Category Archives: Criminal Law

Utah Sex Offender Lawyer

Utah Sex Offender Lawyer

Society and policy makers have long struggled with finding effective ways to protect the public from sex offenders. A sex offender is a person who’s been convicted of certain sex crimes, such as sexual assault or sexual conduct with a minor. Because of the seriousness of sex offenses, a number of factors come into play when it comes to sentencing and penalties for sex offenders at both the state and federal levels. The definition of a sex crime differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, there are core offenses that are common to most jurisdictions, but some states outlaw additional particular acts. The common sex offenses fall into the following categories:
• Crimes against adults: rape, sexual assault and marital rape
• Crimes against relatives: incest
• Crimes against children: pornography, exploitation, molestation, abduction
• Crimes against nature: indecent exposure, sodomy, bestiality
• Crimes against sex for sale: prostitution

Most states have a long list of items that are considered sex offenses. Some of the included items are intuitive and others have been included to address particular problems. More recently, states have begun to define certain behaviors in conjunction with the internet or the electronic transfer of data. In addition to explicit acts, states now make the failure to register as a sex offender or violations of the sex register statutes as sex offenses.

Sex Offenses: State vs. Federal Law

Most offenses involving criminal sexual conduct fall within the jurisdiction of state law, but federal law also includes a number of sexual offenses. The offenses are found in Title 18 of the United States Code. Some of the federal offenses specifically apply to sexual offenses committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a federal prison. Other crimes involve offenders who cross state or international borders to commit, or in the commission, of a sexual offense. Federal sexual offenses focus on offenses involving children, production of prohibited pornography and interstate travel for the purposes of prohibited sexual activity. Some of these statutes include:

• Selling or buying of children
• Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, including both distribution and receipt of visual depictions in books, magazines, periodicals, films, and videotapes
• Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography
• Transporting an individual in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent that the individual engage in prostitution or other illegal sexual activity
• Interstate or foreign travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile
• Use of interstate facilities to transmit information about an individual under the age of 16, with “the intent to entice, encourage, offer, or solicit that minor to engage in any sexual activity that can be charged as a criminal offense.”

Sex Offense Penalties and Sentencing

As with any criminal offense, the nature, circumstances, and the parties involved control the seriousness of the sentences and penalties that may be imposed. The states vary widely in the length of sentence terms. Any sexual offense involving children or violence will have a harsh sentence. For instance, violations of the federal statutes involving sexual exploitation of children have a minimum sentence of 15 years. Charges of first degree rape or sexual assault will be punished by 15 years to life imprisonment, depending on the state and the circumstances of the crime.

Sexual Offender Registry

States and the Federal government have both established sex offender registries. These are databases of information about convicted sex offenders. They require persons convicted of sex crimes to list themselves on the registry, failing to do so is considered a sex offense. The statutes establishing the registries also have compliance requirements about not living too close to schools and notifying officials when they move. Again, failure to abide by the registry requirements is a sex offense.

Who Must Register as a Sex Offender?

Typically, an individual who has been convicted of specified sex offenses and offenses against children must register as a sex offender. This registration is done at the law enforcement agency in the city or town where he lives immediately after being released into the community. He usually must re-register every year (sometimes more frequently) and whenever he moves. Failure to register is generally considered its own criminal offense. The information an offender must provide at registration can vary, but may include his name, date of birth, social security number, addresses, photograph, vehicle information, offense information, fingerprints, DNA sample, and more. Some of this information will appear on the sex offender website, but not all will be made available to the public. In some cases, depending on the offense and the jurisdiction, an offender may be required to register with law enforcement, but be able to prevent any information about him from being publicly posted. Similarly, it’s possible in certain circumstances to petition to have one’s name entirely removed from the registry. Registering as a sex offender, typically makes certain information publicly available. The information that is available to view by the public will vary by jurisdiction, but typically includes the following:
• Name and aliases
• Current address
• Offense(s)
• Photograph
The website may also provide a physical description (height, weight, etc.), date of birth, additional information about the offense including statutes violated and date of offense, and more. If you’ve been convicted of an offense requiring registration with your state’s database, you’ll need to make sure that you’re meeting all of your obligations under the law. As mentioned above, failure to do so could constitute a separate criminal violation and maybe land you back in prison.

Risk Levels for Sex Offenders in Utah

In Utah, sex offenders that are required to register with the state are assigned to one of these three primary levels of risk:
• Level One: Is mostly assigned to the people who have the lowest risk of reoffending.
• Level Two: This is for people who have a moderate risk of reoffending.
• Level Three: These people are deemed the highest risk of reoffending and of being a potential threat to public safety in their community.
Level one sex offenders must register with the sheriff in the county in which they live. The sheriff’s office keeps the offender’s records and may provide notice to the people who live with the sex offender. Level two offenders are deemed to be at risk of reoffending but do not have a high of a risk as level three sex offenders. If you are level two risk, you must register with the sheriff’s department of your county. The sheriff is then obligated to notify homes, schools, and community groups in your neighborhood as well as your employer. Level three sex offenders have the highest risk of reoffending. If you are a level three risk, your registration is mandatory. People who live in the neighborhoods that surround yours will be notified that you live in their area. Flyers also will be handed out to homes, schools, and community groups with your picture, name, address and criminal history. The sheriff will also send press releases to the local newspapers and television stations. Finally, your employer will be notified as well. According to federal law, sex offenders have to register with the state authorities and also update their registration at certain intervals. The duration of this will depend on the severity of the person’s offense. If the individual fails to register or to renew their registration, it can result in them having to go back to prison. The information about the sex offender is also typically made public in the community. In addition to the normal parole or probation requirements and behavioral restrictions, there may also be limitations on where a registered sex offender can live. In most case, this will relate to anywhere close to groups of children, such as recreation centers or schools. These residency restrictions may impact the decision to get married and possibly even the relationship if their partner has children.
Consequences of Being on the Sex Offender Registry
No matter what the cause of the sex offense charge, once you’re convicted you’re branded a sexual offender. You will be required to register and remain registered until the court states otherwise (in some cases you may be required to stay registered for life). However, even if your registration is temporary, the label, and consequences of that label, will remain.
Some of the consequences include:
• Registering requirements. Although the sex offender registry was initially created for federal use, each state now has its own database in which to keep track of registered citizens. This means that every time you relocate to a different state you’ll be required to re-register on their database as well as become subject to that state’s laws regarding sex offenders.

