Category Archives: Criminal Law

Charge DUI

Charge DUI

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

DUI Charges and Penalties

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

Penalties

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

Obtain Legal Advice from a Local Attorney

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

Plea Negotiations with the Prosecution

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

Ways of Avoiding a Criminal Conviction

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

Statute of Limitations for DUI Charges

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

Waiting to File Charges

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

The DUI Case and the Mistake

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

The Lack of Statute of Limitations

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

The Possible Consequences of the Conviction

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

Reasons DUI Criminal Charges May Be Dismissed Before Trial

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

Common reasons charges are dismissed in DUI case

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

DUI Lawyer

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Criminal Attorney Utah

Criminal Attorney Utah

Criminal attorney, also known as criminal defense lawyers and Licensed Legal Defenders, work to defend individuals, organizations, and entities that have been charged with a crime. Criminal attorneys handle a diverse spectrum of criminal cases, ranging from domestic violence crimes, sex crimes, violent crimes and drug crimes to driving under the influence (DUI), theft, embezzlement, and fraud.

Criminal Attorney Duties & Responsibilities

Criminal attorneys represent defendants facing criminal charges in state, federal and appellate courts. Their scope of practice includes bail bond hearings, plea bargains, trial, revocation hearings (parole or probation), appeals and post-conviction remedies. As part of the attorney’s job functions, a criminal attorney will:
• Investigate the case and interview witnesses
• Research case law, statutes, crimes codes, and procedural law
• Build a defense and develop a case strategy
• Negotiate with the prosecution to plea bargain to lesser charges
• Draft, file and argue motions such as motions to dismiss and motions to suppress
• Advocate for the defendant at trial
• Draft, file and argue appeals

Criminal attorney salaries vary, depending on the size and scope of the practice. Public defender and non-profit salaries are usually modest (the $30,000 to $50,000 range is common). Criminal attorneys employed in law firms generally earn the highest salaries; experienced criminal attorneys can earn well into the six figures. The highest paid criminal attorneys are often those that represent high-profile, wealthy defendants in high-stakes cases.
Education, Training & Certification
The education and other requirements to practice as a criminal attorney are as follows:
• Education: Like all lawyers, criminal lawyers must first complete a bachelor’s degree, and then obtain a law degree. The two degrees typically take a total of seven years to complete.
• License: Criminals attorneys must pass the bar examination in the state in which they intend to practice.
• Certification: Some criminal lawyers earn a board certification from the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC). The NBLSC is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Bar Association to provide board certification for attorneys and is an outgrowth of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Criminal Lawyer Skills & Competencies

Criminal lawyers must possess a variety of additional skills to succeed in their jobs, including the following:
• Writing and speaking skills: Excellent oral and written advocacy skills in order to argue a client’s case before a judge and persuade a jury.
• Research and investigative skills: Investigative and research skills are also important in building a client’s case and establishing a strong defense.
• Creative and analytical skills: Strong creative thinking and analytical skills to develop a legal strategy, analyze case law and litigate complex cases.
• Legal knowledge and experience: In-depth understanding of state, federal and local rules, court procedures, evidentiary laws, and local judges to navigate the criminal justice system efficiently and competently.
• Interpersonal skills: Excellent interpersonal skills are necessary to build a strong client-attorney relationship. Criminal defendants are a finicky group who sometimes go through many lawyers before settling on one they like. Therefore, the ability to attract and retain clients is essential to a thriving criminal defense practice.

Types Of Cases Criminal Lawyer Deal With And Types Of Criminal Lawyers

Criminal lawyers specialized in criminal law. This could be a misdemeanor or criminal, where you have been charged with a crime. When you are charged with a crime, you are not considered guilty until proven guilty; it is your duty to try to make sure that you are not guilty. This means that they review your case, work with you to gather all the relevant information, and then deal with other lawyers working on the case to try to find a quick solution. One of the reasons why you may want to engage a criminal defense lawyer is if you are charged with a DUI. Driving under the influence is a serious condition that can result in the loss of your license, a large fine, or even a prison sentence. It is your lawyer’s duty to try to achieve the best results through a good agreement that can benefit you in the long term. They will gather evidence against you to help you determine the best appeal for the best outcome. Domestic violence is another crime that you may want to appoint a criminal lawyer to act on your behalf. Although you may feel that you can execute the law in your hands, having a lawyer who works for you can provide a variety of benefits that will help you achieve the best agreement and the best results. When it comes to domestic violence, and your partner claims that you mistreated him unless there are witnesses, this is a scenario, “he said, as she said. Your lawyer will work with the available evidence, advise you, present relevant documents, and attend all pre-trial conferences to try to minimize the possibility of the case being resolved. In any case, your goal should be not to go to trial. You want your criminal lawyer to decide to take the case to court, while it can cost you a lot of time and money. This applies if you have been accused of sexual abuse, domestic violence, or even abuse of children. In advance, you can reach a solution, the sooner you can continue with your own life. If you are accused of theft, for example, you will have the opportunity to hire a criminal lawyer. They are the defense lawyers who will review the police report, documentation, and supporting evidence. They will review any evidence on the camera to determine if you are guilty of the crime. If they are found guilty, they will discuss your case with you and help you identify the best solutions to proceed. In some cases, if this is your first charge, your culprit may be at fault, and you may leave the service or community service instead of incarceration. Remember that your criminal lawyers will come to expert witnesses, they will know what to do when it comes to presenting documents, and they will know how best to challenge any evidence against them. This can make choosing this type of lawyer the best solution to help you reach a quick and fair solution.

Types Of Criminal Lawyers

• Panel lawyers: Each government will have a committee of private defense attorneys who will be compensated hourly for their services and time. In general, the use of a group of defense lawyers is usually complementary to the public defense service and not as an alternative.
• Private Lawyers: Private lawyers are hired by the defendants who can afford them for legal services. They are mostly employed by large, medium and small to represent their clients on criminal defense and justice. Private lawyers are surely expensive in which a middle class or poor person cannot afford.
• District Lawyer: It is the responsibility of the Government to prosecute persons accused of a crime. In most countries, this process is carried out by the local prosecutor. Local district attorneys generally have some district attorneys who can be summoned when necessary.
• Legal Aid Societies: Indigents defendants are represented by this lawyer who is employed by numerous non-profit organizations. For example, every state owns an organization which employee lawyers for the poor defenders who cannot afford to hire private lawyers.
• Public Defenders: The public defender is a lawyer whose main task is to provide legal advice and representation in cases of low quality, as well as to assist people who cannot compensate for legal assistance. The system appoints public defenders and assigned to a particular state or state.

What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

A criminal defense attorney fulfills many important roles during the course of a criminal case. He or she is responsible for defending a person who is charged with a crime. He or she speaks on the client’s behalf.
Assignment of the Case
A criminal defense attorney may be contacted directly by the defendant or may be assigned the case by the court. Many criminal defense attorneys are public defenders who are paid by the public defender’s office. They are appointed cases by local, state or federal courts. Other criminal defense attorneys are hired by private firms. Some criminal defense attorneys have an independent legal office that they man themselves. Public defenders tend to be paid a lower salary than private lawyers and also tend to have a higher case load due to the referral process and the pay coming from individuals other than defendants. In some cases, a court may appoint a private lawyer to take a specific case.
Interview about the Case
Once the criminal defense attorney has the opportunity to meet personally with the client, he or she should try to get as many details about the case as possible. By asking specific questions about the case, he or she can learn about possible defenses and strengths and weaknesses about the case. This requires a careful and thorough questioning of the defendant.

Investigation into the Criminal Case

In addition to asking the criminal defendant pointed questions about the case, he or she must further investigate the case to determine any possible avenues of acquitting the defendant. This often includes questioning police about the procedures that they used in conjunction with the case. It may also include talking to witnesses who have information about the case and collecting information about the case. All of this information is used to try to build a strong defense for the case. If an expert witness is used in the case, the criminal defense attorney may interview him or her about the testimony he or she may provide and the evidence that may be presented in case. A criminal defense attorney has the right to review the prosecution’s case before it is submitted to the jury. This allows him or her to find any holes in the case against the defendant and to try to find evidence that may refute the prosecutor’s case, such as hiring an independent lab or expert to test evidence in the case.
Analysis of Evidence
Analyzing the evidence against a criminal defendant requires the criminal defense attorney to carefully study the facts and theories of the case. He or she may have evidence independently tested. Additionally, he or she may examine the evidence to determine if there are any legal theories that work against the conviction of his or her client.
Continued Contact with the Client
A criminal defense attorney must stay in contact with his or her client to explain any developments in the case and to keep him or her informed about the case. The attorney must ensure that conversations with the client are kept confidential. The attorney must also ensure that he or she communicates information about the case to the client so that he or she has a better understanding of the possible consequences.
Jury Selection
A criminal defense attorney assists with the jury selection process. He or she may try to have jurors removed for cause if they may be biased against the defendant or even if he or she simply has a bad feeling about a potential juror.

