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

Domestic Violence - Forfeiture by Wrongdoing

This page presents a brief overview of the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing as it applies in domestic violence and other Utah criminal defense cases. The doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing can dramatically affect the strength of a prosecutor's case when there is a witness who may be reluctant to testify or who is persuaded by another not to testify. If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, contact us today to see what the right attorney can do for you.

Utah Criminal Defense Issues - Doctrine of Forfeiture by Wrongdoing

The doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing has been applied by Utah courts in cases where a defendant (or someone acting at the direction of or on behalf of the defendant) has engaged in wrongful conduct that has resulted in the unavailability of a prosecution witness. Courts have applied this doctrine in situations ranging in severity from the actual murder of a witness to the a subtle threat that results in a witness refusing to testify in court. In addition to evidence that the defendant's wrongful conduct has resulted in the unavailability of a witness, the doctrine generally requires evidence that the defendant acted with the intent to make the witness unavailable.

The legal doctrine of "forfeiture by wrongdoing" can serve as an exception to the evidentiary rules generally applicable to hearsay and can function as a waiver of a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him/her. The theory underlying the doctrine is based on the idea that by engaging in wrongdoing that results in the unavailability of a witness/declarant, the defendant has forfeited the right to confront that witness/declarant at trial. The result often is that prior statements of the unavailable witness/declarant may be admitted at trial even though the statements would otherwise constitute inadmissible hearsay.

The determination as to whether the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing should apply in any particular case is a determination that should be made by the court outside the presence of the jury. Evidence that a witness was killed by the defendant and evidence that a witness is afraid to testify or is choosing to invoke a spousal or other privilege based on threats made by the defendant may be very relevant to the issue of whether the doctrine applies. But that same evidence will often be irrelevant and extremely prejudicial to the defendant in context of the charges that are filed in the main case.

Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Salt Lake Criminal Defense LawyerIf you are facing prosecution in Utah for a domestic violence offense or other criminal charges, the consequences of a conviction can be serious. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can be vital. Contact us now to see what the right attorney can do for you.

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.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
  • 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 Criminal Defense Strategy

Aggressive is good. Effective is better. The best defense strategy in any given criminal case can require in-depth analysis of the facts and a thorough understanding of applicable statutes, case law, and complex procedural and evidentiary rules. Having an experienced attorney on your side....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

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....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

In Utah, even a "minor" misdemeanor conviction carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. A felony conviction carries the potential of lengthy prison terms and the various consequences that come with being labeled as a convicted felon. Never plead guilty without first finding out....

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.