviction can still undermine your future opportunities and haunt your life for years.

Some long-term consequences of a DUI conviction include:
• Driver’s License Revocation – A DUI conviction can result in your driver’s license being revoked up to two years for your first conviction. A DUI conviction makes it difficult to get to work or, if your position requires you to drive, may result in the loss of your job. Losing the freedom to drive your own car is also stressful. Without a license, running simple errands, enjoying family visits, and participating in familiar social activates will be challenging. You may also arrive late for work frequently, feel frustrated, and be less attentive when you finally get there. Your job performance may suffer, too.
• Background Checks – Most employers conduct criminal background checks before they hire job applicants. A felony or misdemeanor DUI conviction will appear in a background check and could thwart your best efforts to secure a job. Background checks may also triggered by college financial aid applications and admissions processes, and housing applications. Landlords often conduct background checks and a DUI conviction could jeopardize your chances of getting the place you want.
• Employment – Your current job may be also be affected by a DUI arrest and conviction. Court dates, jail time, and community service hours can wreak havoc on your work schedule and put your job at risk. In addition, job seekers may be at a severe disadvantage to other applicants if they have a DUI on their records. Many employers are uncomfortable hiring applicants who have DUI convictions. While your DUI conviction may not have anything to do with the job you are applying for, it could hinder your prospects, if not disqualify you outright. And jobs that require driving a company vehicle, such as sales, truck driving, pizza delivery, catering, or cab driving jobs, may be closed to you.
• Auto Insurance Rates – Following a DUI conviction, your automobile insurance rates will likely increase significantly because drivers who have been convicted of a DUI are considered “high-risk” drivers by insurance companies. Your insurance rates may double or triple for at least several years. Some insurance companies may even terminate your coverage.
• Professional Relationships – A DUI arrest, and not even a conviction, can adversely affect the way you are perceived by your coworkers and employer. Even if you try to keep it under wraps, your DUI arrest may be publicized by local media and permanently stain your reputation. Depending on your company’s policy pertaining to DUI convictions, you may even lose your job. Your current job may be also be affected by a DUI arrest and conviction. Court dates, jail time, and community service hours can wreak havoc on your work schedule and put your job at risk. In addition, job seekers may be at a severe disadvantage to other applicants if they have a DUI on their records.
• Personal Relationships – Following a DUI arrest or conviction, you may worry about how your friends and family members feel about you, and you may experience feelings of shame and embarrassment. Initially, friends and family members may be very concerned about your wellbeing and be overly attentive to your behavior. You may become irritated or resentful if they want to “pry” into your personal life and discuss your drinking or DUI, even if you feel everything is under control.
• Scholarship Programs – Many schools do not accept students who have DUI convictions on their records and scholarships may be revoked or denied. Some colleges conduct background checks and require applicants to disclose any criminal history on their college applications.
Types of DUI
Drunk driving laws are not limited to just alcohol impairment in automobiles, and different circumstances and past criminal convictions affect how each DUI defendant is charged. Commercial truck drivers, for example, must adhere to much stricter DUI regulations than those affecting non-commercial motorists. Someone convicted of a third DUI in Utah, for example, faces a minimum two-year driver’s license suspension.
Aggravated DUI
Your DUI charge could get much worse very quickly if you were breaking the law in more than one way, such as driving under the influence while speeding. This is known as an aggravated DUI.
How Long Does A Typical DUI Case Last?
The DMV hearing is typically scheduled about four to six weeks after the request, and the person is usually either cited in or bailed out for about three or four weeks after the arrest. On a misdemeanor DUI in Utah, the person charged with a DUI will not have to appear in court. Their attorney will make all their court appearances for them so that they don’t miss work, school or time with their family. The first court appearance is for filing the complaints and arraignments; if the district attorney’s office is ready to file the complaint, they will do so that day. Often they need more time to file the complaint. This happens when the blood test results haven’t yet been received from the lab. At that first appearance, the DA might announce to the judge that they need more time to gather information before they will be ready to file a complaint. If they are ready to file the complaint that day, then when the attorney appears in court, the DA will give them a copy of the criminal complaint as well as the police report and the test results. The attorney typically enters a plea of not guilty on behalf of his or her clients. He or she then asks the judge to set the case for a settlement conference in a few weeks. After the attorney has the police reports and a copy of the complaint, they can order additional discovery or evidence that might be needed for the case. Those might include recordings or photographs that were taken during the DUI arrest. The UHP typically records almost all of their traffic stops with a dashboard camera. That gives us an opportunity to order a copy of the video. We can also get copies of any photographs that were taken, any other audio or video recordings that were made, and copies of the calibration and maintenance records of any Breathalyzer machines that were used. If there was a blood test, we would also be able to have that blood retested by an independent laboratory.
DUI Process
The first thing an attorney should do once they are retained is request the DMV hearing so that they can try to save the person’s driver’s license from the administrative suspension. The attorney should also start gathering information from the client as quickly as possible while their memory of the event was still fresh. They will want to know everything about the DUI stop and everything about the client’s history and their particular situation that might be relevant to the DUI stop. Again, it’s important to get all this information as soon as possible.
Consequences
The person could face a fine. They will face DUI school for a first offense. That can be six weeks, three months or even nine months. They also face a suspension of their driver’s license for anywhere from six months to a year, depending on whether or not they refused the chemical test. A person convicted of a first time DUI can be sentenced to anywhere from two days to six months in the county jail. A typical sentence for a first-time DUI would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 to 30 days, depending on the circumstances. In most cases, however, the jail sentence would be served on a jail alternative program known as work release. This is where the person works one eight-hour day for the county in exchange for a day of jail. They can do this on weekends or their day off. In addition, they will be on informal court probation for three years. During that time, if they violate any law or drive when they are not licensed or insured, or if they drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system, they can be brought back before the court and charged with a new crime as well as violation of their court probation.