Plea Bargaining
A criminal defense attorney is also responsible for talking about the status of the case and negotiating with the prosecutor regarding any particular plea bargain. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help secure a favorable deal for the defendant that result in a reduction of charges or the possible punishment.
Trial Participation
A criminal defense attorney fights for his or her client during the trial. He or she examines witnesses, cross-examines the state’s witnesses and tries to convince the jury that the prosecution has failed to meet its burden of proof.
Sentencing
If the criminal defendant is sentenced for the crime either because he or she accepted a plea bargain or was convicted by the judge or jury, a criminal defense attorney can represent the defendant during the sentencing phase. He or she may discuss factors that can help convince the judge or jury to limit the amount of time that the defendant serves and to discuss possible alternatives to incarceration.
Criminal Law
Criminal law concerns the system of legal rules that define what conduct is classified as a crime and how the government may prosecute individuals that commit crimes. Federal, state, and local governments all have penal codes that explain the specific crimes that they prohibit and the punishments that criminals may face. Individuals who violate federal, state, and local laws may face fines, probation, or incarceration. Lawsuits against criminals are initiated by prosecuting attorneys who act on behalf of the government to enforce the law. A crime is any act or omission of an act in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it. Most crimes are defined by statute, and they vary tremendously across different states and counties.
Prosecution of Crimes
Unless a crime is a strict liability crime (meaning that no particular mental state is required), statutes typically break crimes down into two elements: an act and a mental state such as knowingly or recklessly. In order to be convicted of a crime, a prosecutor must show that the defendant has met both of these elements. For example, larceny is the taking of the property of another with the intent to deprive them of it permanently. Thus, the defendant must have committed the act of taking the property and have done so with the mental intention to take the property of another (as opposed to believing that the property belonged to him). It is not enough for a prosecutor to suggest that the defendant committed a crime. Rather, the prosecutor is required to prove each and every element of a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order for a defendant to be convicted. Police officers, prosecutors, and other government officials must also follow certain procedures in pursuing criminal activity. This is because all citizens have certain constitutional rights that the government must respect and protect. If these rights are not respected, it may prevent a prosecutor from obtaining a conviction in a case.

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 Criminal Attorney

Utah Criminal Attorney

If you are looking to hire a criminal attorney, 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 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.
• 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 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. 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.

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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Best Yalecrest Salt Lake City UT DUI

Best Yalecrest Salt Lake City UT DUI

Anyone who is operating a motorized vehicle or a vehicle with any type of drive train can get a DUI-type offense. This includes the use of motorized watercraft, lawnmowers, mopeds, and even non-motorized bicycles.

Individuals using skateboards, rollerblades, etc., would not be charged with a DUI offense if they are stopped while they are intoxicated on these conveyances, but could be charged with some other offense, such as public intoxication, depending on the jurisdiction where the offense occurs. There are several general issues to be aware of when an individual is charged with a DUI offense. All of these issues will vary from state to state, jurisdiction to jurisdiction, etc. In order to learn the exact details regarding DUI type offenses in one’s state, consult with a licensed attorney. All of these offenses indicate that the individual has been apprehended by a police officer while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer only needs to have an inclination that an individual might be intoxicated from their behavior, mild inconsistencies in their driving, their posture while they are driving, or for any number of other reasons that the officer can choose to make an initial stop. Once the officer stops the individual, they can administer tests to confirm if the individual is legally intoxicated. DUI type offenses may or might not be felonies. In most jurisdictions, an individual who is getting a first-time DUI will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor. However, an individual who severely injures or kills someone while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs will be charged with a felony. Some states now also charge individuals with felonies even for first-time offenses if they have a very high BAC; the level can vary from state to state, but as an overall standard, a BAC of 0.15 or higher is a red flag to most legal authorities. If an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense while their driving privileges have been suspended or restricted, they may be charged with higher-level offenses. The trend in numerous states is also to charge individuals with multiple DUI offenses with felony convictions after they have been arrested many times for DUIs or similar offenses (most often, three times or more). Thus, in many states, after an individual has two (or three) DUI convictions on their record, any subsequent arrests for DUIs are felony convictions.

Things That Happen If You Get a DUI Charge

If you are arrested for drunken driving in any state in the U.S., there are several things that are going to happen that will cost you money. If you are convicted of driving under the influence and you want to get your driving privileges back, things are going to get very expensive. Court appearances, fines, and fees are just the beginning for convicted drunk drivers. There is also the expense of going to DUI school, getting evaluated for a drinking problem, getting treatment if you have a problem, paying higher insurance premiums and having an interlock device installed on your vehicle, in many states. The following sections outline in detail some of the things that will happen if you get a DUI. None of them are fun, and most are expensive.

Arrested and Booked

If you are arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, the first thing that will happen is you will be placed into a police vehicle and taken to the nearest police station or jail. There your photograph (mug shot) will be taken and you will be fingerprinted. In some states, you can be released immediately if someone comes to the jail and pays your bail and drives you home. Several states have laws requiring minimum jail time of at least several days for a first offense.

Appear in Court For A DUI

At the time of your arrest, you will be given a ticket or a summons that tells you the date that you have to appear in court to face driving under the influence charges. For some drivers, it is a humiliating experience to have to appear in public to answer charges of being drunk. In today’s courts, if you deny the charges, plead not guilty and try to fight the case, chances are you and everyone else in the courtroom, are going to see a video of yourself failing the field sobriety test taken from the officer’s dashboard camera or taken at the jail where you were processed.

You’ll Lose Your Driver’s License For A DUI

In all states, even for a first-time conviction, your sentence will include the loss of driving privileges for a period of time. Even in states that offer a hardship license that allows you to drive to work or school during the time your license is revoked or suspended, your driving privileges are drastically curtailed. In some states, if you refused to take the field sobriety test or submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, your driver’s license is suspended immediately, even before you go to court.

You’ll Pay a Fine For a DUI

If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated, part of your sentence will definitely include paying a fine. All states have laws setting minimum and maximum fines for drunk driving, but those penalties can be enhanced by other circumstances. For example, if the property was damaged, someone was injured or a child was endangered as a result of your driving while drunk, the fines can be increased. In most states, you will also have to pay the court costs associated with your case.

You’ll Likely Go to Jail For a DUI

In a growing number of states, jail terms have become mandatory even for first-time drunk driving offenders. Typically, first-offender jail terms are only one or two days that can be served on a weekend, but it is still jail time. For repeat offenders, jail is mandatory in most states and the terms are longer than a couple of days. And again, if there are aggravating circumstances connected with your DUI case, the penalties can be increased.

You’ll Need To Complete the Terms of Probation

Even if you are not sentenced to any jail time for your DUI conviction, you will probably be given a probation sentence, the terms of which are determined by the sentencing judge. If you fail to meet the terms of probation, you can be sent to jail, even if you are a high-profile Hollywood celebrity. Regardless of the terms, the probation sentence itself is another expense you will have to pay. Typically, this is a monthly fee you must pay for the cost of administering and supervising your probated sentence.

Undergo Alcohol Evaluation

As part of the court-ordered alcohol education and assessment program mentioned above, a trained counselor will also evaluate your pattern of alcohol consumption to determine if you have an alcohol abuse disorder. Typically, the evaluator will ask you a series of questions about how alcohol affects your life. If the evaluation finds that you’re drinking rises to the level of alcohol abuse or dependence, you may also have to undergo a court-approved alcohol treatment program before you can get your driving privileges back.
DUI Punishments and Penalties
As with any criminal charge, a person charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If guilt is established (often through the defendant’s own plea or after a jury trial), the penalty will depend on state law, as well as on any aggravating circumstances (such as the presence of an open bottle of liquor in the car) and the defendant’s cooperation with the police.
Jail Time
In all states, first-offense DUI or DWI is classified as a misdemeanor and punishable by up to six months in jail. That jail time may be increased under certain circumstances. For example, some states mandate more severe punishments for DUI or DUI offenders whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest was particularly high—for example, .15% or .20%, very high considering the legal limit of .08%. Many states also require minimum jail sentences of at least several days on a first offense. Subsequent offenses often result in jail sentences of several months to a year. For a DUI or DWI that’s been classified as a felony either because the driver killed or injured someone or because it’s the driver’s third or fourth DUI jail sentences of several years are not uncommon. Again, this depends on state law, the facts of the case, and the discretion of the judge at trial.
Fines
In addition to jail sentences, courts can and do impose high fines for DUI or DWI. These range from $500 to as much as $2,000.
Driver’s License Problems
A DUI or DWI offender stands a good chance of having his or her license suspended for a substantial period of time (either by court order or mandate of the state motor vehicles department). For example, many states suspend a first offender’s license for 90 days; a second offender’s license for one year; and a third offender’s license for three years. Refusal to take a blood, breath, or urine test can result in a license suspension regardless of the finding of guilt, in addition to other penalties in many states. However, sometimes it’s possible to obtain a “hardship license” to drive to and from places like work and school during a suspension. Some states take further steps to make sure the person (particularly a repeat offender) doesn’t get back on the road. The state may confiscate the car or cancel its registration, either temporarily or permanently. Or the state may require an ignition interlock device (IID) to be attached to the DUI or DWI offender’s car. This device requires the driver to blow into a small handheld alcohol sensor unit attached to the dashboard. If the person’s BAC is above a preset level (usually .02% to .04%), the car won’t start.
Alternative Forms of Punishment
A number of states’ court sentences may include alternative sentencing, such as alcohol teaching and prevention programs, treatment for alcohol abuse, assessment of a person for possible alcohol or drug dependency or addiction, and community service or victim restitution. The judge may recommend these steps instead of jail time or paying fines, most likely for a first offender. Or the judge may combine them with other penalties. In Texas, for example, minors convicted of a DUI must perform community service, in addition to any other penalties.
Young Offenders
A minor who is arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs won’t get any breaks from punishment in fact, being young is likely to make matters worse. The legal drinking age is 21 in most states, so drinking before that age is a separate crime. In addition, some states penalize underage drivers based on lower BAC levels than the standard .05% for adults, typically .02%. The state may impose adult sentences on minors, and underage DUI offenders are likely to have their licenses suspended for one year.


