Criminal Defense Attorney West Valley City Utah

Criminal Defense Attorney West Valley City Utah

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 in West Valley City Utah 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.

When hiring a defense lawyer, it is important to find the right one to handle your specific case. However, many wonder what a defense lawyer generally does for their clients. First of all, before choosing a lawyer, it is important to make sure they are licensed to practice law in that specific state. Most lawyers specialize in a certain area of law and it is best to choose one that specializes in the practice area in which you require defense. When an attorney has specialized in a specific area of law for the majority of their time in practice, this typically signifies that they have a lot of experience relating to that subject. Their job is to represent their clients in court proceedings and they are supposed to do what they possibly can to get their clients the best outcome. It may not always work in their client’s favor, but attorneys are bound by a code of ethics under licensing laws and must provide their clients with fair and honest representation that works in the best interest of their clients.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Accepting a Plea Bargain

The prosecutor and the judge may prefer to dispose of cases through a plea bargain because doing so helps to manage caseloads and reduce the number of cases that require a full trial. This helps to decrease the expense that the state will pay for this portion of the criminal justice system. Criminal defendants may gain certain advantages by accepting a plea bargain. However, they must also be aware of the disadvantages.


• Lighter Sentence: Many criminal defendants accept a plea bargain agreement because the prosecutor offers a lighter sentence for a crime. This may result in significantly less time behind bars in the event that the individual was convicted of the crime after a full trial.

• Reduced Charge: A criminal defendant may receive a reduced charge in exchange for accepting the plea deal. In some cases, this may result in the defendant pleading guilty to a misdemeanor instead of a felony. In other cases, the defendant may plead to a crime of a different class or degree. This reduced charge may result in different consequences. For example, a person may be eligible for certain jobs or to have their criminal record expunged under certain convictions than others.

• Cost Savings: Criminal defendants who hire a private attorney will likely have to pay much more to have an attorney represent them through the entire trial. Accepting a plea agreement can help a criminal defendant dispose of the case more quickly to avoid the time and expense of a trial.

• The Case Is Over: After you accept a plea agreement and appear before the court to plead, your case is virtually over. If you have been in jail because you were unable to bond out, you may be released if you have no jail time to serve or have a suspended sentence. It also helps remove the uncertainty of going to trial and not knowing what the outcome will be. This allows you to deal with the consequences now, rather than worry about them while your case is still pending.


Before accepting a plea agreement, a criminal defendant should discuss the disadvantages of this decision with a criminal defense lawyer. Here are a few such potential disadvantages:

• Avoiding Problems with Prosecution’s Case: Sometimes when a prosecutor offers a plea agreement, it is because he or she realizes that there are certain problems with the state’s case. For example, there may not be credible witnesses, forensic evidence may not be convincing or the defendant may appear sympathetic. By accepting a plea agreement, you may be accepting a conviction that the prosecution may not have been able to otherwise acquire based on its own case.

• No “Not Guilty” Result: When a criminal defendant hears “not guilty,” he or she may feel a sense of vindication. In most cases, when a criminal defendant accepts a plea agreement, he or she agrees to plead guilty of a crime. In some cases the individual makes this decision because he or she was actually guilty of the crime, but in other cases, the individual makes the decision because he or she fears being found guilty and the likely consequences of that conviction. Once an individual pleads guilty, he or she cannot later go back and tell employers or others that he or she didn’t commit the crime because the conviction says otherwise.

• Possibility of Coercion: Even if a criminal defendant has legal representation, he or she may feel tremendous pressure to accept a plea agreement. The prosecution may emphasize the maximum punishment possible. In such a manner, the prosecution may make innocent individuals accept a plea bargain.

• Non-Binding on Court: Even if you reach an agreement with the prosecutor, the court is not bound to accept this agreement. The court must approve any such agreement. It will ask you whether you understand the terms of the agreement, the charges, and your waiver of certain rights and the consequences of a plea agreement.

Alibi Defense in West Valley City, Utah

An alibi defense is a defense based on information that a defendant was not at the scene of the crime when the crime occurred, that he was somewhere else and could not be the person who committed the crime. The defense can have witnesses testify and present evidence at trial to support an alibi defense. If an alibi defense is based on witness testimony, the credibility of the witness can strengthen or weaken the defense dramatically. The jury or the judge deciding whether the defendant is guilty needs to believe and trust the witness who is testifying that the defendant was not at the scene of the crime.