Best DUI Lawyer In Utah

When you need legal help from a DUI UT Attorney, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Defense Lawyers Near Me

Defense Lawyers Near Me

The job of a criminal defense solicitor is to analyze the evidence against a client and advise on the appropriate plea and possible sentence. If a client pleads not guilty, the solicitor will represent the client at trial; testing the prosecution evidence and promoting the client’s case, and ensuring that the client has a fair trial. In cases where the client has pleaded guilty, the job is to direct the court to the appropriate sentence and highlight the good points about their client so that they receive as fair a sentence as possible.

Types of crimes that criminal defense lawyers defend in court
• Murder / Manslaughter
• Rape/ sexual offences/offences against children
• Offences against the Person, such as GBH, ABH, and common assault
• Robbery/ Burglary/ Theft /Handling Stolen Goods
• Fraud/Forgery /Proceeds of Crime
• Regulatory offences
• Drug offences
• Breaches of Court orders
• Public order offences / Offensive weapon charges
• Motoring matters

What Will A Defense Lawyer Do For You?

At the start of a criminal defense case, a criminal defense solicitor will obtain details of the allegations against you, and take your detailed instructions. That may lead to the need to gather evidence to support your case. This will include interviewing your witnesses. The solicitor will also research the statutes, cases, and procedural rules that may be useful when defending your case in court in order to prepare a defense strategy.

Building a defense strategy

When building your defense, a criminal defense solicitor will identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case and will inform you of the pros and cons of pleading guilty or not guilty, taking both the law and your individual circumstances into account.

Before a trial

Your criminal defense solicitor will then prepare your case in accordance with your defense strategy. They will analyze all the evidence both for and against you before a trial, so that cross examination of the prosecution witnesses can be planned, and a proper running order can be put into place for calling your witnesses. If there are any opportunities for applications to be made to limit the prosecution evidence, or to dismiss a case, your criminal defense solicitor will ensure that these are put into place. Your criminal defense solicitor will also be there to listen to any last-minute worries or concerns that you may have before the trial takes place. If there is any new evidence to be taken into consideration, they will make sure that this is highlighted as quickly as possible.

During a trial

Your criminal defense solicitor will be there to argue your case and to cross examine relevant witnesses. Depending on your plea, your solicitor will be working to clear you of charges, or to ensure that a fair punishment or sentence is given to you. They will do their best to make sure that a judge and jury, or bench of magistrates, put into perspective the allegation that you have been accused of, and take full account of any remorse, rehabilitation or personal circumstances that are relevant to your sentencing.

After a trial

If your trial was not successful, or if an unduly harsh sentence has been imposed, depending on the circumstances of your case, your criminal defense solicitor will advise you fully about appeals and where appropriate will begin the appeal process.