Other Consequences
In addition to legal penalties, the driver’s insurance company may cancel the insurance policy or drastically increase the rates because of the hit to the person’s driving record. And a drunk driving charge stays on a person’s driving record for many years. Plus, if the driver’s license is suspended, the insurance company is likely to cancel the insurance policy. Certain jobs may be closed to those who’ve been convicted of DUI or DWI, such as driving a school bus, delivery van, or any other vehicle as part of their employment. Finally, the driver may face a separate civil lawsuit if accident victims decide to sue for property damages or bodily injuries.
Reasons DUI Criminal Charges May Be Dismissed Before Trial
Driving under the influence (DUI) charges can be dismissed before the actual trial begins. Sometimes, the prosecution may dismiss the case on their own because of known defects in their case. Usually, DUI cases are dismissed because of persuasive criminal defense lawyer arguments and motions. Defendants should regularly plead not guilty to DUI charges because often the police failed to follow proper procedure, the district attorney doesn’t have the evidence needed to prove a conviction, or the prosecution knows there’s a reasonable likelihood of acquittal if the case does go to trial. The prosecutor is the main person who drops or dismisses the charge. Judges can authorize dismissals too. The end result for the client is that he/she is free to continue their life without worrying about a criminal record or a court case. Each criminal case is different. DUI cases generally depend on the police following proper procedures and on the results of any chemical tests.

Yalecrest Utah DUI 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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Defense Lawyers

Defense Lawyers

The job of a criminal defense solicitor is to analyze the evidence against a client and advise on the appropriate plea and possible sentence. If a client pleads not guilty, the solicitor will represent the client at trial; testing the prosecution evidence and promoting the client’s case, and ensuring that the client has a fair trial. In cases where the client has pleaded guilty, the job is to direct the court to the appropriate sentence and highlight the good points about their client so that they receive as fair a sentence as possible.
Types of crimes that criminal defense lawyers defend in court
• Murder / Manslaughter
• Rape/ sexual offences/offences against children
• Offences against the Person, such as GBH, ABH, and common assault
• Robbery/ Burglary/ Theft /Handling Stolen Goods
• Fraud/Forgery /Proceeds of Crime
• Regulatory offences
• Drug offences
• Breaches of Court orders
• Public order offences / Offensive weapon charges
• Motoring matters

What Will A Defense Lawyer Do For You?

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

Building a Defense Strategy

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

Before Your Court Trial

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

Your criminal defense solicitor will be there to argue your case and to cross examine relevant witnesses. Depending on your plea, your solicitor will be working to clear you of charges, or to ensure that a fair punishment or sentence is given to you. They will do their best to make sure that a judge and jury, or bench of magistrates, put into perspective the allegation that you have been accused of, and take full account of any remorse, rehabilitation or personal circumstances that are relevant to your sentencing.
After a trial
If your trial was not successful, or if an unduly harsh sentence has been imposed, depending on the circumstances of your case, your criminal defense solicitor will advise you fully about appeals and where appropriate will begin the appeal process.

How to Obtain A Defense Lawyer

If you’re facing criminal charges and are unable to afford a private defense attorney, you may qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. After all, one of the foundations of our legal system is that every criminal defendant has the right to legal representation. Some private criminal defense attorneys charge hundreds of dollars per hour, while others are more affordable. If you’re unable to pay for your own attorney, you may be eligible for a lawyer who will work at the government’s expense. The opportunity to formally request one usually comes the first time you appear in front of a judge after your arrest, known as your arraignment. When the judge calls your case, the first question will be whether you’re represented by an attorney and, if not, whether you would like one appointed to your case. If you answer that you’d like one, the judge may ask you some financial questions or require you to complete an income-and-asset questionnaire, in order to verify that you truly don’t have the funds to hire your own attorney. It’s important to provide honest answers because false information can lead to a prosecution for perjury. Each state, and sometimes each county, has its own rules for determining how to qualify for court-appointed counsel. The rules often take into account the seriousness of the alleged crime. So, even if you earn a decent wage and could hire a private attorney for a short misdemeanor case, a judge may determine that you’re eligible for a court-appointed lawyer if the charges against you are serious ones that are likely to require a significant number of billable hours by your attorney. If your income is not quite high enough to bear the expense of a private attorney and not quite low enough to qualify for a free government-paid lawyer, the judge may make a determination of “partial indigence.” This means that you’re eligible for a court-appointed lawyer but must reimburse the government for a portion of your costs of representation.

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

Legal aid societies are nonprofit organizations found in almost every corner of the country that provide free legal services to low-income people. They aren’t the best choice. While this is certainly worth exploring, the problem for many households is that the individual or couple makes too much money to qualify for help. And even if you have a low income, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll receive legal aid.

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

Identify Your Legal Problem and Use a Former Prosecutor

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

Make Sure the Attorney has the Right Experience

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

Expect the Attorney to be a Good Communicator

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

Consider the Attorney’s Professionalism

“Professionalism” is more than personality. It involves certain objective actions and behaviors that distinguish the best attorneys from those who are merely competent. “Professionalism” is more than personality. It involves certain objective actions and behaviors that distinguish the best attorneys from those who are merely competent. Among other things, you should expect a “professional” attorney to:
• Work zealously to protect your best interests
• Work efficiently and economically, using your resources as his own
• Return all telephone calls or client communications promptly
• Arrive at meetings on time and well-prepared
• Follow-up promptly and as appropriate
• Provide you with advice about alternative dispute resolution procedures
• Be respectful of everyone, regardless of their position, role or status
• Be neat and project the image of success appropriate for your business
• Behave appropriately in all situations
• Follow all applicable laws and ethical canons
• Not do anything that would create the appearance of impropriety
• The attorney should display a tireless passion to protect your interests. The best attorneys take ownership in your problem and devote themselves to finding winning solutions.
Reasons to Hire a Local Attorney
Trusting your case to a local attorney has many advantages. Being convenient in travelling and communication terms, local attorneys also have familiarity with local court system and may have developed strong connections with local community. The key reasons of hiring a local attorney include:
• Being familiar with local and state laws: Each state is allowed to create, implement and enforce its own laws in additional to federal laws. When choosing an attorney, one of the most important things to consider is his/her deep knowledge of not only federal but also local or state laws. Local attorneys are more aware of every detail of the state law and thus, will know what button to push for each specific case.
• Knowing local court proceedings: Similar to states, each court has its own rules of practice. Some laws are more faithfully adhered to by one court and lesser applied by another one. A local attorney will most likely have previous experience with local courts which will endow him/her with the privilege of understanding the rules of the local court better than any visiting attorney. Besides, a local attorney can be a lot more familiar with filing deadlines and hours of operation of local courts.
• Having good connections: Local attorneys attend local mixers, conferences and social events which give them a chance to develop a rapport with other local judges and attorneys. They will also have good contacts with local police, prosecutors, expert witnesses, which can be effectively used to resolve the case in your favor. A local attorney will know the preferences of each judge as well, thus can decide what evidence will be more acceptable for the very judge.

• Valuing good reputation in the community: Creating and maintaining solid reputation will provide long-term trust and respect for a lawyer in the community. That is why local attorneys will do their best to maintain good reputation in their local court. Otherwise, this is rarely true for non-local attorneys, who may never appear in the court again.
• Skipping some out-of-pocket expenses: When you hire a non-local attorney, note that the travelling costs will be charged to you. That can include travelling tickets, hotel costs, and meals. While, hiring a local attorney you will not have to incur that expense.

Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC
4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Best Utah SLC DUI

Best Utah SLC DUI

Utah officially uses the term “driving under the influence” (DUI) instead of “driving while intoxicated” (DWI). However, some people still use DWI and DUI interchangeably to refer to drunk or drugged driving. Utah’s DWI laws prohibit all motorists from operating a motor vehicle:
• with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05% or more, or
• while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A driver is considered “under the influence” if “incapable of safely operating a vehicle” as the result of ingesting alcohol, drug or any other substance. Utah has a not-a-drop law that makes it illegal for motorists who are under the age of 21 years to drive with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

Getting a DUI Without Actually Driving

In Utah, a motorist can get a DUI even without actually driving. In addition to driving or operating a car, a person may not be in “actual physical control” of a car while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or with a BAC of .08% or more. The gist of this law is to keep roads safe from even the potential danger that an intoxicated driver creates when getting behind the wheel. Utah courts apply a totality of circumstances test to decide whether a particular driver is in actual physical control of the vehicle. Some factors courts consider include:
• where the driver was seated in the car
• whether the driver had the ignition key
• whether the driver was touching the steering wheel or other operating controls, and
• whether the driver was asleep or awake.
Determining actual physical control is fact-specific. No two situations are exactly alike. It’s best to consult an experienced DUI attorney to see if you’ve been properly charged with an actual-physical-control DUI.

