Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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Custodial Intereference Attorney in Utah

Disputes relating to custody, visitation, and parent-time are common between divorced couples. While most of these disputes are resolved informally or through the civil court system, there are circumstances under which interfering with parent-time or custody can become a criminal offense. If you are facing criminal charges for custodial interference in Utah, you should have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Contact us now to arrange for an initial consultation with Stephen Howard.

Elements of a Custodial Interference Charge in Utah

Under Utah's criminal code, a person is guilty of custodial interference if the person "takes, entices, conceals, or detains a child under the age of 16 from its parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian"  knowing that they have no legal right to do so and with the intent to "hold the child for a period substantially longer than the parent-time or custody period previously awarded" by the court or with the intent to deprive another person of that person's lawfully ordered parent-time, visitation, or custody rights.

Charge for custodial interference in Utah are typically filed against either the custodial or noncustodial parent. Related charges that can be filed against non-parents include unlawful detention of a minor and child kidnapping.

Consequences of Conviction for Custodial Interference in Utah

Under most circumstances, custodial interference is a misdemeanor charge in Utah. But if the child is removed and taken across state lines, the offense becomes a felony charge under state law. Any criminal offense, even a misdemeanor, carries the possibility of jail time and significant financial penalties. A variety of potential probation conditions can be imposed by a court if jail or prison time is suspended.

In addition to standard criminal penalties imposed by a sentencing court, a person may have his or her driver license suspended based on a conviction for custodial interference. (See Utah Code 76-5-303 and 53-3-220.) A driver license suspension is a surprising consequence for many people. Perhaps the legislature believes that the threat of a suspended driver license will deter interference with custodial parental rights. But given the fact that the driving privilege and parent time are such unrelated issues, and given the fact that so many individuals are completely unaware of this potential consequence, the effectiveness of this deterrent measure is questionable.

Finding a Criminal Lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah

Criminal Defense Lawyer UtahAs a Utah criminal defense lawyer, Stephen Howard has successfully handled more serious felony and misdemeanor charges than many Utah attorneys will see in their entire careers. His record of real results speaks for itself. No matter what charge you are facing, he has the experience to help you get the results you need.  

We are pleased to offer defense services to clients in Salt Lake, Davis, and Weber Counties, and throughout all of Utah. Contact us today to see the difference the right attorney can make for your case.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • Utah 402 Reduction Attorney Felony Reduced - Client with prior felony conviction was granted a 402 reduction to the misdemeanor level over the objection of the prosecutor. Based on information provided to the court in support of the defense motion, the judge ruled in favor of the defense.
  • 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.
Best Criminal Defense Strategy

The best outcome is more likely when the right strategy is employed. Developing the best strategy can require real courtroom experience, a thorough understanding of procedural and substantive legal issues, and a determination to ensure that important constitutional and other legal rights are protected. Choosing the right attorney....

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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....

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Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

Even a "minor" misdemeanor carries the potential for jail time and significant fines. The direct penalties and collateral consequences of a felony conviction are even more severe. Understanding these consequences is critical as you make decisions relating to your case. Even in a misdemeanor case, you should not....

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Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah - Reasons to Hope

Clients sometimes ask what the "worst case scenario" is for their charges. We prefer to take a more positive approach. Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can have serious consequences. But you can take steps and make choices right now that will improve your chances of a positive outcome. Let us help you....

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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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