Utah Felony Defense Attorneys

Stephen Howard — Stone River Law

Real Experience. Real Results.

Any criminal charge punishable with potential incarceration for a year or more is classified as a felony in Utah. In addition to jail or prison time, a felony conviction can also carry consequences that will affect your ability to get a job, obtain professional licensing, rent an apartment, or get a loan A felony conviction can also cause you to lose your right to possess or own a gun, and may affect your right to vote.

If you are facing a felony charge, you need an experienced team of attorneys on your side. Our criminal defense have defended literally thousands of serious felony charges, achieving real results for their clients. With over fifty years of combined experience, together they have achieved victories in and out of the courtroom, which are not limited to not guilty verdicts or dismissals on felony charges including aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, drug distribution, felony theft, white collar crimes, and many more.

Anyone charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Utah has the right to demand a jury trial. A successful defense strategy can also include suppression motions, a motion to quash a magistrate’s bindover order, negotiated resolutions, and more.  Each case is different.

Having an attorney with the experience to understand which of these strategies is best suited to your case can be critical to achieving the best possible results in your case. Our attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and determination to help you get the results you need. Our criminal defense team works personally with each client to develop a defense strategy designed to achieve the best results possible.

Understand the Consequences

Felony charges in Utah are generally classified as first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree level felony charges. (The exception is aggravated murder, a capital felony punishable by death.) The range of punishment for a felony in Utah ranges from a maximum of five years in prison for a third-degree felony to a maximum sentence of life in prison for a first-degree felony. Some felony convictions carry a mandatory prison sentence (no probation is possible). Regardless of the degree of the felony charged, any criminal charge should be taken seriously.

In most felony cases, a judge will have the option of suspending a prison sentence and instead placing the defendant on probation. Even if a judge grants probation, the court can order up to a year in jail as a “condition of probation.” Other probation conditions can include treatment programs, supervision, drug testing, evaluations, counseling, community service, and more.

Felony Consequences Beyond the Courtroom in Utah

In addition to the direct legal consequences of the court’s sentencing orders, a felony conviction can affect a person’s ability to get a job or obtain credit or financial aid for school. A felony conviction can affect the right to carry a firearm, your ability to obtain and use a hunting license, your ability to obtain certain professional licenses, the right to vote, and the right to serve on a jury. A conviction can make it harder to find housing, or could even result in an eviction from your current residence. Some felony (and even misdemeanor) convictions can result in losing your driver license. Many of these consequences will persist long after any probation, jail, or prison time have been completed.

Criminal convictions (either for felonies or misdemeanors) do not disappear automatically from your record. By statute, Utah’s Bureau of Criminal Identification (“BCI”) keeps records of arrests and criminal convictions indefinitely. But there are also options that can allow a person to have a felony conviction reduced or to have the records of an arrest or conviction completely expunged from their record.

An expungement is the most common way of having your criminal records sealed. But having too many convictions may make you ineligible for a court-ordered expungement. A 402 reduction can sometimes restore eligibility. But those options are not always available.

In circumstances where a person is not eligible for either a 402 reduction or a court-ordered expungement, a pardon may provide an alternative avenue of obtaining a clean criminal record. If your felony or misdemeanor criminal record is holding you back, contact us to see how we can help you.

Felony Defense Strategy in Utah

Developing the best strategy for defending against a Utah felony prosecution requires a careful analysis of the facts and evidence specific to each client’s case, a thorough understanding of the applicable statutes and case law as well as evidentiary and procedural rules. Most importantly, the best strategy must take into consideration the individual client’s goals and needs.

In order to determine what strategy will be best for any given case, discovery and police reports must be reviewed and analyzed, independent investigations may be conducted, expert witnesses may be employed, or novel legal arguments explored and researched. Felony defense can be complex, and there is not always a quick resolution to the case. Having an attorney who understands how to mount a complicated felony defense can be critical to achieving a successful outcome.

Any person charged with a felony is entitled under the Constitution to the presumption of innocence and the right to a jury trial. In some cases, it may be necessary to exert those rights to the fullest extent possible. In other cases, a better result may be possible through strategic settlement negotiations. Because every case is different, having the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be vital to determining the best defense strategy.

The best strategy for defending against a Utah felony prosecution will depend on the facts of the case, careful legal analysis, and consideration of the client’s goals and needs. Whether you intend to take your case to trial or hope instead to work out a negotiated resolution, our team of attorneys has the experience, skill, and knowledge necessary to take on even the most serious charges in Utah.

Find Professional Felony Defense Representation

Choosing the best criminal defense attorney for your case is an important decision that can have a significant impact on the ultimate outcome of your case. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced Utah defense attorneys.