Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Take the first step in securing a successful defense.
Call 801-449-1409 now to see what our team can do for you.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

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

Ogden Criminal Defense Attorney

If I did it, can I plead "not guilty”?

Not only "can" you still plead "not guilty," in most cases you probably should. Entering a "not guilty" plea is not only an acceptable practice in the Ogden criminal courts, it is a fundamental part of the criminal justice system.

DO NOT plead guilty without first consulting an attorney regarding your rights. Having an experienced defense attorney assist you in understanding the various strategies that may be available for defending your case is crucial. When facing prosecution for misdemeanor or felony charges in the Ogden criminal court system or elsewhere in Utah, you need an experienced criminal attorney.

Contact us today to see how we can help. We are pleased to provide defense representation to clients in Ogden and throughout Utah.

Presumption of Innocence & Burden of Proof

The constitutionally-mandated presumption of innocence requires that a jury consider a person to be innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. Under both state and federal constitutions, a person charged with a crime must be viewed by the jury as innocent until sufficient evidence is presented to persuade them otherwise. By entering a plea of "not guilty" a defendant preserves this important constitutional right.

At trial, the prosecutor bears the burden of proof - meaning that the government bears the responsibility of presenting evidence of each and every element of a charge, sufficient to convince a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant does not have to testify, present witnesses or other evidence, or even make arguments to the jury or judge. (In most cases, this is NOT a smart strategy, but it is legally permissible.) If the prosecutor is unable to present the witnesses and evidence necessary to persuade the jury, then a not guilty verdict should be rendered.

A defendant who enters a guilty plea (or no contest,) forgoes the right to a trial and gives up the presumption of innocence. Waiving the presumption of innocence results in a conviction that can carry serious consequences.

Plea Negotiations - Part of the Criminal Justice System

An important part of the Utah criminal justice system is the plea negotiations process. The legislature has established maximum penalties for a multitude of crimes. But true justice is not always best-served by imposing the maximum penalty. In many cases, a prosecutor may be persuaded to seek something less than the most serious penalties or charges that might apply to a case.

When a defendant enters a plea of not guilty, (even when the defendant wants to "accept responsibility”) both sides have the opportunity to fully and appropriately assess the case. Conversely, when a defendant enters a plea of guilty without first consulting with defense counsel, before obtaining full discovery, and prior to engaging in meaningful discussions and negotiations with the prosecutor, both sides are deprived of the opportunity to determine whether a middle-ground resolution might be more appropriate.

The Right to Consult with Counsel before Entering a Plea

Utah courts recognize preserving and protecting the defendant's right to consult with an attorney before entering any plea. Rule 11 of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that a court cannot require a defendant to enter any plea (guilty, no contest, or not guilty) until the defendant "has had a reasonable time to confer with counsel." The rule also provides, and the Court of Appeals has affirmed, that a trial court "may not accept" a guilty or no contest plea where a defendant is not represented by an attorney unless the court specifically finds that the defendant has "knowingly waived the right to [an attorney] and does not desire [an attorney]." See, State v. Ostler, 2000 UT App 28.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

Utah Criminal Lawyer Salt LakeWhen faced with prosecution for a crime in Utah, DO NOT enter any plea without first consulting with a criminal defense lawyer. Doing so is vital to protecting your rights.

Contact us now to see what an experienced criminal defense attorney can do for you. We are pleased to provide criminal defense representation to clients in the Ogden area and throughout Utah.

Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • 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.
  • 402 Reduction Lawyer Utah 2-Step Reduction - Client needed a two-step reduction to bring a prior conviction to the misdemeanor level. Collection of substantial evidence of reform and rehabilitation convinced a normally reluctant prosecutor to stipulate to the defense 402 reduction motion.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
  • Recent Posts
  • What to Do When Arrested for DUI What should I do if I am arrested for DUI? - Many DUI cases begin as minor traffic stops. But the consequences of a DUI conviction are much more serious than an ordinary traffic citation. If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, you have specific important constitutional and statutory rights that can protect your. . . .
  • 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. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

The right criminal defense lawyer can work with you to develop a defense strategy designed to achieve the best results. Hiring a Utah criminal attorney with real courtroom experience and an in-depth understanding of the legal issues involved in defending against a criminal prosecution can help ensure the best...

Strategy »
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....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences in Utah Criminal Prosecutions

Jail time, prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, and the lifetime collateral consequences of having a criminal conviction on your record - all of these and more are at stake when you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah. Understanding what is at risk is critical. Even so-called "minor" misdemeanor cases can have serious consequences....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Hope

Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are reasons to remain hopeful, and there are things you can do right now that can help increase the odds of a successful outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the various options you have, and can help you....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.