How to Obtain a Court-Appointed Defense Lawyer

If you’re facing criminal charges and are unable to afford a private defense attorney, you may qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. After all, one of the foundations of our legal system is that every criminal defendant has the right to legal representation. Some private criminal defense attorneys charge hundreds of dollars per hour, while others are more affordable. If you’re unable to pay for your own attorney, you may be eligible for a lawyer who will work at the government’s expense. The opportunity to formally request one usually comes the first time you appear in front of a judge after your arrest, known as your arraignment. When the judge calls your case, the first question will be whether you’re represented by an attorney and, if not, whether you would like one appointed to your case. If you answer that you’d like one, the judge may ask you some financial questions or require you to complete an income-and-asset questionnaire, in order to verify that you truly don’t have the funds to hire your own attorney. It’s important to provide honest answers because false information can lead to a prosecution for perjury.

Local Rules and Partial Indigency

Each state, and sometimes each county, has its own rules for determining how to qualify for court-appointed counsel. The rules often take into account the seriousness of the alleged crime. So, even if you earn a decent wage and could hire a private attorney for a short misdemeanor case, a judge may determine that you’re eligible for a court-appointed lawyer if the charges against you are serious ones that are likely to require a significant number of billable hours by your attorney. If your income is not quite high enough to bear the expense of a private attorney and not quite low enough to qualify for a free government-paid lawyer, the judge may make a determination of “partial indigency.” This means that you’re eligible for a court-appointed lawyer but must reimburse the government for a portion of your costs of representation.

Seek Free Lawyer Consultations

Some attorneys will offer free consultations usually by phone or videoconference. You aren’t likely to come away feeling like you’re ready to try your first case, but even if it’s just a 15-minute call, you may at least get enough information to have a better sense of what legal morass you’re in for. You might also be able to get some direction as to who can help you for free or a bargain basement price.

Can I Go To Small Claims Court?

Unfortunately, this isn’t a viable option for everyone. For instance, you can’t go to small claims court if you’re trying to work out your financial affairs after a divorce. But if the stakes are fairly low where someone owes you money or is trying to collect money from you, and it isn’t worth risking lawyer fees, you might consider small claims court. Your home state will dictate how high the stakes are.

Identify Your Legal Problem and Use a Specialist

The first step in the process of finding an attorney is to understand the problem or issue facing you. The law has many different specialties and sub-specialties, and before you can accurately determine the best attorney to represent you, you need to determine what kind of lawyer is best suited to address and resolve your problem. During this initial phase, consult your general corporate lawyer or another trusted business advisor such as your accountant. Select a specialist to help you solve your problem. Lawyers today are as specialized as doctors. You would not ask your internist to perform open heart surgery. Likewise, you should not ask your general corporate lawyer to handle a wage and hour audit or an OSHA inspection. A specialist will know the latest developments and legal nuances applicable to your problem without charging you extra to be on the “cutting edge.” This up-to-the-minute knowledge is essential since it could be the marginal difference in winning or losing your case.

Make Sure the Attorney has the Right Experience

The appropriate level of experience is one of the most critical criteria in selecting a lawyer. You want a lawyer with a track record of success with your type of problem. Such a record of experience will increase the likelihood that the attorney can help to resolve your problem successfully. Obviously, length of service, number of cases in a particular specialty and geographic area and prior results are important matters to consider in evaluating the attorney’s “experience.” Along with experience comes knowledge of the adversaries and personalities involved in a case cumulative wisdom and perspective to evaluate risks and develop winning strategies related to a particular problem and confidence to steer you through the twists and turns of the legal process. Viewing the law firm’s website will also give you insight into the scope of the firm’s practice. Explore the website of each firm on your “short list” and Google the firm and individual attorneys.

Expect the Attorney to be a Good Communicator

Attorneys are paid to communicate with their adversaries and those sitting in judgment of their cases. Equally important however, is finding an attorney who can effectively communicate with you. You want an attorney who anticipates your questions and keeps you abreast of the developments in your case without you having to call first. The attorney should have the ability to communicate in an organized and understandable manner. The attorney should have a good “bedside manner” and have good judgment as to when in-person communications or e-mail is most appropriate. The attorney should also realize that over-communicating may be unnecessary and not cost-effective. When you are asked to make a decision or to act, the attorney needs to explain succinctly the options available to you, the practical and legal advantages and disadvantages of the different courses of actions and other matters relevant to your decision.