The defendant’s friends and family members can testify about an alibi but the jury or judge may wonder if these people would lie for the defendant or not want to believe that he could be a criminal. If Bill (the accused drug dealer) was home with his girlfriend, visiting his mother, or out drinking with his friends, these witnesses can testify but there always is a concern that the jury might question their credibility because they are friends or family. This could weaken the alibi defense although it does not mean the defense should abandon it. A witness who does not know or is not close to the defendant can strengthen an alibi defense. If the waitress at the restaurant had never met Sally before that night, the jury probably will see her as having no reason to lie for Sally and rely on her testimony more comfortably.

Testimony from more than one person about a defendant’s alibi also can strengthen an alibi defense. If three co-workers who have known Bill for different lengths of time can testify that he was at the construction site, the defense is stronger than one based on testimony from only one co-worker.

Video footage, photos, swipe card records, and phone or GPS records can be the strongest alibi evidence, because this evidence usually does not depend on a witness being reliable or believable. We tend to think that this type of evidence is more objective – that, for instance, “the camera doesn’t lie.” However, having this evidence does not automatically mean the prosecutor will dismiss the charges or the defendant will be found not guilty at trial. The prosecutor may question the accuracy of records or the date stamp on a video and try to present evidence or argue that the alibi is not airtight.

The fact that a defendant presents an alibi defense does not change the requirement that the prosecutor prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense also does not have to provide the alibi beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury or judge does not believe the alibi defense, the prosecution still must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition to proving that the defendant was at the scene of the crime, the evidence in the case must prove all other elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant actually committed a criminal act. If the jury is not convinced of Bill’s alibi, the jury cannot and is not required to stop there and convict Bill. The jury still must consider whether the prosecution has proved that Bill had illegal drugs in his possession and that he exchanged the drugs with the minors for money.

How to Raise an Alibi Defense

Most states require that a defendant inform the prosecution before trial of an alibi defense within a certain time period. If the defense ignores this requirement, the defendant may not be allowed to present the defense at trial. In any criminal trial proceeding, the defense must provide the prosecution with a list of witnesses who may testify at trial and a list of or copies of physical evidence the defense may present. The prosecution is entitled to interview the defense witnesses before trial and inspect the physical evidence if a copy cannot be provided. If the defendant has an alibi, he usually must give the prosecutor separate, additional notice of the defense, explaining where he was at the time of the crime and what witnesses or evidence he will present to support the alibi. If you are charged with a crime and believe you have an alibi, contact an attorney in West Valley City, Utah immediately. An attorney can investigate this potential defense and help you comply with any procedural requirements or deadlines for alibis in the court where you case was filed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pro Se Representation in a Criminal Matter

After being charged with a crime, a defendant will have several court proceedings they need to participate in to resolve the matter. The first thing a defendant should determine is their court representation strategy. Will they hire a private attorney, ask for a public defender, or represent themselves? If a criminal defendant chooses to represent themselves in court, this is referred to a pro se representation. Instead of relying on a lawyer for representation and legal advice, a pro se defendant researches and argues their own case in front of the judge and the jury.

However, most lawyers and judges would agree that pro se representation is not always the best decision for a defendant facing criminal charges. This is because most people lack the skill and experience to put up the best defense. Many times when a defendant has self-representation, they will be convicted when a lawyer could help them get a not guilty verdict or a better deal. On the other hand, the right to pro se representation is guaranteed by the West Valley Constitution. So, if the defendant chooses to represent themselves in a criminal trial, the court must honor that decision.

If a defendant chooses to represent themselves, they will need to take the following steps:

• Tell the court that they wish to proceed with pro se representation;

• Establish competency to stand trial (criminal defendants that lack competency cannot represent themselves pro se);

• File the appropriate court paperwork; and

• Meet all court deadlines and case requirements.

Keep in mind that these requirements may vary between states and particular courts. Additionally, some judges may allow or require a pro se defendant to work with a “standby attorney”. This provides a pro se defendant with a lawyer who is there to help if they need one to step in during a proceeding to help with procedure or arguments. Many judges prefer this type of representation because it allows a defendant to assert their right to be pro se while still having traditional representation available if things get out of hand.

