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Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Trial by Fire - Trial by Jury

Trying to determine guilt or innocence in the criminal justice system is not always an easy (or accurate) process. Trial by jury is right guaranteed under both the Utah State Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. But juries have not always been used to determine guilt or innocence. If you are facing prosecution in Utah, contact us today to see what defense options may be appropriate for your case and to see how our criminal defense team can help you.

Trial by Ordeal - How it Worked

Today the phrase “trial by fire” refers to a situation in which one’s ability and resolve to function under pressure is tested. Originally, however, “trial by fire” was a not merely a figure of speech - it was meant literally. In the Middle Ages, trial by fire was just one example of the judicial process known as "trial by ordeal."

Utah Criminal Defense Trial LawyerDuring a trial by ordeal the defendant would be put to an unpleasant and usually very dangerous test.  Examples include walking certain number of paces holding a red-hot iron or dipping a hand into a kettle of boiling water or oil to retrieve a stone.  The idea behind a trial by ordeal was that a higher god would intervene to prove the defendant’s guilt or innocence.

Clearly, this judicial process had its faults. But many scholars have suggested that the method was not entirely without merit.

Trial or Confession - It's Your Choice

Trial by ordeal may have been a very effective method of extracting confessions. In a society where people firmly believed that a priest could call on god to reveal the truth by miraculously protecting only the innocent person from harm, a person who was in fact guilty would be much more likely to choose to confess his guilt rather than choose to undergo the ordeal.

The punishment for pleading guilty was generally more lenient than the penalties that would be imposed on one who was found guilty through trial by ordeal. Trial by ordeal therefore also provided strong motivation for an innocent person to falsely confess.

In order to voluntarily choose to undergo the ordeal, a person who was actually innocent must have believed and expected god to perform a miracle during the trial by ordeal and prove them innocent by protecting them from harm. Historical records suggest that the process was not always 100% accurate.

Criminal Defense Lawyers in Utah

DUI Attorney in Davis and Weber CountyOur criminal justice system has evolved significantly since the Middle Ages. But our system today is still not perfect. Having the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer can be critical to achieving the right outcome.

If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor crime in Utah, contact us today to see how we can help you.

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  • 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 402 Reduction Attorney Felony Reduced - Client with prior felony conviction was granted a 402 reduction to the misdemeanor level over the objection of the prosecutor. Based on information provided to the court in support of the defense motion, the judge ruled in favor of the defense.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Dismissal - Client was charged with first-degree felony home burglary and facing potential life in prison. Defense analysis revealed flaws in prosecutor's case which led to abeyance agreement intended to lead to a full dismissal of the case.
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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....

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Conviction Consequences in Utah Criminal Prosecutions

Even a single misdemeanor conviction in Utah can result in extended jail time and substantial fines. The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can last a lifetime. Whether you are facing misdemeanor prosecution in a justice court or more serious felony charges in the district court, obtaining advice and assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney is....

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Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah - Reasons to Hope

Clients sometimes ask what the "worst case scenario" is for their charges. We prefer to take a more positive approach. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. But you can take steps and make choices right now that will improve your chances of a positive outcome. Let us help you....

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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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