• Restricted residency. Most states prohibit sex offenders from living within a certain distance of gathering places for children such as parks, schools, daycare centers, and playgrounds. As a result, it may be difficult to find housing that meets all of your requirements while also taking your personal needs into account.
• Restricted employment. In addition to housing restrictions, most states also limit where a sex offender can work. For instance, anywhere near the following places may be restricted: schools, clothing stores (with changing rooms), salons or spas, as well as in positions of power over someone else (doctor, psychiatrist, etc.).
• Loss of child custody. No matter what your conviction was for, if registered as a sex offender your ex can use the registration as a reason to deny you custody of your children, stating that you may be a danger to your own child
• Decreased privacy. Since the registry is meant to keep tabs on past offenders, privacy is extremely limited.
• Bias, prejudice, and intolerance. Once convicted and registered, family, friends, and acquaintances may view you as a threat or at the very least an outcast. Some may even become withdrawn or abusive (mentally and physically).

The Criminal Appeals Process

On appeal, defendants are limited to presenting issues that were raised at trial. That means the appellant can argue on appeal only about issues that were presented at the trial. For example, if a defendant or defendant’s counsel argued unsuccessfully at trial that a witness’s identification should not be admitted because a police officer pressured the witness to identify the defendant, then the defendant can raise the same argument on appeal and ask the appellate court to review the trial judge’s ruling on that evidence. However, a defendant cannot argue in the appeal that he should have been able to present evidence that eyewitness identifications are unreliable if he did not ask the trial judge to allow him to present that kind of evidence.

Common issues raised on appeal

• rulings by the trial court to allow or not allow certain evidence to be presented
• rulings on other pre-trial motions
• who was allowed or not allowed to be on the jury
• the instructions given to the jury, and
• claims that the prosecutor’s arguments were inappropriate and unfair.
Even if an appellant is able to show that an error occurred at trial, the conviction will not be overturned unless the error impacts a “substantial right” of the defendant, such as the right to confront a witness who testified against the defendant. For example, even if the court finds that the prosecutor made some inappropriate remarks during closing argument that unfairly prejudiced the defendant, if there was enough evidence to prove the defendant was guilty, the verdict is not likely to be overturned. The rationale is that defendants are entitled to fair trials but not perfect trials. Lawyers call these errors “harmless errors,” because although they were mistakes, their impact was minor when compared with other, counterbalancing evidence of guilt

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.

Sex Offender Lawyer in Utah

When you need legal help from a Sex Offender Lawyer, 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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DUI Lawyer Utah

DUI Lawyer Utah

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) in Utah is certainly no joke. In the event you are pulled over and are charged, you should be aware of your rights. You must be knowledgeable of the officer’s conduct and the appropriate steps that need to be taken. In most states, DUI is considered a lesser offense to DWI. A DUI charge implies that a driver is unfit to handle a motor vehicle as a result of illegal drug use as opposed to alcohol. Nevertheless, both are serious offenses, and it is important to hire an attorney that is specialized to handle your case. With a DWI charge, you may face more serious consequences, but qualified attorneys that have experience in these cases may be able to reduce the charge to a DUI.

More importantly, it is imperative to hire a lawyer that specializes in DWI/DUI cases because other attorneys may not have experience in this field. Locating an experienced lawyer in Utah is a pivotal first step, and failing to do so can have irreversible consequences. When searching for a DWI/DUI lawyer, a background check is a necessary step. You need to know whether or not a lawyer is reputable, his or her caseload history, years of experience handling DWI/DUI cases, and success rates. If you have hired a local Utah attorney to handle your other affairs, he or she can refer you to the best representatives available. You need an attorney who has a strong reputation in the community and who comes highly recommended by others in the field. In addition, you need to select a lawyer who acknowledges your rights and is sympathetic to your case, whether or not you are guilty of charges. Next, you need to create a list of prospective local Utah lawyer/attorneys, and meet with each of them individually so that they can evaluate your case and provide you with consultations. A face to face meeting enables you to determine if a specific lawyer is right for you. Most initial consultation services are free of charge, and qualified attorneys can provide you with options or refer you to other individuals more suitable for your case. Once an attorney has been selected, he or she researches the event, gathers details that serve to disprove charges, and guides you through further processes that need to occur. You must provide your attorney with detailed, accurate information. While small details may seem irrelevant, they may provide your attorney with valid evidence useful for your case. For example, if a police officer does not provide you with substantial reasons for pulling you over, this is evidence that can be used in your favor in court.

There are specific driving patterns police officers must adhere to when accusing an individual with DUI or DWI. Speeding, for example, does not justify a DUI/DWI charge. Your attorney should be aware of the proper conduct that police officers are expected to uphold under the law. After reenacting the scene and providing crucial details, an attorney may need to conduct further research relative to your driving records, previous offenses, and may even have to look into your health records. If you consented to a breathalyzer test and had blood alcohol content (BAC) reading of at least .08 percent, your lawyer may have to take more drastic measures. A Utah DWI lawyer might decide that the evidence the arresting officer submitted was not substantial, and he or she may choose to have the tools analyzed for accuracy and malfunctions. If you have an illness such as diabetes or are taking prescription medications for health reasons, a lawyer may be able to discredit breathalyzer test results. If this is a first time offense, rather than claiming innocence, a Utah DWI lawyer may encourage you to plead guilty and work towards reducing the charge to a DUI. Overall, every detail provided to your attorney can impact the outcome of your case. Therefore, accurate and honest accounts are imperative. Whether you are guilty or innocent of charges, courts are expected to protect your civil rights.

Utah DUI Laws

Diving under the influence (DUI), also referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) in some states, is a serious offense across the United States. Under Utah’s DUI laws, anyone in physical control of a vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% or higher has committed a DUI offense. Utah’s DUI statutes also make it illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any drug that prohibits the offender from safely operating a vehicle.

The following provides a brief overview of Utah’s DUI laws.

Utah Code section 41-6a-502 & 41-6a-503: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Drugs, or a Combination of Both. Operating (or being in physical control of) a vehicle within Utah if the offender:
• Has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.05 grams or greater at the time that the test is administered
• Is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the driver incapable of safely operating a vehicle, or
• Has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.05 grams or greater at the time of operation or actual physical control of the vehicle

Utah DUI Penalties

A first or second DUI offense is generally a Class B misdemeanor. However, if the offender falls under any of the classifications below then the offense is a Class A misdemeanor:
• Has also inflicted bodily injury upon another as a proximate result of driving under the influence
• Has a passenger under 16 years old in the vehicle at the time of the offense, or
• Is 21 years old or older and has a passenger under 18 years old in the vehicle at the time of the offense
Third degree felony if:
• The offender inflicts serious bodily injury upon another as a proximate result of operating the vehicle in a negligent manner
• The offender has two or more prior DUI convictions within the previous 10 years, or
• If the offender was previously convicted of automobile homicide, or a felony DUI
Felony and Misdemeanor Penalties in Utah
• Third degree felony: Punishable by up to five years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
• Class A misdemeanor: Punishable by up to one year in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
• Class B misdemeanor: Punishable by up to six months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Revoked or Suspended Drivers License

If the offender is 21 years old or older at the time of the DUI offense, then the offender’s license will be suspended for 120 days. If the offender has a prior DUI conviction within the last 10 years then the offender’s drivers license will be revoked for two years. If the offender is between 19 and 21 years old then their license will be suspended until the offender turns 21 or for a period of one year, whichever is longer.