Consider the Attorney’s Professionalism

“Professionalism” is more than personality. It involves certain objective actions and behaviors that distinguish the best attorneys from those who are merely competent. “Professionalism” is more than personality. It involves certain objective actions and behaviors that distinguish the best attorneys from those who are merely competent. Among other things, you should expect a “professional” attorney to:
• Work zealously to protect your best interests
• Work efficiently and economically, using your resources as his own
• Return all telephone calls or client communications promptly
• Arrive at meetings on time and well-prepared
• Follow-up promptly and as appropriate
• Provide you with advice about alternative dispute resolution procedures
• Be respectful of everyone, regardless of their position, role or status
• Be neat and project the image of success appropriate for your business
• Behave appropriately in all situations
• Follow all applicable laws and ethical canons
• Not do anything that would create the appearance of impropriety
• The attorney should display a tireless passion to protect your interests. The best attorneys take ownership in your problem and devote themselves to finding winning solutions.

Reasons to Hire a Utah Attorney

Trusting your case to a local attorney has many advantages. Being convenient in travelling and communication terms, local attorneys also have familiarity with local court system and may have developed strong connections with local community. The key reasons of hiring a local attorney include:
• Being familiar with local and state laws: Each state is allowed to create, implement and enforce its own laws in additional to federal laws. When choosing an attorney, one of the most important things to consider is his/her deep knowledge of not only federal but also local or state laws. Local attorneys are more aware of every detail of the state law and thus, will know what button to push for each specific case.
• Knowing local court proceedings: Similar to states, each court has its own rules of practice. Some laws are more faithfully adhered to by one court and lesser applied by another one. A local attorney will most likely have previous experience with local courts which will endow him/her with the privilege of understanding the rules of the local court better than any visiting attorney. Besides, a local attorney can be a lot more familiar with filing deadlines and hours of operation of local courts.
• Having good connections: Local attorneys attend local mixers, conferences and social events which give them a chance to develop a rapport with other local judges and attorneys. They will also have good contacts with local police, prosecutors, expert witnesses, which can be effectively used to resolve the case in your favor. A local attorney will know the preferences of each judge as well, thus can decide what evidence will be more acceptable for the very judge.
• Valuing good reputation in the community: Creating and maintaining solid reputation will provide long-term trust and respect for a lawyer in the community. That is why local attorneys will do their best to maintain good reputation in their local court. Otherwise, this is rarely true for non-local attorneys, who may never appear in the court again.
• Skipping some out-of-pocket expenses: When you hire a non-local attorney, note that the travelling costs will be charged to you. That can include travelling tickets, hotel costs, and meals. While, hiring a local attorney you will not have to incur that expense.

Utah Defense Lawyers

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Charge DUI

Charge DUI

An arrest for Driving under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can be scary and stressful, but knowing what to expect from the legal process can help in dealing with a DUI charge. DUI laws are governed by state law, so details may differ depending on where you were charged and also whether you are a minor, but what follows is a general overview of what you need to know if you’re facing DUI charges for a first offense that didn’t involve either bodily injury or death. In an average year, over one million drivers will be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. After a motorist is arrested on suspicion of a DUI, it’s up to the district attorney’s office to file charges against the defendant. The exact nature of criminal charges related to drunk driving depends on a number of factors, including the defendant’s prior convictions, the severity of the offense, the level of intoxication, and whether the offense caused injury or death.

DUI Charges and Penalties

• Determining Intoxication: DUI laws are aimed at preventing motorists from getting behind the wheel in an impaired state. And law enforcement officers in every state use similar tools to enforce DUI laws and detect impairment—things like DUI checkpoints, field sobriety tests (FSTs), breathalyzers, and blood tests. But when it comes to how impairment is defined, there are commonalities and differences among the states.
• Drugs and Alcohol: Generally, DUI laws apply whether the driver’s impairment was due to alcohol or some other substance. So, you can be charged with DUI for driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two. And it typically doesn’t matter if the drug ingested was illegal, over-the-counter medication, or prescribed by a doctor—if the motorist was impaired, lawful use generally isn’t a defense to DUI charges.
• “Per Se” Intoxication: All states have “per se” DUI laws. Generally, these laws make it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. (But how many drinks it takes to hit the legal limit vary depending on a number factor.) The only exception being Utah, which currently has a per se limit of .05%. Some states also have drug per se DUI laws. In states that have these laws, motorists can be convicted of DUI for having a certain amount of drugs their bodies. Per se drug DUI laws typically apply only to illegal drug use. So, if you have a prescription for a medication, you can be convicted of DUI only if you’re actually impaired.
• Impairment: DUI laws in every jurisdiction also prohibit driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances. However, impairment DUI laws differ in how they define impairment. In some states, a driver is considered impaired if affected even to the slightest degree by drugs or alcohol. But in other states, the alcohol or drugs ingested must have a substantial effect for the motorist to be guilty of DUI.