Plea Bargaining in Utah DUI Cases

The best case scenario if you’re charged with a DUI in Salt Lake City Utah is the prosecution ends up dismissing the charge. But unless the court throws out evidence that’s critical to prove the charge, the prosecution is unlikely to agree to a dismissal. But in some cases, a reduction to an “impaired driving” charge is possible. An impaired driving charge is just an alcohol-related driving offense without the mandatory jail, fines, and license suspensions that come with a DUI conviction. In the United States, Utah has some of the most stringent DUI laws. According to state law, a motorist is considered drunk if they have a BAC of .05% or more, or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to a level that is unsafe to drive. For those motorists under age 21, Utah has a “not a drop” law, meaning these drivers can be charged with DUI and can lose their driver’s license privilege up to the time they turn 21 years old. The can also be charged with other alcohol related charges if there is any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

Driving After DUI

When you are charged with DUI, one of your first concerns will be if you are still allowed to drive while your case plays out in court. In most situations, this will depend based on a variety of factors. Under current state law, even a first DUI offense may call for a 120-day suspension of your driver’s license and the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).

Plea Bargaining

When you are facing these charges, it will be crucial to work with an experienced Salt Lake City Utah DUI attorney. By doing so, your attorney can work with prosecutors to plea bargain your case down to lesser charges, or possibly even have the charges against you dismissed. If you are given reduced charges such as impaired driving, the good news is that you will not be subjected to the mandatory fines, jail time, and license suspensions that are usually with DUI convictions. In the United States, Utah has some of the most stringent DUI laws. According to state law, a motorist is considered drunk if they have a BAC of .05% or more, or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol to a level that is unsafe to drive. For those motorists under age 21, Utah has a “not a drop” law, meaning these drivers can be charged with DUI and can lose their driver’s license privilege up to the time they turn 21 years old. They can also be charged with other alcohol related charges if there is any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Should you be facing these circumstances, do not hesitate to contact an attorney. Prosecutors usually have a standard first-offense plea offer. In other words, they offer everyone with a standard first DUI the same plea deal which is typically at the lower end of the allowable first-DUI sentence. Generally, an offense is considered a “standard first DUI” if the offender has no prior DUI convictions and the offense didn’t involve any aggravating factors such as accidents, injuries, or a particularly high blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

In theory, the standard offer is the same regardless of whether the defendant is represented by a private attorney, public defender, or no attorney at all. So, it would seem that hiring an attorney in a standard first DUI case might not be worth it. This conclusion certainly holds true in some cases. However, in practice, the standard offer is frequently just a starting point. Experienced DUI attorneys can often whittle down the standard offer by pointing out weaknesses in the prosecution’s case or bringing mitigating factors to the prosecutor’s attention. An attorney’s familiarity with local practices, the district attorney, and the judge can also help with these types of negotiations. Accepting a standard offer might also be unadvisable in cases where the defendant has viable defenses. However, an unrepresented defendant is unlikely to know whether there are any such defenses. So, prior to accepting a plea deal, it’s a good idea to at least get a lawyer’s opinion.

Public Defenders

Generally, all criminal defendants have the right to an attorney. If you can’t afford to hire your own lawyer, the court will appoint one for you. Appointed attorneys are normally from a public defender’s office. Public defenders handle a large number of criminal cases, including lots of DUIs. So, most public defenders are quite familiar with DUI law and defenses. Public defenders are generally well acquainted with the district attorneys and judges and know their tendencies knowledge that can be beneficial for plea bargaining. Public defenders also tend to have good trial skills because they take a lot of cases to trial. However, being represented by a public defender has its downsides. Public defenders have large caseloads. So, some defendants feel like they and their case don’t get enough attention. And you don’t get to choose your public defender you get who you get. Public defender representation is also limited to criminal court. A DUI arrest normally leads to two separate proceedings: “administrative per se” proceedings with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a criminal court case. Generally, defendants who have a public defender will have to deal with the DMV proceedings on their own.

Private Lawyers

When you hire a private DUI lawyer, it’s typically to represent you in DMV proceedings and criminal court. Having the same attorney work on both aspects of your case can lead to better outcomes, including a shorter license-suspension period. Most defendants see the price as the major drawback with private lawyers. Hiring a private DUI lawyer will generally cost you between $1,000 and $5,000. If your case goes to trial, it can be even more expensive. (And there are cases where spending the money for a private lawyer won’t get you a more favorable outcome than had you gone with the public defender.) However, hiring a private DUI attorney (assuming you can afford one) can be well worth it. Of course, when you’re retaining an attorney, you get to decide who that attorney will be. Attorneys who specialize in DUI cases often have an in-depth understanding of DUI law and defenses that other attorneys don’t have. In some cases, this expertise can lead to more satisfactory results perhaps, a better plea bargain or dismissal of the charges altogether. Having a private lawyer can also minimize the time you have to spend in court. In some areas, public defender clients must personally appear for all court dates. With private counsel, on the other hand, you usually won’t have to be present for routine court appearances. For many people, especially busy professionals, not having to miss work to come to court is a significant perk. Another benefit of hiring an attorney is you’ll typically get more one-on-time than you would with a public lawyer. Most people feel more comfortable with their case when they get all their questions answered and concerns addressed.

You Need an Attorney to Go to Trial

Though you’re entitled to represent yourself in a DUI trial, it’s almost never a good plan. The learning curve for trial practice is steep and usually comes only with considerable experience. A lack of legal knowledge and trial skills will put you at a severe disadvantage in court. And judges typically have little patience for self-represented defendants who don’t know the rules of court. The bottom line is you don’t want to try a DUI case on your own—if you’re going to trial, you should have an attorney.

Pleading Guilty to DUI

Most people who are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) don’t take their case to trial. Generally, trial is the way to go only if you have a decent shot at winning. If the jury finds you guilty at the end of a trial, the time and money (assuming you hire an attorney) you’ll have spent fighting your case will have been for nothing. You’ll end up in the same position or worse than if you had pled guilty or no contest—in other words, resolved your case with what’s often called a “plea deal” or “plea bargain”—at the beginning of the case. But, of course, for the average person, it’s difficult to know whether you have a real chance of beating a DUI charge at trial. However, an experienced DUI lawyer can normally tell you how strong the government’s case is and whether you have any viable defenses.

When Do You Plead Guilty or No Contest?

The first court date in a DUI case is normally the “arraignment.” At the arraignment, the judge normally asks whether the defendant plans to hire an attorney or wants a court-appointed lawyer. Defendants who have their attorney situation resolved on that first day will typically enter a plea to the charges. Otherwise, the judge might set a new court date for the defendant to come back with an attorney and enter a plea to the charges. In either scenario, the defendant’s initial plea is normally “not guilty.” For defendants, there’s usually no benefit to pleading guilty at the first court appearance. Generally, plea deals a prosecutor offers on the first day are the same or worse than offers that come later. So, it’s typically best to initially plead not guilty and get a new court date a few weeks out or so. This additional time will give your attorney the chance to review the prosecution’s evidence and come up with a legal strategy. Even if you ultimately decide to make a plea deal, this investment of time by your attorney often pays off anyway. With a good understanding of the facts of your case and some legal research, your attorney might be able to get you a better deal by pointing out problems with the prosecution’s case and possible defenses to the charges. Prosecutors who have doubts about their ability to prove a DUI at trial are more apt to offer plea bargains favorable to the defendant. So, in many DUI cases, the defendant ends up entering a guilty or no contest plea at the second or third court date. However, it’s possible for a defendant to enter one of these pleas at any point prior to the jury’s verdict. Prior to pleading guilty or no contest to a DUI, your attorney is supposed to go over the consequences of your plea with you. By entering your plea, you’ll necessarily be giving up a number of constitutional rights. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to cross-examine the witnesses against you, and the right to a jury trial. In court, you’ll likely have to sign a form that specifies the terms of your plea agreement such as fines, jail time, and the charge you’re admitting to and indicates you understand you’re giving up various constitutional rights. Oftentimes, these forms have boxes to initial next to a description of each constitutional right you’re waiving by entering the plea. The judge handling your case will typically ask you whether you signed the form and understand the consequences of your plea. Once satisfied that you know what you’re getting into, the judge will ask how you want to plea to the charge. You then respond “guilty” or “no contest,” depending on which one you agreed to. When you plead guilty or no contest to a DUI charge, the judge will find you guilty and the court clerk will enter a conviction. This conviction is exactly the same as a conviction resulting from a guilty verdict at trial. Generally, DUIs are misdemeanor criminal offenses. But if the offender has multiple prior DUI convictions or the current offense involves aggravating factors like deaths or injuries, a DUI can be a felony.

DUI Process

The DUI process is highly complex and technical, and not geared toward making things easy for the offender. The average person even the average attorney cannot reasonably be expected to understand everything that is involved in a successful DUI defense.

Arrest, Testing, and Charges

The roller-coaster ride of a DUI case begins when an officer arrests you for suspicion of driving under the influence. The officer will then take you in for a blood or breath test to verify your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If your chemical tests comes back with a BAC of .08 or above, a charge of driving with a BAC over .05 will be added. If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, a “refusal” allegation will be added to your charges, and your license could be suspended for 1 year. After the testing phase, you will be booked and (depending on the circumstances and your criminal history) released on bail or a promise to appear in court. The arresting officer will prepare and submit a report to the prosecutor, who will either decline to file charges or charge you with DUI.

