Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
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Utah Criminal Lawyer - Representing Out-of-State Clients

If you have been charged with a crime in Utah while visiting the state, it may be possible to handle your criminal case without returning to Utah. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has assisted out-of-state clients in resolving and fighting both felony and misdemeanor criminal charges in many parts of Utah. His track record includes victories in a wide variety of serious criminal cases. Contact us today for an initial consultation.

Your Right to Appear and Defend Criminal Charges in Utah

Under our State and Federal constitutions, you have the right to be present at court hearings relating to your criminal charges. But you can also waive that right, and ask the court to excuse your presence in court and allow your attorney to appear on your behalf.

Whether you can resolve your Utah criminal case without returning to the state will depend on a number of factors. Chief of all will be the question of whether you intend to take the case to trial or, alternatively, to work out a negotiated resolution. If you take your case to trial, you will want to be present for the trial and possibly for some of the more important pre-trial proceedings. In many cases, if a negotiated resolution is reached between the prosecutor and the defense, that resolution can be entered with the court by means of affidavits prepared and presented to the court by your attorney on your behalf.

Another important factor in determining whether your case can be resolved without returning to Utah is the nature and seriousness of your charge. Various felony and misdemeanor charges can present their own unique challenges. Consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best step you can take in determining a defense strategy for your case.

Defending Misdemeanor Charges in Utah

Under Utah law, a person can enter a plea to a misdemeanor charge by submitting a signed and sworn affidavit to the court. In a misdemeanor case, your criminal defense attorney can protect your rights during the negotiations process, and then prepare the required affidavit and statement for submission to the court. With the judge's approval, you will not need to appear in court.

Defending Felony Cases in Utah

In felony cases, Utah law normally requires a defendant to personally appear in court. Under Utah Code 77-13-4, all pleas in felony cases must "be entered by the defendant in open court." But even in felony cases, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to work out a resolution that will not require your personal appearance in court. This may involve a negotiated reduction of the felony charge to the misdemeanor level. If the prosecutor agrees to such a reduction, you may still be able to enter a plea by affidavit without returning to Utah to appear personally in court.

Finding an Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard offers services to clients throughout Utah. He has a track record that includes not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and reversals on appeal in a wide range of felony and misdemeanor cases. If you have been charged with a crime while visiting or traveling through Utah, contact us today for an initial consultation.

We also represent out-of-state clients who are seeking an expungement or a 402 reduction for a prior Utah criminal charges.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • 402 Reduction Lawyer Utah 2-Step Reduction - Client needed a two-step reduction to bring a prior conviction to the misdemeanor level. Collection of substantial evidence of reform and rehabilitation convinced a normally reluctant prosecutor to stipulate to the defense 402 reduction motion.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahDismissed at Preliminary Hearing - Client charged with aggravated robbery and facing life in prison. Full case analysis and consultation with client allowed the development of a strong defense strategy. Effective cross-examination of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing resulted in an outright dismissal of all charges by the judge.
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Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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