Advantages of Pro Se Representation

While the disadvantages to pro se representation carry more weight in most instances, there may be some advantages depending on the defendant’s situation. These may include:

• Familiarity: The majority of criminal defendants who choose to go pro se base their decision on a lack of trust in the judicial system. The defendants may believe that they know their cases best and are therefore in the best position to provide the greatest defense;

• Lower costs: Another common reason a defendant might choose pro se representation is the cost involved in hiring an attorney. If the defendant does not want the pro bono attorney, they will have to spare significant expense to hire a private attorney. However, even though pro se representation saves money it also provides a lesser chance of winning the case in most instances;

• Strategy Decisions: Having pro se representation means that the defendant solely calls the shots in their defense. This eliminates strategy disagreements between an attorney and client and the defendant feeling pressured to proceed with their case in a certain way. However, pro se defendants will still need to learn and follow the court’s rules; and

• Legal Experience: If the defendant is an attorney or has work experience in a legal setting, they may already be familiar with the judicial system and equipped with the tools needed to effectively argue their case.

Disadvantages of Pro Se Representation

Overall, pro se defendants have a lesser chance of winning their case than if they were represented by an attorney. Before making a representation decision, criminal defendants should consider the following disadvantages of proceeding in a pro se fashion:

• Lack of Training and Knowledge: Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of pro se representation is that most defendants are not adequately trained in the law to represent themselves. Most criminal defendants have not gone to law school or received any legal training. As such, they will lack the knowledge of how to argue a case and be unfamiliar with common criminal procedure requirements that courts impose;

• Inferior Argument Skills: Although a defendant might have some knowledge of the law, knowledge alone is not enough to win a case and persuade the judge or jury that they are not guilty. Again, the average person will usually find it difficult to argue if they lack training in communication and argumentation skills. Language barriers can further complicate these situations;

• Bias: Pro se defendants will generally have inherent bias because they cannot look at the case from the other party’s position. On the other hand, lawyers are trained to think this way in order to determine the best case strategy and arguments. Even defendants who are attorneys or have legal experience may have trouble getting rid of their bias when they are representing themselves; and

• Delays: Since many pro se defendants are unfamiliar with court/case rules and procedures, this may cause delays with case resolution. It can also result in sanctions against the defendant.

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Attorneys that specialize in criminal defense are often self-employed or work for private firms, but can also work for organizations and government agencies. Once a lawyer is hired and retained, they will gather all pertinent details regarding your case and will work on building a strong defense strategy. Their defense strategy should challenge every aspect of the prosecution’s case in order to do what they can to get their client the best final outcome possible under the circumstances, which obviously vary from case to case. There are many different types of cases that criminal defense lawyers can take on such as assault charges, theft and fraud charges, white collar crimes defense, and DUIs.

Civil Litigation Defense Lawyers

Civil defense lawyers often work on cases where they defend people listed in a lawsuit. In these types of cases, their clients are being taken to court and sued for a sum of money. The lawyer’s job is in these types of cases is to try and prove that their clients were not liable for the claimed damages. This area of defense covers many different types of cases. For example, divorce law, personal injury law, and mass torts.

Public Defense Lawyers

Lawyers working as public defenders usually work for government agencies and can be specifically appointed to one office like for a county defender’s office. They are retained by these agencies to provide those who cannot afford legal counsel, the right to legal counsel and defense.

Juvenile Defense Lawyers

Juvenile defense lawyers defend people aged between 10 and 17 since they cannot be tried as adults, even if the crimes committed are the same as adult crimes. Sentences and penalties are much different for juveniles and this area of defense law is quite unique because in most cases, defense lawyers who specialize in this area of law are tasked with trying to find rehabilitative solutions for their young clients and hopefully help them avoid incarceration. Defending yourself against a criminal charge is no easy matter. You must understand the elements of the crime that you have been charged with and see what defenses you may have against the various elements. You do not need to defend against all of the elements, as it only takes a reasonable doubt by the jury for one of them. Every case is different, but here are a few of the most common defenses to a criminal charge.

