Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409 now for help protecting your rights.
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

Accomplice Liability and Criminal Conspiracy in Utah

Can I be prosecuted with a crime in Utah for someone else's actions?

Utah criminal charges are sometimes filed against a person for something that someone else did. Some of these cases involve mistaken identity, where the defendant is wrongly identified as the person who committed the crime. Other cases may involve false allegations, where an alleged victim falsely accuses the defendant. But there is another class of criminal charges where a person can lawfully be charged with a crime based on allegations that another person engaged in criminal activity.

If you have been accused of or charged with a crime, it is vital to have the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal lawyer Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us now to arrange for an initial confidential consultation.

Accomplice Liability for Crimes in Utah

Salt Lake Criminal Defense LawyerUtah Code 76-2-202 sets out the standards for what is often called "accomplice" or "party" liability. Accomplice liability under the Utah criminal code provides that a defendant who "solicits, requests, commands, encourages, or intentionally aids another person to engage in conduct which constitutes an offense" can be held criminally liable as a party, convicted, and punished just as if the defendant had personally committed the crime.

Criminal responsibility under accomplice liability principles can attach even if the person who actually committed the crime has not been prosecuted or convicted, and even if that person has been acquitted been acquitted and found not guilty of the crime by jury after a full trial of the case.  (See Utah Code 76-2-203.)

Penalties for Accomplice Liability in Utah

The potential penalties for conviction as an accomplice or as a party are identical with the maximum penalties for conviction as a principle. For example, if the underlying crime would be a third-degree felony, then a conviction as an accomplice can also be for a third-degree felony. The defendant in such a case could still be sentenced to prison - even thought the defendant did not actually commit the underlying crime.

Conspiracy to Commit Crime in Utah

Utah's accomplice liability statute is commonly used to prosecute a person who did not directly commit a crime. A less-often used provision of the Utah criminal code is found in section 76-4-201, and deals with conspiracies to commit a crime. Under this section, a person can be guilty of conspiracy when that person, "intending that conduct constituting a crime be performed, agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of the conduct and any one of them commits an overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy."

In order to prove a conspiracy charge in most cases, the prosecutor must be able to present more than mere evidence of discussions or a plan to commit a crime. The prosecutor must prove that some "overt act" was committed in furtherance of the planned criminal conduct. Proof of such an overt act could be supported by evidence that one of the conspirators purchased or otherwise obtained a weapon intended for use in committing a violent crime, produced a document intended to be used in committing a fraud, purchased spray paint intended to be used in committing vandalism or criminal mischief, etc.

The Utah criminal code does provide an exception to the "overt act" requirement in cases involving a capital felony, a felony against a person, burglary, robbery, or arson. In such cases, the prosecutor is not required to present proof of any overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. The planned conspiracy alone can be sufficient evidence to support a conspiracy conviction.

Penalties for Criminal Conspiracy in Utah

Under the Utah criminal code, a conviction for criminal conspiracy is generally one step lower than the underlying crime would be if that crime were actually committed. For example, a conspiracy to commit a second-degree felony would by punishable as a third-degree felony. A conspiracy to commit a third-degree felony would be punishable as a class A misdemeanor.

Two exceptions to this general rule exist for class C misdemeanors and certain first-degree felonies. A conviction of a conspiracy to commit a class C misdemeanor is still punishable as a class C misdemeanor, but with a maximum potential penalty one-half that of an ordinary class C misdemeanor. A conviction for conspiracy to commit a first-degree felony child kidnapping or any of the first-degree felony sexual offenses under Title 76, Chapter 5, Part 4 of the Utah criminal code is still treated as a first-degree felony with life in prison as a possible sentence, but with the minimum prison term reduced to three years.

Finding a Utah Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake City

If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, an experienced criminal defense attorney can be a critical part of putting together a successful defense strategy. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. His track record as a criminal lawyer includes not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals in some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah.

Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation with Stephen Howard.

Can I be charged with drug possession in Utah if someone else claimed the drugs?
Can I be convicted of DUI in Utah if I was not driving?
Can I be charged with DUI in Utah if I blow lower than 0.08?

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 Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client 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.
  • 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.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahProbation - Client charged with aggravated robbery based on allegations he entered a store with a gun and mask and demanded cash. Client confessed to police before hiring a defense attorney. Defense mitigation efforts resulted in a negotiated resolution that removed life in prison as a possibility, and secured a probation sentence from the court.
  • 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 Statewide Warrant Search How do I find out if I have an outstanding warrant? - If you believe you may have an outstanding arrest warrant in Utah, a criminal defense attorney can access the Utah statewide warrant system and help you find the best. . . .
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

You want the best defense. Agressive is good. But results ultimately are what really matter. Creating an effective strategy for defending against criminal prosecution requires a thorough understanding of statutes, case law, and evidentiary and procedural rules. A successful outcome is more likely when....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Finding the right criminal defense lawyer for you Utah criminal case will be one of the most important decision you make. Before hiring any lawyer, there are a number of important factors to consider. The person you select as your criminal defense attorney will be responsible to defend your case and protect your rights....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences in Utah Criminal Prosecutions

Even a single misdemeanor conviction in Utah can result in extended jail time and substantial fines. The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can last a lifetime. Whether you are facing misdemeanor prosecution in a justice court or more serious felony charges in the district court, obtaining advice and assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney is....

Consequences »
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

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.