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Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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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 allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • 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.
  • 402 Reduction Lawyer Utah 2-Step Reduction - Client needed a two-step reduction to bring a prior conviction to the misdemeanor level. Collection of substantial evidence of reform and rehabilitation convinced a normally reluctant prosecutor to stipulate to the defense 402 reduction motion.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahProbation - Client charged with aggravated robbery based on allegations he entered a store with a gun and mask and demanded cash. Client confessed to police before hiring a defense attorney. Defense mitigation efforts resulted in a negotiated resolution that removed life in prison as a possibility, and secured a probation sentence from the court.
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

Successfully defending against criminal prosecution requires more than just an 'aggressive' defense. The best defense attorneys understand that a sophisticated defense requires a thorough understanding of a variety of nuanced legal issues, real experience in the courtroom, good negotiation skills, and much more. Fighting hard is good. Fighting smart is better....

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Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Defending against a criminal prosecution in Utah is a job that has to be done right the first time. Choosing the right attorney to defend you can be the most important decision you make. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling some of the most serious felony and misdemeanor charges on the books in Utah. No matter what charges you are facing, we can help....

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Conviction Consequences - Utah Criminal Defense

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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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