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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Force in Defense of Home

Self defense and the use of force in defense of your home can both form the basis for an affirmative defense under Utah criminal Utah law. But your right to defend your home is not identical to your right to defend yourself. If you intend to raise an affirmative defense involving the use of force in defense of a home or habitation in a Utah criminal case, it is critical to have an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer on your side. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard has achieved not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals for clients facing both misdemeanor charges as well as some of the most serious felony offenses on the books in Utah. He has a record of achieving real results for clients. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Raising an Affirmative Defense in Utah Criminal Cases

The use of force in defense of your home is considered an affirmative defense to criminal charges in Utah. This means that if there is evidence to support a claim that you used force in defending yourself, your home, or your property, you may be found not guilty of a criminal offense even in the face of proof that you committed the offense.

In a criminal case, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving every element of the charged offense. That burden requires that each member of the jury be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt. Under Utah law, an affirmative defense allows a jury to also consider evidence of circumstances supporting the affirmative defense. Once such evidence has been presented, either by the defense or through the prosecution's own witnesses, the prosecutor then bears the burden of disproving the existence of the circumstances that would support the affirmative defense.

Restrictions on the Right to Use Force in Defense of Home or Habitation

Under Utah criminal law, you may be justified in using force to defend your home from intrusion. But the right to use force in Utah to defend your home is not unrestricted. Utah criminal law provides that a person has the right to use force to defend his home or habitation only "to the extent that he reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other [person's] unlawful entry into or attack upon his habitation." The standard of "reasonable" force is based on an objective view of the circumstances.  There are additional restrictions on your right to use deadly force in protecting your home.  (The term "home" include houses, apartments and other places of "habitation.")

Separate standards apply under Utah law to your right to use force in self defense and your right to use force in defense of other property.
  

Finding an Experienced Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City

If you are facing criminal charges, you need an experienced Utah criminal lawyer on your side. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard offers legal services to clients throughout Utah. He has defended thousands of criminal cases, ranging from aggravated murder to simple assault, and virtually everything in between. He has the experience, skill, and knowledge to achieve real results for his clients.

If you have been accused of a crime, contact us now to schedule an initial consultation and case analysis.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for alleged attack using broken bottle as a weapon. Despite the testimony of numerous prosecution witnesses, thorough defense investigation to support a self-defense claim resulted in acquittal by jury at trial.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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. . . .
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Utah Criminal Attorney - Reasons to Hope

An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

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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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