Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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Can I defend a Utah DUI charge by pleading no contest?

Some people mistakenly believe that pleading no contest (or "nolo contendere") will somehow support their claim of innocense when facing a DUI charge in Utah.  Pleading no contest to a DUI charge in Utah has almost exactly the same effect as pleading guilty, and can result in consequences and sentencing just as severe as if you had pled guilty.

There are a few limited circumstances in which a no contest plea will be to your advantage in a Utah DUI case.  But these circumstances are typically limited to situations in which there may be civil litigation pending relating to injuries or damages alleged to have been caused as a result of the drunk driving.  Under these circumstances, a no contest plea typically cannot be used against you in the civil case, whereas a guilty plea could be considered as an admition of relevant facts pertaining to the civil case.

Unless you are facing both a civil lawsuit and a criminal prosecution, a no contest plea is often just another way to get convicted.  If you believe that you are innocent or have grounds to fight your DUI charge in Utah, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before making any plea or accepting any plea offer from a prosecutor.

Stephen Howard is an experienced criminal defense lawyer based in Salt Lake City and practicing throughout Utah.  He has handled thousands of criminal defense cases - more than most Utah attorneys will see in their entire careers.  Contact us now 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.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • 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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Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

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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....

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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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