First-Offense DUI in Utah

In Utah, it’s illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Generally, you can be convicted of DUI if you drive:
• while “incapable of safely operating a vehicle” due to drugs or alcohol, or
• with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05% or more (“per se” alcohol DUI).
Typically, a driver who’s convicted of a first DUI is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. However, a first DUI is generally a class A misdemeanor if the driver caused bodily injury to another, had a passenger under 16 years old, or was 21 years or older and had a passenger under 18 years old.
Felony DUIs
Utah’s felony DUI law imposes stiffer penalties for certain DUI offenses. A DUI is a third-degree felony when the offender drives under the influence:
• having been convicted of two prior DUIs within the past 120 months (read about third-offense DUIs in Utah) and causes serious bodily injury to another, or
• having been convicted of a prior felony DUI or automobile homicide committed after July 1, 2001.

Utah DUI Administrative Penalties

“Administrative penalties” are those imposed by the Utah Driver License Division (DLD). These penalties are triggered by a DUI arrest (as opposed to a conviction in court). For a first DUI, the administrative penalties include:
• Per se alcohol and per se drug DUI. Drivers arrested for per se DUI will have their license suspended for 120 days. But if the criminal DUI charges are later dismissed before the suspension period ends, immediate license reinstatement is possible.
• Chemical-test refusals. Motorists who refuse a chemical test in violation of Utah’s implied consent law face an 18-month revocation of their driving privileges. Penalties are even stiffer for motorists who refuse and have already had their license suspended or revoked from a previous DUI conviction or arrest in the last ten years. These drivers face a three-year revocation. Also, a prosecutor can use a refusal as evidence of guilt in court.
At the time of your arrest, the officer will confiscate your driver license and issue a citation that serves as a temporary license for 29 days. If you don’t request a hearing within 10 days of the arrest, you forfeit your right to challenge the above administrative suspensions. And if you are later convicted in criminal court of DUI, the DLD will suspend your license for an additional 120 days.

24/7 Sobriety Programs

Until recently, successfully challenging a suspension at your administrative hearing or obtaining a dismissal of DUI charges was the only way to shorten a license suspension. Now, Utah has a “24/7 Sobriety Program” that allows drivers to get their license back more quickly. Utah’s 24-7 Sobriety Program requires you to:
• abstain from alcohol and drugs
• submit to random drug testing
• submit to alcohol testing twice daily at a testing facility, and
• wear a device that continuously monitors for alcohol consumption (sometimes called a “SCRAM” bracelet).
If you successfully complete this program, the judge can shorten the suspension period triggered by a DUI conviction. However, because this program is still new, it isn’t yet available in all areas.

Aggravating Factors In Utah DUI

You’re on your way home from a friend’s birthday party, and all of a sudden you see flashing lights behind you. You might have only had a few drinks, but your BAC is just a little too high and you end up getting a DUI. While this is certainly not an ideal situation, it actually could be much worse. In the state of Utah, a typical DUI can turn into what’s known as an aggravated DUI if there are certain elements at play. A few of these factors are discussed below, and can turn a bad situation even worse.

Multiple DUIs on your record

In Utah, getting a single DUI is considered a misdemeanor, and can include penalties and the suspension of your license. To discourage people from driving under the influence, each DUI comes with an increasingly harsher punishment. If you are getting arrested for a DUI, and it’s your third one within the last ten years, the state will turn your offense from a misdemeanor into a felony. A felony conviction automatically brings jail time into the equation, and also includes hefty fines.

Young passengers in the car

There’s no question that driving under the influence poses a danger to you and all of those around you on the road. However, if you are convicted of a DUI and you had a minor in the car while you were driving, your penalties will be more severe. Each state is different when it comes to setting the age at which passengers must be, but for Utah specifically, anyone in the car under the age of 16 will cause law enforcement to handle the situation as an aggravated offense.

Excessive blood alcohol concentration

For you to be considered safe to drive, your blood alcohol concentration must be below .08. Anything at or over that level will earn you a DUI. However, if you have been drinking an exorbitant amount, and your BAC tests at .16 or higher, you will be charged with what is known as an enhanced penalty DUI. This basically means that your blood alcohol level was so high, it is considered to be an aggravated situation. Because you were so severely impaired while driving, your consequences will be much higher.

Crashing your vehicle or injuring others

Naturally, driving under the influence is taken very seriously and measures are put in place to ensure you don’t repeat the same mistake. Yet if you are driving while drunk and you injure another person or cause serious property damage with your vehicle, your fines and license suspension will increase exponentially. Instead of being a danger only to yourself, you are now a danger to others, and you will be penalized as such. If the damage or harm is severe enough, you might even face jail time.

DUI Judicial Procedures

In Utah, the drunk driving law prohibits a person from driving when they have a BAC of .08% or higher. Courts are required to order the installation and monitoring of an interlock device for any driver whose BAC levels are .08% or higher, even if a first offense.

License Revocation, Fines and Jail

• First Offense – Misdemeanor: minimum $700 fine plus surcharge, not less than 48 consecutive hours in jail OR 48 hours compensatory service work program OR electronically monitored house arrest, 120 days license suspension, drug and/or alcohol assessment and screening and possible education or treatment as required, and will become alcohol restricted driver for 2 years (driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in the system will be an offense). Possible ignition interlock restriction required as a condition of probation for a time period determined by the courts (3 years if under 21 years old).
• Second Offense – Misdemeanor: minimum $800 fine plus surcharge, minimum 240 hours in jail OR 240 hours compensatory service work program OR electronically monitored house arrest, 2 years license revocation, drug and/or alcohol assessment and screening and possible education or treatment as required, and will become alcohol restricted driver for 10 years (driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in the system will be an offense). Ignition interlock restriction required as a condition of probation for a time period determined by the courts (3 years if under 21 years old).
• Third and Subsequent Offense – Felony: minimum $1,500 fine plus surcharge, up to 5 years in jail, 2 years license revocation, ignition interlock restriction required as a condition of probation for a time period determined by the courts (3 years if under 21 years old), drug and/or alcohol assessment and screening, mandatory 240 hours inpatient treatment and aftercare, and will become alcohol restricted driver for 10 years (driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in the system will be an offense).

