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Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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Motions to Suppress Evidence - Utah Criminal Attorney

A motion to suppress evidence is much more than a technicality. It is a vital means of protecting the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. As an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney, Stephen Howard can help you determine whether a motion to suppress will help in your case.

Grounds for a Motion to Suppress in Utah Criminal Cases

Most motions to suppress evidence in Utah criminal cases involve allegations of police violations of the Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment. If a motion to suppress is successful, a judge may issue an order preventing the prosecution from using any evidence obtained as a result of the constitutional violation. In many cases, this will mean that criminal charges will be dismissed.

Fourth Amendment Violations
If police have conducted a warrantless search of your home, your person, your automobile, or other places where you have a legitimate expectation of privacy, evidence found as a result of the unlawful search may be suppressed. Unless they meet certain exceptions to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement, police are normally required to obtain a warrant before conducting a search or seizing property.

There are exceptions to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement. Many criminal cases involve evidence found by police during the course of a traffic stop. Where an officer has observed a traffic code violation, the officer may stop (or "seize") you and your vehicle, without a warrant, in order to issue a citation. But unless the officer can articulate grounds to support a reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity, the officer should not detain the driver any longer than necessary to issue the citation. Unlawfully extending the scope or duration of the initial stop can serve as a potential basis for a motion to suppress evidence in a Utah criminal case.

Fifth Amendment Violations
If you have been subjected to police questioning or interrogation after being taken into custody, there is a possibility that a motion suppress may help your case. The "Miranda" warnings, made famous by so many television police dramas, are intended to serve as a protection against police violations of a suspect's Fifth Amendment rights. But police officers are not required to give the Miranda warnings in every case.

Police often give the Miranda warnings whenever a person is arrested. Police will also commonly give the Miranda warnings any time that they question a suspect. But the courts only require Miranda warnings to be given in the context of a custodial interrogation. If a person is questioned but is not in custody, or if a person is taken into custody but is not questioned, then the Miranda warnings are not required. But where a person is arrested and questioned, the Miranda warnings should be given. If those warnings are not given and the police proceed to question or interrogate a suspect who is undre arrest, then incriminating statements made by the suspect may be suppressed.

Finding a Utah Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake

The laws surrounding the Fourth and Fifth Amendment are complicated. Just because police didn't have a warrant, or just because the police didn't read the Miranda warnings doesn't mean that your case will automatically be dismissed. And just filing a motion to suppress doesn't mean automatic victory. There are often factual and legal disputes that require an evidentiary hearing, cross examination of seasoned police officers, and drafting complex legal briefs to support your position. Having an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney on your side can improve your chances of success.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard is pleased to offer legal services to clients throughout Utah. He has handled thousands of serious Utah criminal felony charges, and has a record of achieving real results for his clients.

Contact us now to see how Stephen Howard can help with 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.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. 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.
  • 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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