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Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer - Repeat Offenders

If you are facing criminal charges in Utah as a repeat offender, a prosecuting attorney may pursue your case more aggressively and a judge may impose a harsher sentence if you are convicted. In addition to having an attorney who can aggressively assert the legal or factual defenses in your case, your attorney should also be able to help guide you through certain steps you can take that may help convince a prosecuting attorney that you deserve a break or convince a judge to be lenient. As an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has repeatedly defended clients with lengthy criminal histories and achieved positive outcomes. Contact us today to arrange an initial consultation.

Enhancements for Repeat Offenders in Utah

Some criminal charges in Utah contain enhancements for repeat offenders. These enhancements can include increased mandatory sentencing provisions, or may increase the actual level of the offense.

Even where there is no formal statutory enhancement to the level of a crime or the minimum sentence for a conviction, Utah prosecutors and judges will consider a person's prior criminal criminal record in determining how aggressively to prosecute the case or in making a sentencing order. Pre-sentence reports prepared by Adult Probation and Parole (AP&P) will normally contain information for the judge and prosecutor regarding a defendant's prior criminal record - both adult records and juvenile records. The Utah sentencing guideline matrix system also takes into consideration a defendant's prior criminal history in classifying the defendant for sentencing recommendations.

Three Strikes Laws in Utah?

Utah does not have a formal "three strikes" law such as what was enacted in California in the 1990's. But there are various crimes under the Utah Code that provide for enhanced penalties for repeat offenders. Here are some examples:

DUI - A first DUI offense in Utah is normally charged as a class B misdemeanor. But a third DUI charge within a 10-year period can be filed as a felony with potential prison.

Theft / Retail Theft - The severity of most Utah theft charges is based on the value of the item(s) taken. A theft of property valued at less than $500 is normally a class B misdemeanor. But for a person with two prior convictions for theft, robbery, burglary with the intent to commit a theft, or certain other related charges becomes an automatic felony charge regardless of value.

Domestic Violence - Criminal charges for domestic violence can be enhanced based on prior convictions. Under Utah law, a prior "conviction" for DV enhancement purposes can even include a dismissed plea in abeyance (PIA) case. Utah domestic violence charges that can be enhanced or used as a basis for enhancement can include assault, violation of a protective order, criminal mischief, stalking, harassment, and a variety of other criminal offenses classified as "domestic violence" under Utah law.

Choosing the Right Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake

Facing criminal charges is always a serious matter. If you have a prior criminal record, it is even more important to have an experienced advocate on your side. Stephen Howard has defended clients in thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor cases, and has repeatedly and successfully defended clients with extensive criminal histories. No attorney can guarantee the outcome for your case. But having an experienced criminal lawyer on your side can substantially improve your chances of success.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.


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  • Selected Victories
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
  • 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.
  • Utah Probation Attorney Released - Client absconded for more than 10 years from felony probation with Adult Probation and Parole. At an order to show cause hearing, prosecutor argued aggressively for prison. Based on effective mitigation efforts by the defense, the judge agreed to release client without further jail.
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  • 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. . . .
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Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

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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
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

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