Reasons for Suspension or Revocation

Too many traffic violations, an alcohol offense, and certain criminal convictions are just some of the reasons that your license may be suspended or revoked in Utah. Utah operates a points-based system for determining when your driver’s license should be suspended. Points are assessed against your license for each traffic violation, and your license may be suspended when you accrue a certain number of points.
Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked for alcohol offenses. They include:
• a conviction for driving under the influence or when your blood alcohol content is greater than .08, and
• failing a chemical test to determine whether you are driving under the influence.
Your license may be suspended or revoked for certain other criminal convictions. They include:
• manslaughter or negligent homicide, if you were driving a motor vehicle, or automobile homicide
• two charges of reckless driving, impaired driving, or a combination committed within 12 months
• certain felonies relating to driving laws, or a felony when a vehicle was used to commit it
• failing to stop if you are involved in an accident that kills or injures someone, and
• engaging in a speed contest.
Your license may also be suspended or revoked if you:
• drive recklessly or unlawfully and cause an accident that injures or kills someone or causes serious property damage
• are incompetent to drive a motor vehicle
• use a false driver’s license
• have been convicted frequently enough of serious traffic violations that the state believes you disrespect traffic laws and disregard safety
• fail to comply with a traffic citations in certain circumstances, or
• have an outstanding unpaid fine, an outstanding incomplete restitution requirement, or an outstanding warrant.

Utah DUI Lawyer

When you need a free consultation for 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

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Utah Sex Offender Attorney

Utah Sex Offender Attorney

Perhaps one of the most devastating consequences of being convicted of a sex crime in Utah is being required to register with your local police department or sheriff’s station and put on the sex offender registry pursuant. If you are convicted of a sex crime in Utah, you will likely be required to register under the sex offender registry pursuant to Penal Code Section 290. This is a lifetime requirement. That means while living in Utah, you must register as a sex offender for the rest of your life unless and until you receive legal relief from this requirement. Being labeled a sex offender could impact your entire life. Your reputation in the community will be tarnished and you may find it difficult to find and maintain employment. You may be required to stay away from certain areas, such as schools and parks, and you could lose your professional license if you are a doctor, lawyer or other licensed professional. That is why it is so important to hire an experienced sex offender attorney to help you relieve your requirement to register and clear your name. If you face allegations of a sexual assault or another sex crime, your freedom is on the line. You likely have more questions than answers right now, wondering things like how to beat a sexual assault charge or how to beat a false rape accusation. Sex crimes charges are frightening, and a conviction will change your life forever by branding you as a sex offender. As you think about your future and begin identifying your legal options, it is important to remember one thing: It is possible to beat a sex crime charge. There are many components to a successful defense, but the following are the keys you need to consider.

• Hire An Attorney With Experience: You only get one chance to defeat these damaging charges, and you cannot afford to leave that chance in the hands of an attorney who is figuring things out as he or she goes along. We have experience taking these cases to trial and achieving the best possible outcome for people facing charges such as sexual battery, pornography possession and sexual exploitation.

• Do Not Talk About Your Case With Anyone Before You Talk To Your Attorney: You have nothing to gain by trying to go out and defend your reputation on your own, confronting accusers or even cooperating with a police investigation. Even if you have done nothing wrong, there are significant risks to speaking without counsel present.

• Do Not Wait For Charges: If your charges were a surprise, that is okay; a lawyer can help you. But if you believe you are under investigation or someone has accused you of a crime, do not wait for charges to be filed to get in touch with us. The sooner you have us working on your case, the sooner we can gather evidence, pursue a dismissal, negotiate a plea or prepare for a possible trial.

Many sex offenses fall under state jurisdictions, but several offenses are also covered by federal law. Offenses often fall into categories such as abuse, molestation, or exploitation of a minor, sexual conduct with a minor, indecent exposure or lewd acts, and sexual assault. Attempted offenses are also prosecuted. Also, failing to register as a sex offender and violating Sex Offender Registration statutes are prosecuted as sex offenses. According to the US Department of Justice, sex offenders must register if convicted of any of the following offenses:

• Having or receiving child pornography
• Falsely imprisoning a minor
• Video voyeurism of a minor
• Traveling or facilitating others’ travel when the intent of the travel is to engage in illicit conduct
• Transmitting information about a minor to further criminal sexual misconduct
• Using minors in prostitution and/or sex trafficking
• Enticing minors to engage in criminal sexual activity
• Engaging in a non-forced sexual act with a minor aged 16 or 17 years
• Producing or distributing child pornography
• Using minors in sexual performance
• A non-parent kidnapping a minor
• Sexual contact with minors under age 13
• Sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse of a minor, and abusive sexual contact with a minor under age 13

Sex Offender Registration and Other Legal Consequences

Convicted sex offenders face legal consequences such as jail or prison time and/or fines, depending on jurisdictional sentencing guidelines and the judge’s decision. Convicted sex offenders may also be required to register in national or jurisdictional databases. The length of time a person remains on a registry can vary by jurisdiction, crime, and sentencing requirements, and can range from a default minimum of 5 years to life. Sex offender registries make much of an offender’s personal information available to the public, though some information is prohibited from public availability. Prohibited information includes the victim’s identity, references to arrests not resulting in conviction, and the sex offender’s Social Security number and passport and immigration document numbers.
According to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), information about sex offenders that is made available to the public includes:
• The sex offender’s name and all aliases.
• The residential address(es) or other information about where the sex offender lives or will live.
• The address(es) of the sex offender’s work place(s).
• The address of place(s) where the sex offender is or will be a student.
• The license plate number and description of any vehicle owned or operated by the sex offender.
• A physical description of the sex offender.
• A current photograph of the sex offender.
• The text of the sex offense that resulted in registry as well as any other sex offense that has resulted in conviction.

Sex Offense Appeals

A person convicted of a sex crime can appeal the verdict or the sentence and have a higher court consider whether any errors occurred at trial or in sentencing that entitle the convicted person to a new trial, dismissal of the case, or a different sentence. A person, who is convicted of a crime, including a sex crime, can appeal the conviction or sentence. By filing an appeal, the convicted person asks an appellate court to review and overturn the judge or jury’s decision. A defendant who files an appeal is referred to as “the appellant” in the appeal process. An appeal is not a second trial. Appellants do not get to present witnesses and evidence and try to convince the appellate court judges that they are not guilty or should have been found not guilty. Winning an appeal on any of these grounds is an uphill battle, and most convictions are affirmed. But it is worthwhile to consult an experienced appellate attorney to review a conviction because, in some cases, errors do occur or the evidence is legally not strong enough to support the finding of guilt, and the decision is reversed. If an appellate court reverses the conviction, the appellant may get a new trial or the case may be dismissed. Sex crimes can include a broad range of criminal convictions, from very serious offenses, such as rape, sexual battery, child molestation, child pornography, and child enticement, to less serious offenses involving teen sexing, prostitution, and statutory rape. Like other criminal convictions, sex crimes can result in a jail or prison sentence, fines, and/or probation. Sex crimes also can result in lifetime mandatory sex offender registration.

