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Salt Lake Order to Show Cause and Probation Violation Lawyer

Stephen Howard is a criminal defense lawyer in Salt Lake City who has successfully defended orders to show cause for probation violations in cases ranging from aggravated robbery to DUI, and virtually everything in between. When you are facing an order to show cause, jail time or prison can be on the line. Even a single violation can result in the original suspended sentence being imposed.

What is an order to show cause?

In a Utah criminal case, an order to show cause requires the defendant to appear in court and show or demonstrate reasons or a "cause" why probation should not be revoked and the original sentence imposed. There are several ways to deal with an order to show cause.

How can I challenge the allegations in a probation violation order to show cause?

When you are served with an order to show cause, you will be given an affidavit that lists any alleged violations of probation. Probation violations can range in severity from committing new criminal offenses to missing a fine payment. But no matter what the allegation is, you are entitled to an evidentiary hearing where the prosecution will be required to prove the allegations supporting the order to show cause.

An evidentiary hearing on an order to show cause is similar to a trial in a criminal case in that you have the right to require the prosecutor to present evidence proving the allegations, and you have the right to present your side of the story. However, the order to show cause evidentiary hearing is different in two key respects. First, the evidence is heard by and the decisions are made by a judge rather than a jury. Second, the standard of proof the prosecutor must meet is on a "preponderance" standard (in other words, better than 50/50) rather than "proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

If the prosecutor cannot present evidence to support the allegations of a probation violation, the order to show cause can be stricken. But if the judge is convinced by the prosecutor's evidence, your probation may be revoked and the original jail or prison sentence may be imposed.

What do I do if I think the prosecutor will be able to prove a probation violation?

It is not always wise to challenge a probation violation order to show cause and require the prosecutor to do the evidentiary hearing. If the prosecutor's evidence is weak or you have good evidence to rebut the prosecutor's evidence, fighting the order to show cause may be a good option. But if the evidence is sufficient to support the allegations, you may want to consider a negotiated resolution to the order to show cause.

When negotiating a resolution to an order to show cause, you will want to demonstrate that you are addressing the issues or concerns the prosecutor or court may have. For example, if it is alleged that you tested positive for a drug test, you may want to show that you have enrolled in a drug treatment program. If it is alleged that you have failed to make required fine payments, you may want to present evidence demonstrating financial hardship. If it is alleged that you failed to complete required community service, you can sign up and begin doing community service before your court date to try to demonstrate your willingness to comply with the court's orders.

Each order to show cause can present a unique set of circumstances, and can require a unique approach to successfully defend against. Before deciding how to deal with your order to show cause, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Contact us now 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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