Penalties

Depending on the circumstances, a DUI can be either a misdemeanor or felony—meaning the potential penalties will differ significantly based on the facts of the case. Penalties will also differ depending on the state in which the crime is charged. Nevertheless, DUI convictions will typically bring one or more of the following penalties.
• Prison or jail: It’s very common for someone convicted of a DUI to have to serve at least some time in jail. Misdemeanor charges generally can result in up to a year in jail, while a year or more in the state prison is possible for anyone convicted of a felony DUI.
• Fines: In addition to incarceration, someone convicted of DUI will also likely have to pay a fine. Fine amounts differ widely, ranging from a few hundred dollars for first-time misdemeanor convictions to up to $10,000 or more for a felony conviction.
• Probation: In many DUI cases, the judge sentences the offender to complete a term of probation. Probation usually lasts at least 12 months, but terms of probation of up to three years or more are also possible. While on probation you must agree to abide by a range of court required conditions. If you fail to meet these obligations, the court can impose additional penalties. Probation conditions differ but might involve meeting regularly with a probation officer, agreeing to submit to random drug and alcohol testing, completing a substance abuse program, and not committing crimes or drunk driving offenses during probation.
• License suspension. A DUI arrest—even if you’re never convicted in criminal court often leads to an administrative license suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Depending on the circumstances, administrative suspensions typically range from three months to several years. And if you are ultimately convicted of DUI in court, the judge will likely impose a license suspension of about the same length. However, the suspensions are often allowed to overlap—meaning the motorist doesn’t have to complete the cumulative total of the two suspensions.

Obtain Legal Advice from a Local Attorney

Even though DUI charges are fairly common in any jurisdiction, these crimes can be very complicated and involve questions about evidence, procedure, and legal precedent. Because each state has a slightly different DUI law, anyone charged with this crime needs to speak to a local criminal defense attorney. These lawyers will not only be experienced with the relevant laws but will also have experience with area courts, prosecutors, as well as the procedures local police use when investigating DUI crimes. You need to speak to a local defense attorney as soon as you are charged with any DUI crime. If you delay, even a short amount of time, this can seriously affect your case and your ability to defend against the charges. Most people who get arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) would ideally like to avoid being convicted. A DUI conviction generally leads to severe consequences (that might include license suspension, jail time, and fines) and can affect your employment and educational opportunities. However, the probability of getting a DUI charge dropped depends on the specific circumstances of your case. In most cases, a complete dismissal of a DUI charge isn’t going to happen. But there are often ways of eliminating or minimizing some of the consequences of a DUI.

Plea Negotiations with the Prosecution

Most DUI cases are resolved through the plea-bargaining process. Plea bargaining typically involves the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a DUI charge in exchange for less severe penalties than could result otherwise. In some cases, negotiations with the prosecutor could result in dismissal of a DUI charge altogether. But the chances of this happening are generally slim. Sometimes police will arrest a person for a DUI and the prosecutor decides there’s insufficient evidence to pursue charges. But once prosecutors decide there is enough evidence and file a DUI charge, it can be tricky to convince them to change their minds. However, the likelihood of getting a DUI charge dropped is probably better in cases that involve significant mitigating factors. For example, factors like:
• having no prior DUIs or criminal convictions
• having a low blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
• being under the influence due to prescription medication, and
• Being a product citizen.

Ways of Avoiding a Criminal Conviction

For many people, one of the most troubling issues with a DUI is having a criminal conviction on their record. Some states have programs—typically, for first offenders—that allow DUI offenders to avoid a DUI criminal conviction if they abide by certain conditions. These programs might be referred to as “DUI diversion,” “DUI court,” or some other name. But they generally require the participants to complete some sort of drug and alcohol education or treatment and agree to drug or alcohol testing for a period of time. For participates who successfully complete their program, the court dismissed the DUI charge—meaning, there’s no criminal conviction.

Statute of Limitations for DUI Charges

DUI charges often have a specific time limit to try and attempt to convict the individual arrested by police for suspicion of the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving. The timeframe often depends greatly on the state, but it could extend based on special consideration by the judge or the factors of the case such as when the evidence is still in the process of collection. It is important to hire a lawyer to help with DUI charges. These are often simple misdemeanor charges, but some charges may elevate to the felony level depending on the case factors. The lawyer may help mitigate the damage of these charges and extend the time of the case to the point that the charges may exceed the usual statute of limitations. The general time may restrict prosecution to two years from the original date of arrest. However, some states have less or more time to ensure the courts may attempt to convict the person. Some states will only have one year from the date of arrest to file charges in the courts and proceed with the case. These time limits may exceed if the prosecution does not have the sufficient evidence to proceed with the DUI charges. Others may not charge the person until there is enough valid information about the situation and all factors. These limits usually only apply to non-felony DUI charges. If there are any other crimes that occur at the same time or aggravating factors, the charges may rise to the felony level. At this point, the time limit may disappear or extend significantly.