Criminal Appeals Process

On appeal, defendants are limited to presenting issues that were raised at trial. That means the appellant can argue on appeal only about issues that were presented at the trial. For example, if a defendant or defendant’s counsel argued unsuccessfully at trial that a witness’s identification should not be admitted because a police officer pressured the witness to identify the defendant, then the defendant can raise the same argument on appeal and ask the appellate court to review the trial judge’s ruling on that evidence. However, a defendant cannot argue in the appeal that he should have been able to present evidence that eyewitness identifications are unreliable if he did not ask the trial judge to allow him to present that kind of evidence.

Common issues raised on appeal include

• rulings by the trial court to allow or not allow certain evidence to be presented
• rulings on other pre-trial motions
• who was allowed or not allowed to be on the jury
• the instructions given to the jury, and
• claims that the prosecutor’s arguments were inappropriate and unfair.

Even if an appellant is able to show that an error occurred at trial, the conviction will not be overturned unless the error impacts a “substantial right” of the defendant, such as the right to confront a witness who testified against the defendant. For example, even if the court finds that the prosecutor made some inappropriate remarks during closing argument that unfairly prejudiced the defendant, if there was enough evidence to prove the defendant was guilty, the verdict is not likely to be overturned. The rationale is that defendants are entitled to fair trials but not perfect trials. Lawyers call these errors “harmless errors,” because although they were mistakes, their impact was minor when compared with other, counterbalancing evidence of guilt

What if a defendant has a claim about evidence that should have been presented at trial, but was not? In that situation, a person convicted of a crime can file a “writ of habeas corpus.” A person who files a writ of habeas corpus is referred to as the “petitioner” in the habeas proceeding, which also is called a “post-conviction proceeding.” A petitioner can present many issues in the habeas proceeding that cannot be raised in an appeal, because a habeas proceeding is not limited to a review of arguments made during the trial. In fact, the main function of a habeas proceeding is to address issues that, for certain reasons were not addressed during the trial. For instance, in a habeas proceeding, a court can address new evidence that was not presented during the trial because it was not available to the defendant and defendant’s counsel or because they did not know the evidence existed. In a habeas proceeding, the petitioner files a petition for writ of habeas corpus with the trial court. If the court grants the petition, the defendant may be entitled to a new trial. If the court denies the petition, the petitioner can appeal the denial. The appeal of the habeas decision is separate from an appeal of the criminal conviction.
Common claims raised in post-conviction proceedings include:
• Juror misconduct. A petitioner might argue that he and his attorney learned after the trial that the jurors improperly conducted their own research on the evidence, which is not permitted in a criminal trial.
• Newly discovered evidence of innocence. Sometimes, new evidence (such as DNA test results) or a new witness becomes available after the trial is over.
• Failure of the prosecutor to turn over evidence of innocence. Known by the name of the appellant in a famous Supreme Court case, a Brady violation can involve witness statements or physical evidence that the prosecutor did not disclose to the defendant or the court.
• Ineffective assistance of counsel. Petitioners can argue that their lawyers’ shortcomings prevented them from having a trial that meets the requirements of due process. Such mistakes can include failing to investigate or present compelling and available evidence to the jury, or failing to prepare at all for the trial.

Sex Offender Registration

For many people, the most dire consequence of a sex crime conviction is sex offender registration. Registered offenders must make personal information, including their names, photos, and addresses, available to law enforcement agents, who may make the information available to the public, often via the Internet. Being a registered sex offender makes it difficult to find work or housing, among other things. A defendant can appeal a sentence that includes an order to register as a sex offender. To win this appeal, the defendant must show that the order to register was not required or permitted by the law governing his case. If the appeal is successful, the defendant will not have to register or can be removed from the sex offender registry if already registered.

Sealing or Expunging a Criminal Record

In many states, if you are convicted of a less serious crime and then have no arrests or criminal convictions for a number of years, you may be able to expunge (destroy) or seal (hide) your criminal record. Once your record is expunged or sealed, you can honestly answer “no” if you are asked if you have been convicted of a crime. However, whether it is possible to seal or expunge a conviction for a sex crime varies from state to state and most states have restrictions against expunging or sealing criminal records of violent sex crimes and sex crimes against children. Despite all of these restrictions, registered sex offenders are allowed to experience some freedoms. This is opposed to how their existence would be if they were still incarcerated. The difference can be very significant. For example, sex offenders allowed to:
• Work a steady job
• Attend training or licensing programs
• Pursue higher education
• Maintain relationships with friends and family
Although sex offenders may find themselves judged or ostracized by the community, they are allowed to see therapists and doctors for help. They are allowed to work on making the most of their freedom as opposed to lingering in a jail cell.

What Sex Offenders Can’t Do

The list of prohibited activities for registered sex offenders is very long and comprehensive. Sex offender registration means that a person has been deemed to be a potential danger to others. Some of the things that a registered sex offender isn’t allowed to do include:
• Live, work or commute in or near child safety zones
• Change address or employment without notifying supervision officer
• Be in possession of pornography or certain sexual materials
• Communicate with minors under age 17
• Communicate with former victims
Sex offenders are subject to all the usual restrictions of a conditional release or probation. This means that they can’t drink alcohol or use drugs, they can’t leave the county without notice and they must report any significant changes to their supervision officer. Registered sex offenders must also maintain a standard of living that is considered acceptable by the court. This means steady employment, a suitable living arrangement and enrollment in therapy.

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

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DUI 84602

DUI 84602

If you’ve been arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), or any other drunk driving-related offense, you should seek the legal advice of a DUI lawyer. A good DUI lawyer can help minimize or avoid severe penalties and consequences often associated with DUI. Knowing when to contact or hire a DUI attorney can make the difference between going to jail, losing your license, and getting a non-guilty or reduced plea verdict.

Why You Need a DUI Lawyer

A DUI arrest is a serious matter. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, there’s a good chance you’ll face jail time, have your license suspended, and/or pay hefty fines not to mention the potential hardships you may encounter at work, with your future career prospects, and personal relationships. In addition, if someone died as a result of your drunk driving, you will potentially have to deal with severe psychological issues as well. While some legal matters may be handled alone, a DUI arrest warrants the legal advice of a qualified DUI attorney or someone who knows how to handle the intricacies of your DUI case. And not just any criminal defense attorney will do. Because DUI laws are highly centralized and specific, DUI cases are best handled by experienced DUI attorneys or someone with specialized knowledge in this area, including knowledge of traffic laws, motor vehicle laws, and ignition interlock devices. Moreover, a good DUI attorney may challenge certain aspects of your DUI charge based on his or her specialized knowledge of breathalyzers, blood test, and chemical testing procedures. Therefore, you need a good DUI lawyer who can help guide you through the often confusing word of DUI.