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

As noted above, the costs of criminal defense lawyers vary, as no criminal case is identical to another. There are several factors that can affect the overall costs of a criminal case, including:

• Defendant’s Income: Your income determines whether you are eligible for a court-appointed attorney, or whether you need to hire your own attorney. Each jurisdiction may have different qualifications to determine if someone can afford to hire their own attorney. If an individual qualifies based on their income, then the court will appoint a public defender paid for by the government, as guaranteed by the Constitution;

• Investigation and Experts: As mentioned above, many criminal cases have complex issues that can require investigators and/or expert witnesses. For example, a defense attorney might hire an expert in chemical testing to contest or explain the results of a BAC analysis in a DUI trial, or a psychologist if the defendant wants to claim the defense of legal insanity. Investigators and experts require on average a retainer of $2,000 and can charge over $300/hr. Thus, based on the particular circumstances of your criminal charges, there may be extra fees needed to form a stronger defense; or

• Attorney’s Fees: As mentioned above, criminal defense attorneys do not all cost a fixed amount of money. Attorney’s fees will vary according to several factors. Some of the more important factors affecting an attorney’s rate include: The skill of the attorney; the experience of the attorney; the seriousness of the offense; the complexity of the legal issues in the case; the amount of time spent by the attorney in the criminal discovery process; The delegation of tasks to law clerks or paralegals; Whether the case goes to trial; and Whether the attorney charges a flat fee or by the hour.

Call Ascent Law Now

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it’s a great idea to hire West Valley City Utah criminal defense lawyers. These lawyers have enough skills and experience in dealing with criminal cases. This helps them enhance their reputation because they work to satisfy your expectations.

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

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West Valley City, Utah


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from West Valley City)
West Valley City, Utah
City of West Valley City
The Maverik Center in West Valley City, home of the Utah Grizzlies ice hockey team.

The Maverik Center in West Valley City, home of the Utah Grizzlies ice hockey team.
Official seal of West Valley City, Utah


“Progress as promised.”[1]
Location within Salt Lake County

Location within Salt Lake County
West Valley City is located in Utah

West Valley City
West Valley City
Location within Utah

Coordinates: 40°41′21″N 111°59′38″WCoordinates40°41′21″N 111°59′38″W
Country  United States
State  Utah
County Salt Lake
Settled 1847
Incorporated 1980

 • Mayor Karen Lang [2]

 • Total 35.88 sq mi (92.92 km2)
 • Land 35.83 sq mi (92.79 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.14 km2)

4,304 ft (1,312 m)

 • Total 140,230
 • Density 3,913.76/sq mi (1,511.11/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Area code(s) 385, 801
FIPS code 49-83470[5]
GNIS feature ID 1437843[6]

West Valley City is a city in Salt Lake County and a suburb of Salt Lake City in the U.S. state of Utah. The population was 140,230 at the 2020 census,[4] making it the second-largest city in Utah. The city incorporated in 1980 from a large, quickly growing unincorporated area, combining the four communities of Granger, Hunter, Chesterfield, and Redwood. It is home to the Maverik Center and USANA Amphitheatre.

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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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Utah Criminal Code 76-5-102

Utah Criminal Code 76-5-102

Utah Criminal Code 76-5-102: Assault–Penalties
1. Assault is:
a. an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another;  or
b. an act, committed with unlawful force or violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another.
2. Assault is a class B misdemeanor.
3. Assault is a class A misdemeanor if:
a. the person causes substantial bodily injury to another;  or
b. the victim is pregnant and the person has knowledge of the pregnancy.
4. It is not a defense against assault, that the accused caused serious bodily injury to another.

What Is An Assault?

In legal terms, an assault refers to “the intentional creation of a reasonable apprehension of harm.” This refers to situations in which one person causes another person to fear being harmed. Thus, assault is an attempt or threat that causes another person to be apprehensive of imminent bodily harm. An example of this would be if a person pulls their fist back as if they were going to punch someone, and that person believes that they are going to be punched. Assault is often confused with battery, due to the fact that assault and battery are commonly charged together. However, assault is a separate charge from battery. Assault refers to the fear of being harmed, whereas battery refers to the actual act of harming another person. Battery is the unlawful use of force against a victim, with the intent to cause injury, or offensive touching. In some jurisdictions, assault may also be considered to be attempted or unsuccessful battery. Although assault is considered to be an intentional tort, every state has its own criminal statutes for both assault and battery. This means that an assault could serve as the basis for a civil lawsuit as well as prosecution by a state court, which could result in fines and/or jail time. An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal or civil liability. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and Tort Law. There is, however, an additional Criminal Law category of assault consisting of an attempted but unsuccessful Battery.

