Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Call Criminal Defense Attorney in Utah
Call Utah Criminal Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys / Former Prosecutors
Call 801-449-1409. We fight to protect your rights.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake City

Criminal Defense Solutions Start HereSM

Finding a Felony Defense LawyerChoosing a Misdemeanor Defense LawyerDrug and Alcohol Crimes Defense LawyerWhite Collar Defense Attorney for Utah ChargesAttorney for Expungements Reductions and PardonsDefendant Constitutional Rights Criminal LawyerBail and Bond Alternatives in UtahReasons for Hope Facing Criminal Charges

Self Defense Attorney Utah - Criminal Defense Lawyer Salt Lake

Utah law provides an affirmative defense for defendants charged with certain violent crimes if the defendant acted in legitimate self defense. Under Utah criminal law a person may be found not guilty (acquitted at trial) of weapons charges, aggravated assault, or even murder if the person was acting in self defense. If you have been accused of a violent crime, either as a misdemeanor or a felony, self defense may be a viable option for defending your case. But mounting a self defense claim under Utah law can be complicated. Having an experienced Utah criminal lawyer on your side is critical.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has defended thousands of clients during his career, and has a record of achieving real resultsContact us today to learn how Utah's self defense laws can help your criminal case.

"Reasonableness" as a Factor in Utah Self Defense Criminal Cases

According to Utah criminal law, you may be justified in either threatening or actually using force against another to the extent that you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to defend against the use of unlawful force by another person. This requirement of reasonableness in the use of force means that the level of force you may use can depend on the specific circumstances of your case. The specific threat you are facing can be a major factor in determining whether your use of force will be considered reasonable. A person facing an assailant who is threatening the use of a gun would likely be entitled to use more and different kinds of force than would be a person who faced an assailant who was unarmed.

Similar legal principles apply both to cases of self defense as well as using force to defend a third person.

Restrictions on the Use of Force in Self Defense in Utah

While Utah's self defense laws are fairly broad, there are restrictions on a persons ability to use self defense or defense of another as a defense in a criminal case.  You may not use force in defending yourself if you are "attempting to commit, committing, or fleeing after the commission or attempted commission of a felony."  You may not use force to defend yourself if you initially and intentionally provoked the other person use of force with the intent to use that force as an excuse to "inflict bodily harm upon the assailant."  You also may not use force in defending yourself if you were the initial aggressor or were engaged in mutual "combat by agreement," unless you have withdrawn from the fight and effectively communicated that fact to the other person.

Use of Deadly Force as a Defense in Utah Criminal Cases

Utah law allows you to use deadly force ("force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily inure") only under circumstances where you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to yourself or another, or to "prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

Use of Force in Defense of Home or Other Property in Utah

A person may also be entitled to use force in defending their home or other property. But the criminal law relating to the use of force in defense of a home or force in defense of property are different. Utah criminal law places significant restrictions on both the level of force that can be used and under what circumstances that force can be used.

Finding an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has successfully defended clients facing serious aggravated felony charges including murder, robbery, burglary, assault, and more. If you have been charged with a crime that may involve a self defense claim, contact Stephen Howard now to schedule an initial consultation.  See what an experienced criminal defense attorney in Utah can do for you.


Best Rating
Make a Payment to Your Account
Get Help Now
Name: Email: Phone: Describe your legal needs here:
I accept the disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is established by the use of this form. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be submitted through this form. By clicking 'submit' I am only requesting that I be contacted for the purpose of obtaining legal services.

This form protected by reCAPTCHA.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Utah Burglary Defense Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with second-degree felony residential burglary and facing potential prison time. Investigation by the defense revealed multiple witnesses, missed by police and prosecutors, who supported client's claim of innocence. At trial, the jury returned a "not guilty" verdict on all charges.
  • Recent Posts
  • 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 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. . . .
Best Utah Criminal Defense Strategy

The right criminal defense lawyer can work with you to develop a defense strategy designed to achieve the best results. Hiring a Utah criminal attorney with real courtroom experience and an in-depth understanding of the legal issues involved in defending against a criminal prosecution can help ensure the best...

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Choosing the best criminal defense attorney for your Utah criminal case may be the single most important decision you make. The courtroom can be a hostile place. Prosecutors receive extensive training on legal and tactical issues. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side is critical to defending your case and protecting your rights....

Experience »
Conviction Consequences in Utah Criminal Prosecutions

Even a single misdemeanor conviction in Utah can result in extended jail time and substantial fines. The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can last a lifetime. Whether you are facing misdemeanor prosecution in a justice court or more serious felony charges in the district court, obtaining advice and assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney is....

Consequences »
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....

Reasons to Hope »
Home | Attorney Profile | Case Results | Criminal Code | FAQ | Legal Resources | Defense Strategy | Contact Us

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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.