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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Defense Attorney

Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, it is very important that you work with a criminal defense attorney throughout the entire process. Whether or not you think that the situation is serious, there may be a lot more at risk than is immediately apparent, and you could find yourself looking back on this case year from now wishing that you had taken some different steps. Criminal law is complicated, which is why it is so important that you take this process seriously and work with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah. Many criminal defense attorneys offer free initial consultations with potential clients so that they can ask a variety of questions about their situation and learn about the most appropriate steps that they should be taking to move forward with as much success as possible.

The Criminal Law System
The criminal law system in the Utah is complicated and confusing, especially for individuals who do not have a comprehensive understanding of the situation that they are involved in, and the possible consequences of a guilty finding or plea agreement. If you are at a court hearing working with a prosecutor, they will make an initial offer for the individual to accept a guilty finding, or may make an initial offer for a plea deal. While this may seem like the proper decision given the circumstances and the individual may want to get the process finished with, it could come back to cause a major issue.
Negotiating Acceptable Outcomes
You may have noticed that there is a theme here, and it all comes down to working towards the most acceptable outcome for your situation. Every step that your attorney takes will be with the intention to get you the lightest possible sentence, the most minimum penalties available for your charges, and how you can mitigate the impact that these charges have on your life. When you are working on your own and attempting to represent yourself, courts and prosecutors will take advantage of your inexperience and you will find yourself walking away with steep penalties without much clarity on how it even happened.
Professional Advice For Your Specific Case
When you hire an attorney to represent your case, they are working directly on your behalf in order to help you with your case. This means that any action you think about taking outside of the case that you are unsure of how it will impact your proceedings, and then you will be able to consult with them. If you are wondering how your case will impact your ability to apply for jobs, renew a driver’s license, apply for housing, or anything else that is unclear at the time, you will be able to contact your attorney and get a specific answer about the exact situation that you are in. While this may not seem like a big deal right off the bat, you will find that their advice and counsel throughout your case is absolutely irreplaceable because of how simple it will make each of these otherwise complicated questions seem.

Confidence In Your Case
The most important thing that you will get from working with a criminal defense attorney is confidence. You will be able to get straight answers from them about your entire situation and will be able to plan accordingly for your future given their history of experience and their understanding of how they expect your case to go.
Criminal Law
There are two main types of law in the Utah: Civil Law and Criminal Law.
Criminal law is designed to address behavior that is considered to be an offense against society, the state, or the public, even if the victim is an individual person as opposed to a group of people. Criminal law can be thought of as a body of federal and state rules that prohibit behavior the government considers to be harmful to society. In short, crimes are defined by criminal law. If a person engages in acts of behaviors that are considered to be harmful to society, they could be found guilty of committing a crime. Crimes are generally prosecuted in a criminal court. Someone convicted of a crime may be forced to pay fines, and may also lose their personal freedoms and privileges by being sentenced to jail or prison time.
Types of Crimes
There are many different crimes, and what exactly constitutes a crime may vary from state to state. In general, crimes may be categorized into broad categories. These categories are personal crimes, property crimes, inchoate crimes, and statutory crimes.

Personal crimes are most commonly generalized as a violent crime that causes physical, emotional, or psychological harm to the victim. These crimes are offenses against the person, and can include but are not limited to:
• Assault and Battery: Assault refers to the intentional creation of a reasonable apprehension of harm. In other words, assault is a situation in which one person causes another person to fear being harmed. Assault and battery are most commonly considered two distinct personal crimes, although many states do merge the two crimes into the one crime known as “assault and battery.” Battery refers to the unauthorized application of force against another person’s body. This results in offensive touching, or actual physical injury. As some jurisdictions define assault as attempted but failed battery, battery charges are commonly grouped with assault to form the single charge of assault and battery;
• False Imprisonment: False imprisonment refers to one person forcibly restraining another person, against their will, with a risk of being seriously injured or killed. Any person who intentionally restricts another person’s freedom of movement, without their consent, may be liable for false imprisonment;
• Kidnapping: Kidnapping is defined as the carrying away or confinement of a person by force or deception, without that person’s consent. In other words, kidnapping is the seizure and detention of a person without their consent, while intending to carry away the person at a later time, hold the person for ransom, etc;
• Homicide: Homicide includes crimes such as first and second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular homicide; and
• Rape: Rape also includes statutory rape and sexual assault.
Property crimes, or offenses against property, do not necessarily involve the harm of another person. Rather, these crimes involve interference with another person’s right to use or enjoy their own property. Some examples of property crimes include but are not limited to:
• Theft: Larceny refers to a type of theft in which a person takes another person’s property and carries it away, with the intent to permanently deprive the legal owner of their property. Robbery is known as theft by force, and may also be considered a personal crime as it often results in physical and mental harm. Burglary occurs when a person breaks and enters into a home or building, intending to commit a crime. This crime is generally theft, although assault or arson may also constitute burglary;
• Arson: Arson is the willful and malicious burning or charring of another person’s property or structure;
• White Collar Crimes: Embezzlement refers to a type of white collar crime in which a person entrusted with the finances of another person or business illegally takes that money for their own personal use. Forgery is another example of a white collar property crime, because it is the creation, alteration, forging, or imitation of any document with the intent to defraud another person of their property;
• False Pretenses: False pretenses refers to a combination of fraud and larceny, in which a person misrepresents in order to obtain the property of another; and
• Receipt of Stolen Goods: It is a crime to receive or purchase property that you know or believe to be stolen, or otherwise obtained through theft.
Inchoate, or incomplete, refers to crimes that were initiated but not brought to completion. A person would need to take a substantial step towards completing a crime, as opposed to simply intending to commit a crime. A few examples of inchoate crimes include:
• “Attempted” crimes, such as attempted robbery, attempted murder, etc.;
• Solicitation: Crimes involving requesting, asking, hiring, commanding, or encouraging someone else to commit a crime; and
• Conspiracy: Crimes involving multiple actors coming together to engage in criminal activity.
Statutory crimes are violations of specific state or federal statutes. They may involve either property offenses or personal offenses. An example of this would be alcohol related crimes, such as DUI or selling alcohol to a minor.

The seriousness of a crime is generally categorized as either a misdemeanor, or a felony. Misdemeanors are typically less serious crimes such as shoplifting. Misdemeanors generally carry a fine of up to $1,000 with no more than one year being spent in a jail facility, if any time is to be spent in jail at all. Felony crimes are considered to be more serious in nature, such as kidnapping, and have heavier punishments. In addition to higher fines, felonies are generally punished with a prison sentence of one year or more, to be carried out in a state prison facility. State laws may categorize crimes, such as categorizing offenses against the person as either violent crimes or nonviolent crimes. Crimes may be categorized by their criminal intent. General Intent Crimes and Specific Intent Crimes are differentiated by the state of mind necessary to be found guilty. As crimes are not easy to define, and each state may categorize crimes differently, you should absolutely consult with a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney if you are being accused of committing a crime. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand what constitutes a crime and what your rights are. Additionally, the attorney can determine if any defenses are available to you based on the specifics of your case. Finally, an attorney can represent you in a court of law as needed.
Functions of Criminal Law
Criminal law serves several purposes and benefits society in the following ways:
• Maintaining order: Criminal law provides predictability, letting people know what to expect from others. Without criminal law, there would be chaos and uncertainty.
• Resolving disputes: The law makes it possible to resolve conflicts and disputes between quarreling citizens. It provides a peaceful, orderly way to handle grievances.
• Protecting individuals and property. Criminal law protects citizens from criminals who would inflict physical harm on others or take their worldly goods. Because of the importance of property in capitalist America, many criminal laws are intended to punish those who steal.
• Providing for smooth functioning of society. Criminal law enables the government to collect taxes, control pollution, and accomplish other socially beneficial tasks.
• Safeguarding civil liberties. Criminal law protects individual rights.
What Does A Defense Attorney Do At Trial?
The job of a defense attorney is to analyze the evidence against a client and advise on the appropriate plea and possible sentence. If a client pleads not guilty, the solicitor will represent the client at trial; testing the prosecution evidence and promoting the client’s case, and ensuring that the client has a fair trial. In cases where the client has pleaded guilty, the job is to direct the court to the appropriate sentence and highlight the good points about their client so that they receive as fair a sentence as possible.
What Will A Defense Attorney Do For You?
At the start of a criminal defense case, a defense attorney will obtain details of the allegations against you, and take your detailed instructions. That may lead to the need to gather evidence to support your case. This will include interviewing your witnesses. The attorney will also research the statutes, cases, and procedural rules that may be useful when defending your case in court in order to prepare a defense strategy.
Building a defense strategy
When building your defense, a criminal defense attorney will identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case and will inform you of the pros and cons of pleading guilty or not guilty, taking both the law and your individual circumstances into account.
Before a trial
Your criminal defense attorney will then prepare your case in accordance with your defense strategy. They will analyze all the evidence both for and against you before a trial, so that cross examination of the prosecution witnesses can be planned, and a proper running order can be put into place for calling your witnesses. If there are any opportunities for applications to be made to limit the prosecution evidence, or to dismiss a case, your criminal defense attorney will ensure that these are put into place. Your criminal defense attorney will also be there to listen to any last-minute worries or concerns that you may have before the trial takes place. If there is any new evidence to be taken into consideration, they will make sure that this is highlighted as quickly as possible.
During a trial
Your criminal defense attorney will be there to argue your case and to cross examine relevant witnesses. Depending on your plea, your solicitor will be working to clear you of charges, or to ensure that a fair punishment or sentence is given to you. They will do their best to make sure that a judge and jury, or bench of magistrates, put into perspective the allegation that you have been accused of, and take full account of any remorse, rehabilitation or personal circumstances that are relevant to your sentencing.
After a trial
If your trial was not successful, or if an unduly harsh sentence has been imposed, depending on the circumstances of your case, your criminal defense solicitor will advise you fully about appeals and where appropriate will begin the appeal process.

