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.

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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