What Are The Elements Of Assault?

Generally, the essential elements of assault consist of an act intended to cause an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact that causes apprehension of such contact in the victim. The act required for an assault must be overt. Although words alone are insufficient, they might create an assault when coupled with some action that indicates the ability to carry out the threat. A mere threat to harm is not an assault; however, a threat combined with a raised fist might be sufficient if it causes a reasonable apprehension of harm in the victim. Intent is an essential element of assault. In tort law, it can be specific intent, if the assailant intends to cause the apprehension of harmful or offensive contact in the victim or general intent if he or she intends to do the act that causes such apprehension. In addition, the intent element is satisfied if it is substantially certain, to a reasonable person, that the act will cause the result. A defendant who holds a gun to a victim’s head possesses the requisite intent, since it is substantially certain that this act will produce an apprehension in the victim. In all cases, intent to kill or harm is irrelevant. In criminal law, the attempted battery type of assault requires a Specific Intent to commit battery. An intent to frighten will not suffice for this form of assault. There can be no assault if the act does not produce a true apprehension of harm in the victim. There must be a reasonable fear of injury. The usual test applied is whether the act would induce such apprehension in the mind of a reasonable person. The status of the victim is taken into account. A threat made to a child might be sufficient to constitute an assault, while an identical threat made to an adult might not. Virtually all jurisdictions agree that the victim must be aware of the danger. This element is not required, however, for the attempted battery type of assault. A defendant who throws a rock at a sleeping victim can only be guilty of the attempted battery assault, since the victim would not be aware of the possible harm.

What Is An Aggravated Assault?

An aggravated assault, punishable in all states as a felony, is committed when a defendant intends to do more than merely frighten the victim. Common types of aggravated assaults are those accompanied by intent to kill, rob, or rape. An assault with a dangerous weapon is aggravated if there is intent to cause serious harm. Pointing an unloaded gun at a victim to frighten the individual is not considered an aggravated assault.

What Is The Punishment For Assault?

A defendant adjudged to have committed civil assault is liable for damages. The question of the amount that should be awarded to the victim is determined by a jury. Compensatory Damages, which are aimed at compensating the victim for the injury, are common. Nominal damages, a small sum awarded for the invasion of a right even though there has been no substantial injury, may be awarded. In some cases, courts allow Punitive Damages, which are designed to punish the defendant for the wrongful conduct. The punishment for criminal assault is a fine, imprisonment, or both. Penalties are more severe when the assault is aggravated. Many states have statutes dividing criminal assault into various degrees. As in aggravated assault, the severity of the crime, the extent of violence and harm, and the criminal intent of the defendant are all factors considered in determining the sentence imposed.

To prove that a person is guilty of misdemeanor assault a prosecutor must prove that:
• the accused did an act that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person;
• the accused did that act willfully;
• the accused was aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize that the act would directly and probably result in the application of force to someone;
• when the accused acted, he or she had the present ability to apply force to a person, and
• the accused did not act in self-defense, or in defense of someone else.

The terms application of force and apply force mean to touch in a harmful or offensive manner. The slightest touching can be enough if it is done in a rude or angry way. Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.

To prove that a person is guilty of felony assault a prosecutor must prove that:
• the accused did an act:
• with a deadly weapon other than a firearm that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person, OR
• the act by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person, and the force used was likely to produce great bodily injury, OR
• the accused used a firearm,
• the accused did that act willfully,
• the accused was aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize that the act would directly and probably result in the application of force to someone,
• when the accused acted, he or she had the present ability to
• apply force likely to produce great bodily injury, OR
• with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, OR
• with a firearm, the accused did not act in self-defense, or in defense of someone else.
Great bodily injury means significant or substantial physical injury. It is an injury that is greater than minor or moderate harm.
A deadly weapon other than a firearm is:
• any object, instrument, or weapon that is inherently deadly, or
• one that is used in such a way that it is capable of causing and likely to cause death or great bodily injury.
Punishment For Assault In Utah
The punishment for assault in Utah ranges from misdemeanor probation and county jail, to felony probation and state prison sentences.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by:
• up to six months in county jail,
• a fine of $1,000.
Please note that the punishment for simple assault can be doubled if committed against specified people (police officers, firefighters, medical personnel, and others).
Aggravated assault can be either a misdemeanor or a felony punishable by up to:
• one-year county jail as a misdemeanor,
• two, three, or four years state prison as a felony,
• a $10,000 fine.
Assault with the intent to commit certain felonies is a felony and generally punishable by:
• two, four, or six years state prison
• a $10,000 fine.
Please note that certain sentence enhancements or other factors might increase these penalties and make assault charges strikes under Utah law.
Defenses to assault charges in Utah could include;
• mistaken identity,
• self defense,
• defense of others,
• the force used was not likely to cause great bodily injury,
• no use of a deadly weapon.
An experienced criminal defense attorney defending a Utah assault case will:
• work with private investigators,
• interview and re-interview witnesses,
• visit crime scenes, and
• consult with experts.