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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Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol may be termed with different designations under different circumstances or in different states or jurisdictions, including DUI (driving under the influence), OUI (operating under the influence), or even DWI (driving while intoxicated). These offenses are serious and should not be taken lightly. Anyone who is operating a motorized vehicle or a vehicle with any type of drive train can get a DUI-type offense. This includes the use of motorized watercraft, lawnmowers, mopeds, and even non-motorized bicycles. Individuals using skateboards, rollerblades, etc., would not be charged with a DUI offense if they are stopped while they are intoxicated on these conveyances, but could be charged with some other offense, such as public intoxication, depending on the jurisdiction where the offense occurs.

A Drunk Driving Offense Is Not Limited to Just the Use of Alcohol
Any charge of operating under the influence (DUI) is not limited to the use of alcohol. An individual, who is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of other drugs, including over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, and even illicit drugs, can be charged with this offense.
If Arrested for a DUI-Type Offense, You Will Spend Time in Jail
If an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense, the arresting officers have the responsibility to remove the individual from the situation and get them off the road. Typically, this means taking them into the police station, booking them, and then putting them in jail until they post bond. In many jurisdictions, individuals must also demonstrate a significant drop in their BAC in order for them to be released on their own recognizance after being arrested for a DUI or related offense. The actual amount of time an individual spends in jail is dependent on the situation, jurisdiction, etc.
Is a DUI a Felony?
DUI type offenses may or might not be felonies. In most jurisdictions, an individual who is getting a first-time DUI will most likely be charged with a misdemeanor. However, an individual who severely injures or kills someone while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs will be charged with a felony. Some states now also charge individuals with felonies even for first-time offenses if they have a very high BAC; the level can vary from state to state, but as an overall standard, a BAC of 0.15 or higher is a red flag to most legal authorities. If an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense while their driving privileges have been suspended or restricted, they may be charged with higher-level offenses. The trend in numerous states is also to charge individuals with multiple DUI offenses with felony convictions after they have been arrested many times for DUIs or similar offenses (most often, three times or more). Thus, in many states, after an individual has two (or three) DUI convictions on their record, any subsequent arrests for DUIs are felony convictions.
Arraignments Are Easy; After That Get an Attorney
After an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense, they will go to court for an arraignment. At the arraignment, the individual will be formally charged with a criminal offense and will be allowed to plead guilty or not guilty. The standard legal advice is to plead not guilty at the arraignment, pay the bond, get released, and then seek the assistance of an attorney for further steps in the process.

Expect Immediate Financial Responsibilities
The entire process of getting a DUI is extremely expensive. Even before one is formally convicted, one should expect to start shelling out money. Individuals often have to pay the court a bond to be released, pay a bond to get their car back, and pay towing charges. They often have to give their chosen attorney a down payment before the attorney begins working on their case. Depending on the situation, other financial responsibilities could be incurred. Even before one goes to trial for their DUI offense, they may have already spent thousands of dollars.
Be Ready to Have Restrictions on Your Driving Privileges
These days, in most states, it is a safe bet to assume that once an individual is convicted of any DUI-type offense, there will be ramifications on their driving privileges. In most states, an individual who refuses to take a BAC test automatically has their driver’s license suspended. The length of time varies depending on the state but typically ranges from three to 12 months. In some states, the arresting officer confiscates the individual’s driver’s license once they are arrested, and the individual gets a temporary driver’s license until their trial. Upon conviction of any DUI offense, an individual’s driver’s license will most likely be restricted, suspended, or revoked depending on the state and the nature of the offense. First-time offenders most often have suspended licenses for a period of 90 days, but again, these suspensions can vary from state to state and case to case, and they are subject to being shorter or longer depending on the judge and situation. Most often, individuals have to meet certain specifications, such as having interlock systems installed on their car ignition if they are issued restricted driver’s licenses, or they must wait for a specified period of time to get their license back if it is suspended or revoked. In many of these later instances, individuals often have to appear before the Department of Motor Vehicles and formally evaluated in terms of their risk for future infractions in order to get their full driver’s license returned. All of these issues incur a further outlay of money, are significantly embarrassing for most individuals, and produce significant stress and resentment.

Expect to Pay More Money for Car Insurance
Individuals who have DUI offenses on their record pay significantly higher premiums for car insurance. There is no way around this. In many cases, insurance companies may drop them, and individuals are forced to seek out insurance companies that will accept them. These companies typically charge significantly higher rates for limited automobile insurance.
Expect to Be Placed on Probation
Because being convicted of a DUI offense is a criminal offense, the vast majority of individuals will be placed on probation for some period of time following their conviction. Probation costs money, and individuals can expect to shell out more money here. The specifications of probation require that an individual not use alcohol or other drugs, and not be in places where the primary purpose of the business is to serve alcohol (e.g., a bar). Other restrictions may be incurred depending on the state, situation, judge, and the individual’s probation officer. While on probation, individuals are required to notify their probation officer and get permission to leave the state and in some cases even the city in which they reside.
One Might Have to Attend an Alcohol Education Program
More and more jurisdictions are requiring that even first-time offenders attend a formal alcohol education program. The program can vary depending on the situation and the state where the program is delivered. Expect to pay for the program and have your attendance monitored in some way.
One Might Have to Complete a Formal Alcohol or Substance Use Disorder Evaluation
The courts will often require that an individual be formally evaluated by a mental health provider that is attached to the court system or a private mental health provider for substance abuse issues prior to going to trial. This assessment often includes an interview with the healthcare provider/clinician and completing a series of tests. The court often uses this information to determine sentencing, probation, the need for treatment, etc. Again, these assessments can be relatively expensive, and the court does not pay for them in most cases. One should expect to shell out even more money for this court requirement if it is imposed.
Courts Most Often Require That the Individual Receives Substance Use Disorder Treatment
The legal system does not want to see repeat DUI offenders. Most courts require that individuals receive substance use disorder treatment as a condition of their probation. If individuals do not attend treatment or are not able to demonstrate to the probation officer that they are attending treatment, they could be subject to jail or even steeper fines. The treatment is often specified by the judge and can include participation in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and/or substance use disorder therapy. Individuals may be required to attend inpatient or residential rehabilitation programs for alcohol abuse. The specification of treatment is often a requirement for an individual to complete probation and may be a requirement for an individual to get their driver’s license back.
Upon Conviction, Expect More Fines
Once an individual is convicted of a DUI offense, they are typically fined by the court. These fines will often eat up the individual’s bond and may require the individual to pay additional monies. Individuals can arrange to be put on a payment program because, in many cases, the fines are extensive.
More Jail Time Might Be in Your Future
States are becoming stricter and stricter regarding punishments for individuals who incur DUI-type offenses, even for first-time offenders. Judges are given less leeway in giving out fines and jail sentences in the current milieu and may be required to include incarceration as a result of charging an individual with a DUI-type offense. In most cases, judges have some leeway concerning the length of the sentence they impose, but the trend is that individuals who commit more than one DUI offense will spend some time in jail. Serious repeat offenders or individuals who have injured someone or caused property damage may be forced to spend significant time in prison. In some cases, individuals may be placed on a tether in lieu of a jail sentence and are not allowed to leave their home except during specified periods (house arrest).

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record
Once an individual is convicted of a DUI offense, there is a record of it somewhere. In many cases, individuals are required to report these offenses on job applications and for other purposes, such as when applying to the military, applying to certain colleges, etc. Insurance companies often investigate an individual’s driving record for as far back as 5-7 years, and when offenses are uncovered by insurance companies, they will tend to charge higher premiums for services or will not cover the individual. Individuals subject to background checks for employment or other purposes often experience a DUI resulting in complications for certain types of employment. Even though it may not appear in some types of background checks or searches years after an individual has committed the offense, there is always a record of it somewhere. Individuals who have multiple DUI convictions, who have seriously injured or killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol, or who committed significant property damage while under the influence may have these convictions follow them around for the rest of their lives.
Reasons Prosecutors May Reduce or Dismiss DUI Drug Charges
• Lack Of Probable Cause To Stop Your Vehicle: Before a police officer can stop your vehicle, he or she must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to do so. Probable cause is “reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop” This means that you were observed having violated a traffic law, such as: Speeding,, Failing to stop completely at a stop sign, or Straddling the lanes. An example of lack of probable cause to stop you is racial profiling.
What Happens If There Are No Witnesses?
If no one makes a statement to the officer and there are no indicators as to who the driver is, there may not be sufficient probable cause to arrest any of the persons standing near the vehicle which is known as the “no driving” defense.
However, if there is any evidence that could suggest that one person was likely the driver such as:
• The way the seat is adjusted, or
• The fact that one of the parties is the registered owners of the vehicle

