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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Aggravated Felonies

If you are facing an "aggravated" Utah criminal charge, the stakes are high. Aggravated felony charges carry the potential for harsher sentencing, including extended prison terms, thousands of dollars in fines, and the prospect of being labeled a "convicted felon." Stephen Howard is an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense attorney, with a record of achieving real results for his clients. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

What makes a Utah felony an "aggravated" charge?

In Utah, an "aggravated" felony charge typically involves the use of a dangerous weapon or the infliction of a "serious" or "substantial" physical injury.

In some cases, the prosecutor may not have to prove that the defendant had a real weapon. For certain enhancement purposes, a fake weapon or even just a false claim of possessing a weapon may be sufficient to support an aggravated charge.

For example, a simple robbery charge can be enhanced to an aggravated robbery if the defendant is alleged to have used or threatened to use a dangerous weapon. For purposes of this statute, a "dangerous weapon" includes "any item capable of causing death or serious bodily injury" or any facsimile or "representation" of such an item. Thus, a person who puts his finger in his pocket and claims to have a gun during the course of a robbery could be convicted of aggravated robbery under Utah law.

While a weapon need not be real, an aggravated felony based on a "serious" or "substantial" injury must involve a real injury. A "serious" bodily injury is one that "creates or causes serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or creates a substantial risk of death." A "substantial" bodily injury is less serious than a "serious" injury, and "creates or causes protracted physical pain, temporary disfigurement, or temporary loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ."

What is the penalty for an "aggravated" felony in Utah?

Aggravated felony charges in Utah range from a third degree felony (punishable by up to five years in prison) to the capital crime of aggravated murder (potentially punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole). Charges that can be raised to an aggravated level include murder, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, assault, sexual assault, arson, escape, and more.

Each of these enhanced "aggravated" felony charges carry a substantial increase in the potential punishment. For example, a simple assault charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. But an aggravated assault can be charged as a second degree felony punishable by up to a 15 year prison term. Other crimes that begin at the felony level (such as burglary or robbery) can be enhanced to first degree level charges punishable by up to life in prison. Aggravated kidnapping is potentially punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole. Some aggravated felony charges carry mandatory minimum prison sentences that must be imposed by the court if a defendant is convicted.

Finding an Experienced Utah Criminal Lawyer

Salt Lake Criminal Defense LawyerIf you have been charged with an aggravated felony offense, having a qualified criminal defense on your side can be critical to achieving the best possible results. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. He has successfully defended his clients' rights in aggravated felony cases including aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, and more.

Contact us now for an initial consultation and case analysis.


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  • 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.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahDismissed at Preliminary Hearing - Client charged with aggravated robbery and facing life in prison. Full case analysis and consultation with client allowed the development of a strong defense strategy. Effective cross-examination of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing resulted in an outright dismissal of all charges by the judge.
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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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