What to Look for in a DUI Lawyer

Qualified DUI lawyers handle a variety of cases involving DUI arrests, DWI, and other drunk driving-related offenses. When looking for a DUI lawyer, you should concentrate on the lawyer’s expertise, skill level, commitment, and location or area served. For example, an experienced DUI attorney may help:
• reduce or eliminate jail time;
• eliminate a revoked license;
• reduce your DUI charge to a lesser offense, and/or
• avoid trial with a plea bargain.

How to Find a DUI Lawyer

There are numerous ways to find a DUI lawyer. Referrals from friends and family or online research may be a good start. However, not all websites are the same and unless you live in the same county as your friend or relative or have unlimited hours to spend online, you may wish to find a local DUI lawyer using one of several quality-assured lawyer directories.

Questions to Ask a DUI Lawyer

Before selecting a DUI lawyer, you should feel comfortable enough to speak with him or her concerning all aspects of your DUI or drunk-driving related charge. Below are some of the questions you should ask before hiring a DUI attorney.
• How much of your criminal defense practice is devoted to DUI/DWI cases?
• How much of my DUI case will you actually handle?
• How many DUI/DWI cases have you defended?
• Are you aware of the state’s breathalyzer requirements and/or loopholes?
• What are your attorney’s fees, and how are they calculated?

DUI Lawyer Fees

The cost of fighting a DUI charge will vary and depends on a number of factors. First, not all DUI attorneys are the same, and a good DUI lawyer will probably cost more than an average DUI lawyer. Second, DUI fees will likely vary according to geography, or where you live. Third, DUI charges are case specific and the fees will vary based on the amount of work needed to represent your case (for example, a first-offender vs. habitual offender). In all cases, it is wise to consult with a variety of DUI attorneys in your area to find one you feel comfortable with in representing you and get a sense of the cost involved in fighting your case.

Hire a DUI Lawyer to Help with Your Case

DUI defense is highly technical and depends heavily on the facts of the individual situation. A qualified local DUI attorney can provide invaluable assistance by reviewing your case and advising you on your options moving forward.

What to Say to the Judge

At sentencing, the judge will ask if you have anything you’d like to say regarding your case. Staying silent is one strategy, but it will neither hurt nor help your argument. Speaking up can change the game, but only if you say the right things.

Apologize To The Judge

All judges want to hear you be remorseful for what you did. Making excuses is intolerable and may make things worse. Never express being sorry for getting caught but instead, let the judge know that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions.

Give Some Background

A trustworthy DUI attorney will give the judge some background information on you before or during the court proceeding. However, when you’re asked to speak, gently and carefully expound on the facts. For example, if you have a drug or alcohol problem, admit it and tell the judge you’re working to get it under control.

Expose the Positives of the Situation

While it may seem very difficult to think of any positives regarding being arrested for a DUI, it’s possible with a little forethought and strategy. Touch base on what you learned from your experience and talk about how you’ll refrain from making the mistake again.

Complete Sentencing Requirements Before Being Sentenced

If you think the judge will require drug or alcohol treatment classes as a part of your DUI sentence, take it upon yourself to sign up and complete those classes on your own. Be sure to tell about your participation during court. Not only does this reflect very positively upon you, but it may also encourage the judge to lighten your legal load.

Promise to Act More Responsibly

By promising the court that you will never commit the crime again, you appear remorseful. If the message is delivered with sincerity (and especially if it’s your first offense), the judge may reduce your sentence as a result. However, it’s important to keep your promise. Whatever you say to the judge is recorded and if you get arrested for the same thing again, your promises may be disregarded or viewed as an empty plea. Most importantly, always be genuine when speaking to a judge. Don’t fake your emotions and never appear to be above the law. It’s okay to be nervous or confused about the process.

Can I Beat a DUI If I Was over the Limit?

First, you must have the courage to stand up and fight for yourself and not just hang your head and plead guilty. Second, you must use the tools available to you to fight the charges. The tools include not only a toolbox of legal defenses but the skill and knowledge to use the facts of your case to illuminate where reasonable doubt exists or to even prove innocence. Yes, you can beat a DUI charge, regardless of your test results and the legal limit. Legal motions, objections, and arguments are a great way to beat a DUI. Your case should be analyzed from the very beginning for legal flaws, which have nothing to do with whether you were over the legal limit. There are strict rules controlling how a DUI case is to be handled in court, and, if the rules are broken, a judge can dismiss your case. From the time of arrest, the clock starts running. The officers must process you through the system and release you or bring you before a judge. If they do not do this correctly, you may be able to beat the case. Another legal clock starts running after you have been arraigned or advised of the charges against you, and you have pleaded not guilty. If you have been released on bail or your own recognizance the prosecutor has 45 days to take you to trial, or the case should be dismissed. Many times, the District Attorney cannot get their case together in time, and they are forced to ask the judge to dismiss the charges. At other times, the case can be dismissed when the evidence of your alleged wrongdoing is suppressed or thrown out. Defense attorneys can file motions to request that judges suppress evidence when it is improperly obtained. For example, if the cops make an illegal profile stop of someone without the proper reasonable suspicion, the judge can find that the cops’ behavior was inappropriate.

In such a case, the judge should grant the defense attorney’s request to throw out the observations of field sobriety tests and the breath or blood test. When this type of motion is granted, the prosecutor does not have the evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. At that point, the case should be dismissed. Trial is another great time to beat your DUI, even if your test result shows you as being over the legal limit. Your defense attorney is “at home” in a courtroom setting; the cops are not. The cops want to be out in the field making arrests, not in the courtroom being looked at under the microscope of cross-examination. When you question the cop about how he/she actually performed their investigation compared to how they were supposed to have done so, the cops lose credibility. The cop’s loss of credibility has nothing to do with the defendant or their alcohol level. When the officer loses credibility, defendants beat a DUI charge. During trial, a good defense attorney will be able to prevent unreliable or irrelevant testimony from getting to the jury. Prosecutors often try to get the ugly evidence of a chemical test result in front of the jury. This chemical test evidence is very technical and usually requires that several witnesses testify to properly lay a foundation for the result. Prosecutors are often unable to prove that the chemical tests given are reliable or trustworthy. If the test is not deemed trustworthy, a judge will not let a jury hear the evidence. With no chemical test result in evidence, you can beat the DUI. Even if the breath or blood tests are shown to the jury, the evidence still needs to be explained. A chemical test that is given an hour or so after the actual driving took place does not tell anyone what the actual alcohol level was at the time of driving. The district attorney needs to prove that a person was driving, and that at the time they were driving, they were over the legal limit. The proper functioning of the breath or blood testing equipment is another area where a lot of DUI cases are won. The breath or blood testing machines that are used (such as the Breathalyzer) have strict regulations controlling how and when they are maintained, calibrated, and checked for accuracy. The technicians maintaining these machines may not be properly trained, or the city or county may not have the money to pay for proper maintenance or repairs. If the testing equipment does not work properly, the results may not be relied upon. If the proper maintenance protocols are not followed, you can beat your DUI irrespective of alcohol level. Many people wrongly think that because they were arrested, they are guilty. This is simply not true, and many people are pleasantly surprised to find out that even though they were told that their alcohol level was over the legal limit, in reality, it was not, and they are not guilty.