What If The Engine Is On But You Did Not Move The Car?
If your engine is running, the officer can assume you had just driven or were about to drive. Other indirect or circumstantial evidence of your having driven include:
• A warm engine
• Gear is in drive
• There is a damaged vehicle at scene of an accident
• The absence of an alternative driver
An adjunct to this is a scenario where you had been in an accident but left the vehicle and the scene and returned home or went to a nearby bar or restaurant where police found you. Unless you admit that you had not ingested any drugs (or alcohol) during the interim between the time you left the vehicle and your being questioned by police, you could just have likely become impaired after you left the scene.
What Symptoms of Impairment Are Officers Looking For?
Classic symptoms of impairment are slurred speech; watery, bloodshot eyes; fumbling with documents; and an inability to understand simple directions or questions. It may be different for drivers under the influence of a drug since different drugs produce different symptoms. If DUI marijuana is suspected, for example, your coordination is usually not affected. Few people who smoked or ingested marijuana exhibit slurred speech or have watery, bloodshot eyes, though they may appear glassy. If the officer testifies to this, a defense expert can counter with studies that refute such conclusions in the majority of subjects.
Field Sobriety Tests
In traffic stops where the officer has observed symptoms of drinking or of ingestion of a drug, the officer may request that you take a series of field sobriety tests that test your coordination and balance. These may include:
• Walk and turn
• Stand on one foot
• Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)

Do You Have To Take Field Sobriety Tests?
You are under no obligation to take any of these tests and will not be penalized at all if you refuse. However, the majority of defendants are either too fearful of appearing uncooperative, or are unaware that they can refuse to take the tests, and commit to taking them. This includes blowing into a PBT, or preliminary breath test, which only detects the presence of alcohol in your blood. Its results are not admissible as evidence but do provide probable cause to suspect you are under the influence of alcohol.
The following are some of the legal grounds on which your DUI case can be dismissed:
• Improper cause for stopping your vehicle by the police
• Illegal seizures and searches by the police
• Illegal field sobriety tests conducted by the authorities
• Illegal chemical tests conducted by the authorities
• Your blood was withdrawn without consent and a warrant
• Violation of a right to speak with your Lawyer
• Successful ousting of license suspension
Illegal Field Sobriety Tests
There are certain kinds of field sobriety tests. There is also a specific manner in which they can be conducted. A test done without your consent is one of the reasons the judge may dismiss your DUI charge. Furthermore, if these tests are run in an invalid fashion, then the arrest is considered to be invalid. According to expert impaired driving lawyers, the most common reason for dismissal of a DUI is due to using faulty testing instrument. Thus, they can challenge the validity of the results of a test in a court of law.
• The conclusions will be false if breathalyzer is not calibrated well before use.
• The results may be inadmissible in the courtroom if you have a specific medical condition.
• Blood tests need to be administered using standard procedures. Blood must be drawn by a specialist technician. There should be no alcohol-based cleaning agents used where blood is drawn. The blood vials must contain an adequate amount of preservative and coagulant, which should not have expired. They should also be correctly mixed with the sample. This sample should be properly labeled and stored in safe custody at all times.
Successfully Ousting the License Suspension
If your lawyer can successfully dismiss the license suspension against you, then the prosecutor might be forced to offer you a plea bargain. He or she may withdraw all DUI charges against you for a much lesser penalty because their case will become weaker in the eyes of the law once the driving suspension is over. Although it seems very difficult to remain positive when you are facing Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges, you should never accept the charges easily. Hire a competent DUI lawyer to defend you.
Right to Speak with Your Lawyer
At the time of the arrest, you should be properly notified by the police officers that you can speak with your lawyer. The defendant can challenge the authorities to have violated this basic right while being arrested.

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 Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony?

What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony

A crime can either be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how serious the offense is. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies and carry lighter penalties. Typically, such penalties may include less than a year in jail, community service, fines, rehabilitation and/or probation. Felonies, on the other hand, come with at least a year (and sometimes decades or even a lifetime) in prison. Legal procedures also differ between felonies and misdemeanors. With a misdemeanor, you will appear before the judge, but you won’t face a jury. With a felony, you will have to appear at an indictment or preliminary trial, and then potentially face a jury trial. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is less serious than a felony and more serious than an infraction. Misdemeanors are generally punishable by a fine and incarceration in a local county jail, unlike infractions which impose no jail time. Many jurisdictions separate misdemeanors into three classes: high or gross misdemeanors, ordinary misdemeanors, and petty misdemeanors. Petty misdemeanors usually contemplate a jail sentence of less than six months and a fine of $500 or less. The punishment prescribed for gross misdemeanors is greater than that prescribed for ordinary misdemeanors and less than that prescribed for felonies, which customarily impose state prison.

Flexible Treatment of Misdemeanors
Legislatures sometimes use such broad definitions to provide prosecutors and judges with flexibility in charging and sentencing for criminal conduct that calls for a punishment combining a fine normally assessed for a misdemeanor and an incarceration period normally given for a felony. Other states, under its felony sentencing realignment law, impose months of county jail rather than multi-year prison sentences for certain designated nonviolent felonies. Other states give their prosecutors discretion to charge some crimes as “wobblers,” meaning the district attorney or the judge can choose to pursue a single criminal matter as a misdemeanor or as a felony, with all the usual consequences attached to either one. Once the D.A. or the judge chooses to treat a crime as a misdemeanor or a felony, the appropriate rights and consequences then attach to the charge and the court will then follow either the misdemeanor or the felony trial and sentencing procedures for the charge.

Consequences of Misdemeanors
It’s important to note that misdemeanors, unlike infractions, are often considered “crimes of moral turpitude,” as they threaten jail rather than mere fines. This distinction gives a convicted misdemeanant significantly reduced chances for a scholarship or a good job. Nowadays, even a dismissed or uncharged arrest for a misdemeanor can destroy a person’s future job prospects. For this reason, it’s often best for someone charged with a misdemeanor to voluntarily return to the same court and ask for a “certified finding of factual innocence” to show to future employers. Knowing the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction and the best defenses to use in court is the job of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Some misdemeanor charges may even result in jail time, in addition to fines and other burdens, so it’s important to have the right advocate on your side.

Felony
In general, a felony can be defined as any criminal offense that results in a prison of one year or longer. They tend to be crimes that involve an element of violence and are considered harmful or dangerous to society. Felony crimes also include some of the most serious types of crimes that a person can commit, such as first-degree murder and arson. Felony offenses are generally classified based on the seriousness of the crime. Each state has its own statute that provides separate guidelines on how to categorize a particular felony offense in that state. For example, some states may classify first-degree murder as either a Class A or Class 1 felony. These levels are reserved for the most serious types of offenses and are those crimes which can result in the maximum punishment. The remaining classifications will continue in an orderly fashion (e.g., Class B or Class 2, Class C or Class 3, and so on). Basically, the most important things to remember about the degrees are that they help to determine a convicted defendant’s sentence, and the crimes lessen in severity the further away it is from the Class A or Class 1 level. For instance, a defendant convicted of a Class E felony will receive a much lower sentence and has committed a less serious crime than a person whose crime falls under the Class A felony designation. The laws of a particular state and the circumstances surrounding a case are two major elements that often factor into whether a crime will be charged as a felony or not. However, there are some criminal charges that most states tend to classify as a felony offense.
The following is a general list of felony crimes:
• Property crimes: Grand theft, arson, and vandalism.
• Drug offenses: Distributing, selling, or trafficking drugs.
• Sex crimes: Sexual assault and human trafficking.
• Violent offenses: First-degree murder, second-degree murder, and robbery.
• White collar crimes: Embezzlement, securities fraud, and tax evasion.

There are several factors that can influence the sentence for a felony conviction. Such factors can work both ways. For example, a judge may be more lenient when issuing a punishment for a first-time offender; especially, if the felony was a non-violent crime. In contrast, the judge will most likely not reduce a sentence if the defendant is a repeat offender and the felony committed resulted in serious harm to another person. A sentence can also be reduced if the defendant raises a successful defense. For instance, if the defendant is charged with felony assault, but the victim knowingly consented to the act, then the defendant can assert consent as a defense and may potentially get their sentence reduced. The laws of a state and the type of crime committed can also affect the sentencing a defendant receives. For example, there are certain crimes known as “wobblers” that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Which way the charges end up falling will depend on whether specific factors were present during commission of the crime.
For instance, if no aggravating factors exist (e.g., use of a deadly weapon, type of victim, etc.), then the defendant can argue that their sentence should be similar to those that apply to misdemeanors.
In addition to any criminal consequences, the defendant may also be faced with a civil lawsuit. This means that they may have to pay both criminal fines and civil damages. For example, a victim of domestic violence may press charges and sue the defendant for compensation. In this case, the defendant may be liable for compensating them for medical bills and lost wages. However, if the defendant can show their actions were done in self-defense or some other defense that causes the plaintiff to lose or their claims to become questionable, then the defendant may be able to get their civil penalties reduced or dropped.
Felony Expungement
Getting a felony expunged (i.e., removed) from a criminal record is an extremely difficult task. The general rule of thumb is that the more serious the crime committed, the less likely a person can have it expunged. Thus, felonies such as sex crimes, first-degree murder, and child pornography are typically not eligible for expungement. Some factors that make it more likely that the court will consider a request for expungement include if the person was a minor when the crime was committed, the nature of the crime charged, the amount of time that has passed since the conviction or arrest, and if they have completed all court-ordered requirements for their sentence. Note that there is a difference between when a defendant gets arrested for a felony versus when they are charged with a felony. A felony arrest simply means that the suspect is in custody based on the belief that they committed a felony. On the other hand, a felony charge means that an official legal proceeding has been initiated against the person.