What Are The Types of Assault?

In the legal context, assault implies a threat or an attempt to physically strike or touch a person in an offensive way. This is regardless if or not the contact has been made or not. The assault is a misdemeanor but it is regarded as a felony since it is an act of criminal violence against an individual. There are varied types of assault and the penalties for the same vary vehemently.

 Felony Assault: This is regarded as an attempt to attack or an unlawful attack through violence or force that has caused a physical injury to a person. In this assault, the weapon is utilized and is regarded as an assault irrespective of whether or not the victim suffers from physical pain or injury.
 Simple Assault: In this assault, the weapon is not utilized and the injuries occurred to the victim is minor in nature. This is also known as a lesser degree of assault and is usually considered as a misdemeanor and is charged for the same. The mere threat of the serious injury which the victim fears from is immediate and real enough to regard this as an offense.
 Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is regarded as the use of force against the will of the victim. This is also considered as rape and includes sexual penetration without the consent from the victim. For example, a husband can be charged and also convicted for sexually assaulting or raping his wife. Even voyeurism or improper touching is also deemed as a sexual assault. There are more serious penalties for a sex crime and the offender can be sentenced to life imprisonment. If you have faced such an issue, you can hire an assault lawyer.
 Aggravated Assault: This assault occurs with the use of a weapon or an increased amount of force. In order to be considered as an aggravated assault, the offender should have the intent to cause a serious bodily injury or use a deadly weapon like a bat, gun, knife, in order to cause a permanent or temporary injury. Assaulting a public official like a fireman, police officer, or judge is considered as a felony even if the victim has sustained only minor injuries.
What Is Needed to Prove Assault?
When proving assault, there are specific elements of proof that the prosecution must fulfill in order to prove an assault occurred. These elements of proof must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, as it could be a defense against the assault charge if one or more elements cannot be successfully proven.
These elements of proof include:
 Intention: In order for assault to be proven, the defendant must have intended for their acts or conduct to create an apprehension of fear or harm in the victim. As such, accidental or unintentional acts are not considered to be an assault;
 Reasonable Apprehension: The victim must have been reasonably apprehensive of being harmed by the defendant. Alternatively, the victim must have reasonably perceived that a harm or threat of harm was being directed towards them. If the victim was not aware of the threat, it may not be enough to successfully prove an assault. An example of this would be when a person aims a weapon at a person, behind that person’s back, without that person being aware of what’s happening behind them;
 Imminent Harm: The victim’s harm must be a direct response to an imminent threat of harm, or a threat that is immediately about to occur. The harm can either be physical, such as a kick or a punch, or a threat of unwanted and offensive contact, such as a sexually suggestive touch or embrace. No matter the type of harm, future threats will not result in assault charges; and
 Harmful or Offensive Conduct: The defendant’s actions or conduct must have presented a physical threat, or their behavior must have been offensive to the victim. An example of this would be pretending to kick or punch the victim, or attempting to spit on them. When proving an assault, the theory of reasonableness is often brought up.

Do I Need an Attorney for Assault Charges?

You should always have an attorney. Call Ascent Law LLC if you believe you have been assaulted, or you are being accused of assault, you should immediately contact a skilled and knowledgeable criminal attorney. An experienced criminal attorney can help you understand your state’s laws regarding assault, and compile evidence supporting your claim. Finally, an attorney can represent you in court as needed.

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

Michael R. Anderson, JD

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

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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