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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 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 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.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
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  • 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 Statewide Warrant Search How do I find out if I have an outstanding warrant? - If you believe you may have an outstanding arrest warrant in Utah, a criminal defense attorney can access the Utah statewide warrant system and help you find the best. . . .
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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Reasons to Hope

Never give up hope. Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. And it is usually not the end of the world. While the consequences of a criminal charge can be serious, there are often several options and strategies for handling your case. Understanding your options and how an experienced criminal lawyer can help....

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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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