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Utah Court Rules Amended to Require Preliminary Hearings for Class A Misdemeanors

Effective April 1, 2012, the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure will be amended to conform with the requirements of the Utah Supreme Court's decision in the case of State of Utah v. Hernandez, 2011 UT 70. In Hernandez, the Utah Supreme Court held that the Utah State Constitution provides for the right to a preliminary hearing for both felony charges and class A misdemeanors (in cases where the charges are not filed based on a grand jury indictment).

Historically, preliminary hearings had been held in class A misdemeanors. But as certain procedural changes were made in the way criminal cases were handled in the Utah court system, preliminary hearings for class A misdemeanors came to an end. The Utah Supreme Court in Hernandez essentially held that, while the procedural rules had changed, the state's constitution had not changed. Thus, although the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure no longer required preliminary hearings for class A misdemeanors, the state constitution still did.

Upon the issuance of the Utah Supreme Court's opinion, Utah criminal defense attorneys immediately began demanding that preliminary hearings be held for class A misdemeanor cases. The Utah court rules will now conform to the constitutional requirement of a preliminary hearing for class A misdemeanor charges.

Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, you deserve to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. As a Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer, Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for alleged attack using broken bottle as a weapon. Despite the testimony of numerous prosecution witnesses, thorough defense investigation to support a self-defense claim resulted in acquittal by jury at trial.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • 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.
  • 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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  • 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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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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