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Salt Lake Plea in Abeyance Attorney - Utah Criminal Lawyer

Criminal courts in Salt Lake may accept a plea in abeyance as a complete resolution of a criminal case. A plea in abeyance may allow you to obtain a dismissal of the criminal charges against you, without the risks that may involved in taking a criminal case to trial. If you are facing criminal charges in Salt Lake, you should consider whether a plea in abeyance is an option that may be available to you. As an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney, Stephen Howard has obtained plea in abeyance agreements for clients facing prosecution for charges ranging from first-degree felonies to lesser misdemeanors. He has a track record of achieving real results. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

How to Get a Plea in Abeyance in Utah

Obtaining a plea in abeyance requires successful negotiations with the prosecutor. A judge cannot order a plea to be held in abeyance unless an agreement is first reached between the prosecuting attorney and the defense.

Prosecutors consider a number of factors in determining whether a plea in abeyance agreement is appropriate. A prosecuting attorney may consider the defendant's prior criminal record (or lack thereof), the seriousness of the allegations involved in the present case, the defendant's past or current involvement in treatment or counseling, the defendant's educational progress or employment experience, as well as the various strengths and weakness of the legal case on which the current charges are based. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help expose problems with the prosecutor's case and may also help you present mitigating circumstances in a light most favorable to obtaining a plea in abeyance offer.

If you are considering seeking a plea in abeyance in a Utah criminal case, you should consult with a criminal lawyer to ensure that you understand the risks involved in accepting a plea in abeyance. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may also help give you the best chance at obtaining a plea in abeyance.

How a Plea in Abeyance Works in Salt Lake

Compliance with a Utah plea in abeyance typically results in the dismissal of all charges. Failure to comply with the plea in abeyance conditions agreement can result in a criminal conviction as well as a jail or prison sentence.

When a plea is held in abeyance, the court will order compliance with certain conditions (similar in many ways to conditions of probation). Typical conditions may include the payment of court fees, completion of counseling, drug testing, payment of restitution, or community service. Almost without exception, a plea in abeyance agreement will require that the defendant not commit any further criminal violations of the law (minor traffic offenses excepted).

Before accepting a plea in abeyance offer, it is important to make an honest assessment of your ability and desire to comply with the required conditions. If drug testing or counseling is a condition of the plea in abeyance, but you do not want to stop using drugs, a plea in abeyance may not be the best resolution for your case. If restitution is substantial in your case and you do not have the financial resources to pay the required amount, you may find yourself in violation of the plea in abeyance terms and facing possible conviction.

You should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before accepting any plea in abeyance offer, to ensure that you understand your rights and to ensure that the plea in abeyance is the best resolution for your case.

Expunging a Criminal Case Following a Plea in Abeyance

In many instances, a plea in abeyance may substantially speed up the expungement process.  For most Utah criminal charges, you will need to wait between three and seven years following the completion of probation, jail, or prison before you can begin the expungement process. But once a case is dismissed under a plea in abeyance agreement, you should be eligible to begin the expungement process only 30 days after the dismissal is entered.

Choosing a Utah Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard has extensive experience defending felony and misdemeanor cases in Utah. He has achieved plea in abeyance resolutions for clients facing charges ranging from the misdemeanor level to the first-degree felony level. He has also achieved not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals in some of the most serious criminal charges on the books in Utah.

Each case is different. But having an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney on your side can help give you the best chance of success.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.


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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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