What to Do if You Are Stopped while under the Influence

 Pull over: Pull over at a safe place. Officers begin making observations immediately when they suspect that someone has been drinking and is driving. Anything a person does goes into the report. Be safe, pull over in a safe spot, and turn off the engine.
 Be calm: Do not make any suspicious movements. Again, officers are observing everything a person does. Do not make any suspicious movements like trying to hide open alcoholic beverages or drugs. The best policy is to keep one’s hands on the steering wheel.
 Be polite: Be cooperative and polite. Arguing with the police officer will not help one’s situation. If an individual is hostile, combative, rude, etc., officers are more likely to arrest them even if their blood alcohol level is not above the legal limit. On the other hand, do not be too talkative or complimentary. This can also arouse suspicion.
 Only provide minimal information: Do not incriminate yourself, but tell the truth. You are required to give the officer your name, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance, but you are not required to tell the officer if you have been drinking, how much you have been drinking, etc. One way to answer these other questions and still be polite is to simply say something like, “I am sorry officer, but I have been advised not to answer any further questions.”
 Take the tests at the police station: The chances are good that if you refuse field sobriety tests and a handheld breathalyzer, the officer will arrest you and take you to the police station. You are obligated by law in most states to take tests while at the police station. The best-case scenario is to take the breathalyzer test and not take the blood test because attorneys can challenge the reliability of the breathalyzer test in court, but a blood test that reflects that an individual is over the legal limit is pretty much a conviction. In most cases, take the breathalyzer test at the police station.
 Be cooperative at the police station: While at the police station, you will most likely be detained for short period until you can post bail. Be cooperative, follow instructions, and keep to yourself.
 After you are released from jail, record everything you can recall. Immediately upon release, it is extremely important that you write down everything you can recall about the arrest.
 Get an attorney: It is extremely important to get legal representation before attempting to fight a DUI. Get a qualified and experienced attorney who regularly handles these cases and discuss the issue with them.

DUI Lawyer

When you need legal help for a DUI in 84602, 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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Top DWI SLC

Top DWI SLC

DUI is an acronym for “driving under the influence.” DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated,” or in some cases, “driving while impaired.” The terms can have different meanings or they can refer to the same offense, depending on the state in which you were pulled over. In any case, DUI and DWI both mean that a driver is being charged with a serious offense that endangered themselves and others. That applies to alcohol and other drugs (including recreational drugs and those prescribed by a physician) that impair your ability to drive. One is not worse than the other and both can have a big effect on your life. Depending on state law, both terms are used to describe impaired or drunken driving. Some state laws refer to the offense of drunken driving as a DUI while others call it a DWI. It gets tricky when states use both terms. Quite often, one term will refer to alcohol, while the other term refers to impairment by substances other than alcohol (like prescription or recreational drugs) and the meaning can flip-flop from state to state. Some states use the term DWI to refer to driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit. In those states, the term DUI is used when the driver is charged with being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other states use DWI to refer to driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol, or some unknown substance. They use the term DUI to refer to driving under the influence of alcohol. It’s best to check the definitions of the state you’re in.

Other Factors in Impaired Driving

Any of these charges mean the arresting officer has reason to believe the driver is too impaired to continue to drive. In some jurisdictions, drivers can be charged with impaired driving (or driving under the influence) even if they blow under the 0.08 legal limits. For example, you can fail a field sobriety test and be deemed impaired even if you’re BAC is less than 0.08. All states also have zero-tolerance laws that punish people under 21 for driving with any trace of alcohol in their systems. This means that if someone under the age of 21 blows a BAC higher than 0.00, they will be charged with a DWI or DUI.

Drugged Driving Is Impaired Driving

If you appear to be impaired by the arresting officer, but your breathalyzer test shows that you are not under the influence of alcohol, they may suspect the use of drugs that impair your driving ability. This can include prescription and nonprescription medications in addition to illegal drugs. The officer may then call a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer to the scene to perform a series of tests. If the DRE officer’s multi-step evaluation process determines that you are indeed under the influence of drugs, you can be charged with DWI or DUI. The charge depends on what the state calls the offense of drugged driving. Taking prescription or nonprescription medications can impair your driving ability. You are at risk of drugged driving charges even when you have not had a sip of alcohol.

Arrest and Consequences

No matter what the offense is called in your jurisdiction, if you are arrested for impaired driving, you will be facing serious consequences. If you are convicted or plead guilty, you will probably lose your driver’s license and pay fines and court fees. For a second offense, you may spend some time in jail. It is also likely that you will be placed on probation and be required to perform community service. To get your driver’s license back, you will probably have to attend defensive driving classes. In most states, you will probably undergo an evaluation of your drinking or substance use patterns as well. Based on the results of that evaluation, you may have to take part in a drug or alcohol treatment program. That program could range from attending a few support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous to entering a residential treatment facility.

