Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Take the first step in securing a successful defense.
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our team can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Contact Us

District Courts - Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer

The Utah district court system has jurisdiction over all levels of criminal offenses, both felony and misdemeanor. Utah justice courts are limited in their jurisdiction to class B misdemeanor and lower level offenses. If you are facing criminal prosecution in a Utah district court, it is vital that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Stephen Howard has achieved positive results for clients facing charges in district court for charges including murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, drug charges, and many more. Based in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Criminal Jurisdiction for Utah District Courts

A district court in Utah has jurisdiction over both felony and misdemeanor criminal offenses. The court's jurisdiction is typically limited to cases that occur within the geographical boundaries of the county within which the court is located. If there is a justice court that has concurrent geographical jurisdiction with the district court, class B misdemeanor and lower level offenses will initially be filed in that justice court. But all class A misdemeanor and felony charges must be heard in the district court.

Some larger counties in Utah (notably Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah counties) have a criminal case load sufficient to justify multiple district court locations within the county. Case assignments are typically made based on the location within the county where the offense occurs. For example, charges occuring in Salt Lake and West Valley are normally filed in the Salt Lake Department of the Third District Court; whereas cases arising in Sandy, South Jordan, or Draper are normally heard in the West Jordan Department of the Third District Court.

Consequences for Criminal Conviction in a Utah District Court

Because the jurisdiction of Utah's district courts includes both misdemeanors and felonies, the potential penalties for a conviction in a district court criminal case can vary widely. While there are a few criminal offenses under Utah law that carry mandatory prison terms, in most cases a district court judge has the option of granting probation. Depending on the nature and level of the underlying criminal charge, a district court may order a defendant's probation to be supervised by either Utah's Adult Probation and Parole ("AP&P") or by a private probation provider. In Salt Lake County, the court has the option of assigning Salt Lake County Probation Services to supervise probation in class A misdemeanor and lower level charges.

In Utah felony cases, if a district court judge denies a request for probation and instead orders a prison term to be served, the court enters an "indeterminate" sentencing order. Under Utah law, a district court judge cannot determine the exact length of a defendant's prison sentence. Instead, a district court judge can only order a range of time to be served (e.g. 0-5 years, 1-15 years, 5 years to life). Utah law permits the death penalty to be imposed only by a jury in an aggravated murder case.

In Utah misdemeanor cases, a court may impose jail time or probation, or a combination of the two. The maximum amount of jail time depends on the level of the misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail; class B misdemeanors have a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail; class C misdemeanors carry a potential of 90 days in jail.

In addition to jail or prison time, a district court in Utah can impose fines and surchages that can range into the thousands of dollars. With just a few exceptions, most offenses allow a district to impose a lower fine amount if the judge believes doing so is appropriate.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City

If you are facing criminal charges in one of Utah's district courts, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can ensure that your rights are protected. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has achieved not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals in some of the most serious criminal charges on the books in Utah.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and case analysis.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
** All fields are required. **
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
  • Recent Posts
  • What Constitutes Drug Parpahernalia in Utah How is drug paraphernalia defined in Utah? - The definition of drug paraphernalia under the Utah criminal code looks at both the nature of the object and also the intended use of the object in question. . . .
  • Utah Misdemeanor Attorney Salt Lake Can I handle a Utah misdemeanor from out-of-state? - Even if you do not intend to take your case to trial, a misdemeanor criminal offense in Utah can require multiple court appearances to reach a resolution. If you have been charged with a crime in Utah, but are not a Utah resident, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you resolve the case without returning to the state. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

The right criminal defense lawyer can work with you to develop a defense strategy designed to achieve the best results. Hiring a Utah criminal attorney with real courtroom experience and an in-depth understanding of the legal issues involved in defending against a criminal prosecution can help ensure the best...

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Choosing the best criminal defense attorney for your Utah criminal case may be the single most important decision you make. The courtroom can be a hostile place. Prosecutors receive extensive training on legal and tactical issues. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side is critical to defending your case and protecting your rights....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences in Utah Criminal Prosecutions

Jail time, prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, and the lifetime collateral consequences of having a criminal conviction on your record - all of these and more are at stake when you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah. Understanding what is at risk is critical. Even so-called "minor" misdemeanor cases can have serious consequences....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Never give up hope. Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. And it is usually not the end of the world. While the consequences of a criminal charge can be serious, there are often several options and strategies for handling your case. Understanding your options and how an experienced criminal lawyer can help....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

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
340 East 400 South, Suite 25, 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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.