Waiting to File Charges

Generally, the prosecuting lawyer will file the charges with the first court date for DUI matters. However, there are other times when this prosecuting legal professional will need to wait. This may occur from analysis of blood panels, urine samples or when the blood alcohol level is close to but below the 0.08 percent limit. Some prosecutors become busy with backlogged cases and paperwork. Upon the first court date, the defendant will learn if the lawyer filed the charges or if there is an update waiting for a later time. This update may arrive by mail when or if the prosecutor will file charges for the DUI.

The DUI Case and the Mistake

There are many defendants that believe the statute of limitations passes because the prosecution failed to take the person to court in the time limit for the state. However, this statute only applies to charges filed not prosecuting the matter. The mistake does not understand that the case may still proceed in the future. The lawyer may not take the person to court for the case in the time limit, but he or she may already file the charges within the one- or two-year restriction. Failure to appear in court when necessary based on updated information could lead to a warrant for arrest or other penalties.

The Lack of Statute of Limitations

Some states may not run on a timeframe to pursue a DUI charge against a person. The laws of the state may protect the law enforcement agencies in arrests and help to progress the case through a prosecutor that provides him or her sufficient time to take the person to court. In the states that disregard this concept, the person may face charges filed immediately or wait until multiple years pass before getting an update about the possible court case for the DUI. In some cases, one state may require another to use certain penalties when the convicted person moves.

The Possible Consequences of the Conviction

Some simple consequences of the DUI conviction include the temporary loss of a driver’s license through suspension, fines and jail time. Others may increase to ignition interlock systems that require the person to breathe into the machine before driving. If the person behind the wheel does not have a BAC lower than the limit and in some cases much lower than the 0.08 percent, he or she cannot drive until the BAC decreases or a certain amount of time passes.

Reasons DUI Criminal Charges May Be Dismissed Before Trial

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges can be dismissed before the actual trial begins. Sometimes, the prosecution may dismiss the case on their own because of known defects in their case. Usually, DUI cases are dismissed because of persuasive criminal defense lawyer arguments and motions. Defendants should regularly plead not guilty to DUI charges because often the police failed to follow proper procedure, the district attorney doesn’t have the evidence needed to prove a conviction, or the prosecution knows there’s a reasonable likelihood of acquittal if the case does go to trial. The prosecutor is the main person who drops or dismisses the charge. Judges can authorize dismissals too. The end result for the client is that he/she is free to continue their life without worrying about a criminal record or a court case.

Common reasons charges are dismissed in DUI case

Each criminal case is different. DUI cases generally depend on the police following proper procedures and on the results of any chemical tests.
DUI charges should be dropped:
• If the police did not have proper grounds to stop your vehicle. The police can stop you if they reasonably believe you have committed a traffic violation such as speeding or running through a red light. They can also stop you if they see that your driving poses a danger to others – such as weaving in and out of lanes. If you were following the laws and driving with the flow of traffic – then normally the police don’t have the right to stop you.
• Illegal searches and seizures. Police cannot search your vehicle for signs of alcohol containers or evidence of drinking unless they have probable cause or unless they obtain a warrant. Most offices don’t obtain warrants in DUI arrests – so whether they had probable cause to search the vehicle is a critical issue. Illegal searches and seizures violate the Fourth Amendment.
• Illegal field sobriety tests. There are specific field sobriety tests officers should give and specific ways they should give them. If the tests are invalid, the arrest may be invalid.
• Illegal chemical tests. While drivers generally consent to blood or breath tests, officers still need to explain what rights a suspect has. Testing machines must be inspected regularly. The chain of custody of the test and test results can’t be broken before trial.
• Failing to advise you of your right to speak with a lawyer. Defendants are entitled to be told they can speak with an attorney after they’ve been arrested.
• A stop or search was unconstitutional or illegal for other reasons. For example, roadside sobriety checkpoints are supposed to alert drivers to where the roadblocks will be ahead of time.

DUI Lawyer

When you need legal help with a DUI in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

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