Felon
A felon is a person who has been charged and convicted of a felony offense. This often means that they received a jail or prison sentence for at least one year and possibly longer. The legal penalties for felony convictions can be harsh, but what many people do not consider is the long-lasting impact that a conviction can have on a felon’s life; even after they have already served their sentence. Generally speaking, a felony conviction will remain on a person’s criminal record for the rest of their life. Having a record will make it difficult to find a job; gain custody rights over children, and can take away the right to vote in elections. Additionally, if a felon is charged and convicted of another crime in the future, their resulting punishment will most likely be more severe than their last (e.g., a longer prison sentence, higher fines, etc.). If you are facing charges for a felony offense, then you should strongly consider hiring a local criminal defense attorney for assistance. Your attorney will be able to explain how the laws in your state apply to your particular case, the consequences of a conviction, and the next steps you should take. In addition, your attorney can help you prepare and file documents with the court for your case, and can provide representation on your behalf as well. Your attorney will also be able to determine if there are any defenses you can raise against the charges and whether there is a possibility to have your charges reduced or dropped. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to consult an attorney. Without one, not only is there a higher risk of receiving a conviction, but you also miss out on the opportunity to argue for a lower sentence. As such, it is very likely that you could be looking at significant jail time and heavy criminal fines.
Examples of Felonies and Misdemeanors
In the Utah code, crimes are divided into two broad categories: misdemeanors and felonies. The distinction here is one of maximum punishment; misdemeanors are crimes that carry a maximum of one year of jail time and felonies are crimes with punishments in excess of 12 months of incarceration. A crime can have the same general classification but be broken down into several levels of severity, some of which may raise the seriousness from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Assault
A good example of multiple levels of severity is the general class of crime called assault. In the case of assault, threatening to cause harm to a person but not carrying through on the threat would be classified as a misdemeanor. This can carry jail time of six months to a year. Assault that resulted in actual bodily injury, or in which a weapon was used as part of the assault, would be considered a felony. Felony assault comes with anywhere from one year to 25 years in prison.
Disturbing the Peace
Disturbing the peace is another common charge. This charge comes in many forms, including fighting in a public place, bullying others, or mobilizing an unlawful public assembly. Disturbing the peace, also known as a break of peace, is almost always classified as a misdemeanor. Felony counts are rare, but possible, depending on the state and circumstances surrounding the crime. Given the many variations of this crime, jail time can also vary. The maximum penalty, however, is one year in jail.
Drugs
Crimes relating to drugs can also be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors usually pertain to simple drug possession charges. Things advance to felonies when they involve more than simple possession. This can include possession of a large quantity of drugs or intent to sell. The quantity required to progress from a misdemeanor to a felony varies from state to state. In Utah, for example, one can face a year in jail for simple possession, as well as notable fines. If, however, you’re found with a large quantity or deemed to have an intent to sell, one can face multiple years in state or federal prison.
Theft
Theft is another great example of a crime that has differing levels of severity. Petty theft is the unlawful taking of property or money from another person without their consent. The distinction between whether theft is a misdemeanor or a felony is dependent on the value of the cash or property stolen. Many states classify theft of up to $500 as a misdemeanor and theft of larger amounts as a felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor, possible jail time can include one year behind bars. Felony theft is also referred to as larceny. Grand larceny, or grand theft, may also be on the table if the theft exceeds a value of $1,000 or more. Grand larceny is a felony. You may have heard of “grand theft auto” in reference to stealing a car.
Indecent Exposure
Other crimes are distinguished as being misdemeanors or felonies depending on against whom the crime is committed. Indecent exposure falls into this category. Exposing one’s private parts in public in such a way as to alarm others is considered to be a misdemeanor. However, if the exposure is before a child, then the crime rises to the level of a felony. Different states set different age limits as to where the line exists between misdemeanor and felony indecent exposure. In Utah, whether someone’s charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, they will be labeled as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.
Traffic Violations
In most instances, traffic violations are classified as misdemeanors. Examples of misdemeanor traffic violations include:
• Speeding
• Driving without a license
• Driving without insurance
• Driving under the influence (DUI)
Felony traffic violations include leaving the scene of an accident and vehicular homicide. These violations can come with anywhere from one year to life in prison. Another potential felony traffic infraction is repeated DUIs. In this case, many states upgrade repeated charges of DUI from misdemeanor to felony status. While the criminal act being committed is the same, multiple violations can result in a felony charge that carries harsher punishments.

Criminal Law Lawyer

When you need a Felony or Misdemeanor Attorney, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506
Ascent Law LLC
4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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If you are looking to hire a criminal attorney, 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.
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.
• 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.
Types of crimes that criminal defense lawyers defend in court
• Murder / Manslaughter
• Rape/ sexual offences/offences against children
• Offences against the Person, such as GBH, ABH, and common assault
• Robbery/ Burglary/ Theft /Handling Stolen Goods
• Fraud/Forgery /Proceeds of Crime
• Regulatory offences
• Drug offences
• Breaches of Court orders
• Public order offences / Offensive weapon charges
• Motoring matters
Reasons to Hire a Local Attorney
Trusting your case to a local attorney has many advantages. Being convenient in travelling and communication terms, local attorneys also have familiarity with local court system and may have developed strong connections with local community. The key reasons of hiring a local attorney include:

• Being familiar with local and state laws: Each state is allowed to create, implement and enforce its own laws in additional to federal laws. When choosing an attorney, one of the most important things to consider is his/her deep knowledge of not only federal but also local or state laws. Local attorneys are more aware of every detail of the state law and thus, will know what button to push for each specific case.
• Knowing local court proceedings: Similar to states, each court has its own rules of practice. Some laws are more faithfully adhered to by one court and lesser applied by another one. A local attorney will most likely have previous experience with local courts which will endow him/her with the privilege of understanding the rules of the local court better than any visiting attorney. Besides, a local attorney can be a lot more familiar with filing deadlines and hours of operation of local courts.
• Having good connections: Local attorneys attend local mixers, conferences and social events which give them a chance to develop a rapport with other local judges and attorneys. They will also have good contacts with local police, prosecutors, expert witnesses, which can be effectively used to resolve the case in your favor. A local attorney will know the preferences of each judge as well, thus can decide what evidence will be more acceptable for the very judge.
• Valuing good reputation in the community: Creating and maintaining solid reputation will provide long-term trust and respect for a lawyer in the community. That is why local attorneys will do their best to maintain good reputation in their local court. Otherwise, this is rarely true for non-local attorneys, who may never appear in the court again.
• Skipping some out-of-pocket expenses: When you hire a non-local attorney, note that the travelling costs will be charged to you. That can include travelling tickets, hotel costs, and meals. While, hiring a local attorney you will not have to incur that expense.
Divorce Law
Divorce, or “dissolution of marriage,” is the legal termination of the marital relationship. The divorce process is handled by family law attorneys (each estranged spouse retains his or her own counsel) and involves a number of issues, ranging from division of property to child custody. While it’s important to hire a lawyer who is skilled at your economic and other interests in a divorce, it is crucial to find an attorney with whom you feel comfortable on a personal level. Divorce is an intensely emotional process, requiring delicate people skills in addition to legal know-now. It may make sense to complete a divorce without hiring a lawyer in some limited cases, as long as neither party has representation and there are no minor children involved. But most divorces, particularly those involving dependent children and/or complicated property issues, go more favorably with the counsel of a divorce attorney. And if your estranged spouse has an attorney, it’s always wise to hire one yourself.
Terms to Know
• Custody: Having rights to your child. Custody can be either legal, which means that you have the right to make important decisions about your child’s welfare, or physical, which means that the child lives with and is raised by you.
• Prenuptial Agreement: An agreement made between a man and a woman before marrying in which they give up future rights to each other’s property in the event of a divorce or death.
• Stipulation: An agreement entered into by the divorcing spouses that settles the issues between them and is often entered into the court’s final order or judgment and decree.
Issues Involved in a Divorce
At its most basic, a divorce is a legal process by which two parties terminate their legal and financial relationship. But each divorce is unique and most involve disputes over things like child custody or division of property.
• Division of Property: All property acquired by either spouse after the marriage date is considered “marital property” and is subject to equitable division.
• Alimony: Alimony, or spousal support, is monthly payment made by one spouse to another in accordance to either a settlement agreement or court order. Alimony is meant to correct for any unfair economic effects of a divorce.
• Child Support: Child support is a monthly payment made by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent to be spent on the child’s needs.
• Child Custody: When a family splits up, the parents and the court must decide what is best for the minor children, including where they will live and how decisions are made. This is often the most difficult part of the divorce proceedings.
If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, one of the first questions you’ll have is whether you need a divorce lawyer. It’s not a simple question and the answer will depend on your particular situation. As a general rule, the less that you have to rely on the courts to solve your problems, the more smoothly the divorce will go. But do you need a divorce lawyer? If you’re able to work together with your spouse to resolve the legal issues, you may not need a lawyer’s help. These issues include:
• Child custody of your minor children
• Child support
• Alimony
• Division of property
Working together with your spouse through the divorce process can have a lot of advantages, including:
• You’ll have better control over the vital issues that will be raised during your divorce instead of leaving them up to the court.
• You’ll end up saving quite a bit of time and money by not having to hire a divorce lawyer for all aspects of your divorce.
• Children going through a divorce often have a smoother transition if their parents can work out the divorce themselves.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you need a criminal defense lawyer 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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