Prosecution for a felony charge in Ogden can result in serious consequences including prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, and many other collateral consequences that can follow you long after the formal court case has been closed. If you are facing felony or misdemeanor prosecution in Ogden or elsewhere in Utah, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can make all the difference.
Contact us today to see how we can help you.
Defense Strategy for Felony Charges in Ogden
Developing the best strategy for defending against an Ogden felony prosecution requires a careful analysis of the facts and evidence specific to each client’s case, a thorough understanding of the applicable statutes and case law as well as evidentiary and procedural rules. Most importantly, the best strategy must take into consideration the individual client’s goals and needs.
In some cases, an aggressive defense involving motions to suppress evidence, evidentiary hearings, a motion to quash a bindover, or jury trial may be appropriate. In other cases, a mitigation defense and negotiated resolution may better serve the client by giving the prosecutor and judge reasons to be lenient in negotiations or sentencing.
In order to determine what strategy will be best for any given case, discovery and police reports must be reviewed and analyzed, independent investigations may be conducted, expert witnesses may be employed, or novel legal arguments explored and researched. Felony defense can be complex, and there is not always a quick resolution to the case. Having an attorney who understands how to mount a complicated felony defense can be critical to achieving a successful outcome.
Legal Consequences of a Felony Conviction in Ogden
An Ogden felony conviction can have devastating consequences. Following is a brief summary of some of the direct penalties that can be imposed by the courts.
Potential Prison Sentences for Felony Convictions: Utah law provides that any criminal offense hat is punishable by more than a year of incarceration is considered a felony. A third degree felony in Ogden is punishable by up to five years in prison. A second degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A first degree felony can result in a sentence of life in prison. The death penalty in Utah is reserved only for aggravated murder.
In most felony cases filed in the Ogden District Court, the judge has discretion to immediately impose a prison term or to suspend the prison term and instead place a defendant on probation. For certain extremely serious felony convictions, the legislature has made prison time mandatory. Having an experienced criminal lawyer in these cases is especially important.
Fines in Felony Cases: The maximum potential fines in Utah felony cases can be in the thousands of dollars. But the actual amount of a fine is determined by the judge, after considering a variety of factors including the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct, the defendant’s financial circumstances, whether the defendant will be incarcerated for an extended period of time, and other relevant factors. The maximum potential fine for a third degree felony conviction is $5,000. Both second and first-degree felony convictions carry a possible $10,000 fine. All felony criminal fines are also subject to an additional 90% surcharge. In many felony cases, the court may also order that restitution be paid by the defendant for injuries or damages caused by the defendant’s criminal conduct.
Indeterminate Sentencing in Felony Cases: In a felony case, Ogden judges to not determine the actual amount of time you will serve in prison. Instead, Utah uses what an “indeterminate” sentencing system, where the judge has discretion (in most cases) to determine whether the prison term will be suspended with conditions of probation, or instead to immediately impose the prison sentence. When a prison term is imposed, the judge orders a range of time determined by statute (e.g. 1-15 years). The ultimate decision of how much prison time will actually be served in prison is then left to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.
Consequences Beyond the Courtroom
In addition to prison or jail time, an Ogden felony conviction carries other serious consequences. A felony conviction can affect gun rights, the ability to get hired for a job, the ability to rent an apartment or get a loan to buy a house, professional licensing, and much more. A felony drug conviction can result in a driver license suspension.
Utah law provides for no “expiration date” on a felony conviction. The felony conviction will not automatically disappear from a person’s record, even decades after the case has been closed. But the consequences of a felony conviction can often be mitigated or even totally eliminated by having your record expunged, being granted a pardon, or by obtaining a “402 reduction” (an order from the court reducing the offense to the misdemeanor level). A 402 reduction can also be useful in restoring a person’s eligibility for expungement. If your felony or misdemeanor criminal record is holding you back, contact us to see how we can help you.