After a Conviction

When you get your driver’s license back, you will likely need SR-22 insurance. This could double or triple your premiums, depending on the laws in your state. On average, you can expect to pay higher premiums for three years. Depending on the state in which you reside, you may also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, which makes it so you can’t start your car unless you blow into the device and it determines you have not been drinking alcohol. This requires that you pay for the device, its installation, and a monthly monitoring fee. A DWI penalty or worse multiple offenses can not only jeopardize your driving privileges but can leave you with heavy fines, court costs, and possible jail time. This can affect your personal and professional life, which is why you need to know about the possible DWI penalties you could face in Utah. If it’s your first time being charged and arrested with a DWI, your penalties will likely be less severe than someone who is charged with multiple DWIs. But keep in mind, the penalties for a first time DWI conviction can still be steep. First offense penalties for a DWI with less than a 0.15 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) includes possible fines of around $2,000 and or a jail sentence of anywhere between three and 180 days, plus a license suspension of 90 to 365 days (Class B Misdemeanor). If the BAC is greater than 0.15, then there’s a chance of a fine increase of $4,000, and jail for up to a year (Class A misdemeanor). If you are a first-time offender with a BAC of 0.08 to .14, then you could apply for a “non-disclosure” two years after your probation ends. But, you will need to install in ignition interlock device to your car that must stay on for six months. A non-disclosure restricts who can see your criminal record. You will have to ask your attorney about this option. Under Utah law, if you are convicted on a first time DWI offense, you can get fined up to $2,000, spend three days to six months in jail, and or perform 24 to 100 hour of community service. You may have specific directions from the Community Service Department if special circumstances need to be addressed in your case. For example, if you have a history of alcoholism, you might be directed for an intervention or a Victim Impact Panel. The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program could also suspend your license for 90 days to a year. This is why you might want to consider an experienced DWI lawyer to advocate for you. Second offense penalties for DWI mean that maximum fine can increase to $4,000 and or jail time for 30 days to a year. It is also possible that your driver’s license can get suspended from 180 days to 2 years (Class A Misdemeanor). As a second-time offender, you can face similar penalties as first-time offenders, just with enhanced conditions. Second-time offenders are almost always required to install an ignition interlock device on cars, which prevents driving unless there is a breathalyzer test. Second-time offenders can also get fined up to $4,000 and spend 30 days to a year in jail, with 80 to 200 hours of community service. The ALR program tends to suspend a second-time offender’s driver’s license for anywhere from 180 days to two years. A third-time DWI offense consists of an aggravated DWI charge. This means that the charges from your misdemeanor are raised to a felony. If you have an aggravated DWI, you can face up to $10,000 in fines, two to ten years in a state penitentiary, 160 to 600 hours of community service, 180 days to two years of a suspended license (third-degree felony), and the installation of an interlock device on your car. Be aware that imprisonment is in a dreaded state-run penal institution instead of a county-run jail. If you have a felony conviction you are also disqualified from voting and owning a firearm in the future.

Additional Penalties In Utah

Be aware that there are additional penalties that can make your offenses worse. Penalties like a record of alcohol problems, driving with an open container, and an accident where someone was injured or killed. These conditions when added to a sentence are meant to address the offenders issues a restorative way. If it’s a case of intoxication assault or manslaughter, then these penalties are meant to increase fines, jail time, and community service.

An Open Alcohol Container

If you are pulled over with an open alcohol container, then your minimum jail time penalty can increase to six days.

Intoxication Assault

This is when an accident happened with serious bodily injuries because of intoxication. When convicted, the DWI penalties will be more severe. You can get sentenced to a minimum of two years, and up to a maximum of ten years in prison. If you get a probated sentence, then you will serve a 30-day minimum jail sentence. You can also get fined up to $10,000 which is a third-degree felony if the car was driven in a way that made it a deadly weapon. If this happens, then there is an additional penalty that prevents good time credit, which allows an early release once half the sentence is completed, from happening.

Intoxication Manslaughter

This is a DWI where the death happened in an accident due to intoxicated driving. When convicted you would have to pay a minimum fine of $10,000 and or jail time for two to twenty years as this is a second-degree felony. In cases where probation is granted, you must serve a 120-day jail sentence. If the car was driven in a way that makes it a deadly weapon, then there is an additional penalty that prevents good time credit for an early release.

DWI With a Child Passenger

This is a case where a person has DWI and there is another person in the car who is under the age of 15. You can get punished by confinement in the state jail for no more than two years or less than 180 days, and a fine of $10,000 or a state jail felony. Other conditions that can be added due to additional felonies include more fines, more jail time, alcohol interventions and treatment, ignition interlock devices, DWI education, restitution payments, and longer license suspension.

Proving a DUI Charge at Trial

If you get charged with driving under the influence and decide to go to trial, the prosecution has to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Otherwise, the jury is supposed to acquit you.

Elements of a DUI Charge

Generally, the prosecution needs to prove two elements for a jury to find you guilty of a DUI charge. The prosecution must show that you were:
• driving or operating a vehicle, and
• under the influence.
Some states also require the prosecution to prove that the defendant was driving on a public rather than private road. If the prosecution can prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, chances are the jury will convict the defendant. In many states, you can get a DUI even if you weren’t actually driving. Though most of the states that don’t require actual driving still call the crime “driving under the influence” (DUI) or “driving while intoxicated” (DWI), prosecutors in these states can prove the “driving” element by showing the motorist was “operating” or “in actual physical control” of a vehicle. In other words, proof that the driver was behind the wheel with the car in motion is sufficient but not required to prove the driving element. State laws vary on what exactly it means to be operating or in actual control of a vehicle. But typically, the judge or jury deciding the case will look at a variety of factors when deciding whether the prosecution has proven the element. These factors are ordinarily based on police observations at the scene of the defendant’s arrest and might include whether:
• the defendant was sleeping or awake
• the defendant was in the driver’s seat\
• the car keys were in the defendant’s possession
• the car’s motor was on, and
• the defendant’s car was parked in a way that posed a danger to other motorists.

The “Under the Influence” Element

To prove a driver was under the influence, the prosecution generally has two options:
• proving the driver had a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more (a “per se” DUI), or
• showing that the motorist was actually impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Proving BAC is usually easier than showing impairment. However, it’s common for prosecutors to file two charges in a DUI complaint one based on impairment and a second alleging excessive BAC. By filing two charges though perhaps only one might stick the prosecution can maximize their chances of getting a conviction. The consequences of a DUI conviction are serious, and DUI laws vary by state. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, get in contact with an experienced DUI lawyer in your area. A good DUI attorney can analyze the facts of your case and tell you how the law of your state applies.

How to Get Your Driver’s License Back After a DUI

What to do if you get a DUI, DWI or OUI and the steps you’ll need to take to get your license back following a suspension. It is illegal for any persons 21 years or older to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% in all states except for Utah. In 2018, Utah changed the limit to reflect a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05% and above as the illegal percentage for persons 21 years or older operating a vehicle. Driving after drinking too much alcohol can fall under several legal names including driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI), impaired driving, or operating under the influence (OUI). The consequences for being pulled over for a DUI vary based on state, age, and blood alcohol content. If a person’s BAC is over the legal limit, they are at risk for having their driver’s license taken away. This is often a red flag, showing someone that they have an issue with problem drinking, including heavy drinking, binge drinking, or even alcohol use disorder (AUD). If you recognize any of these red flags in your behavior or that of a loved one, it may be time to seek professional help. Although each state has a different approach to reinstating a driver’s license after a DUI or multiple DUI charges, the following steps may help get your license back.
Steps to Get Your License Back
To get your license back you may need to:
• Attend the DUI hearing and present your case.
• Pay required fees, including court, reinstatement, and bail fees.
• Complete the full period of license suspension (length of time varies).
• Complete court requirements, which will likely include DUI traffic school.
• With a DUI on your record, you’ll need to inform your provider of your DUI and get form SR-22 which proves you have this new insurance.
• When you have completed each of the above steps, you can go to your local DMV office and apply for reinstatement.

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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Marijuana Expungement Attorney

Marijuana Expungement Attorney

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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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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