Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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

Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer - Sentencing Attorney

Sentencing courts in Utah can impose punishments ranging from probation to prison. The maximum potential sentence is determined by the state legislature, based typically on the designated offense level for the offense charged. But for most offenses, the court has discretion to determine whether probation should be granted or if the defendant should be ordered to serve a jail or prison term. As an experienced Utah criminal lawyer, Stephen Howard has obtained probation for clients who originally faced serious charges including aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, child abuse homicide, and many more.* Based in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard is prepared to represent clients in sentencing hearings throughout Utah. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.


There are a few offenses for which the legislature has determined a mandatory prison or jail sentence.  

Utah Sentencing - Getting It Right the First Time

If you are dissatisfied with the sentencing decision imposed in your case, you have the right to appeal the sentence. However, Utah's appellate courts very rarely overturn a sentence imposed by the district court. Because it is so difficutl to get a sentencing order reversed on appeal, it is critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to help ensure the best possible results.

In reviewing a district court's sentence, Utah appellate courts consistently apply an "abuse of discretion" standard in reviewing the sentencing decisions of a trial court. Typically, a Utah appellate court will only find an abuse of discretion if the sentencing court fails to consider all legally relevant factors and information presented at sentencing. A sentencing court may also be found to have abused its discretion if a sentence imposed is "clearly excessive." But so long as the sentence is within the statutory range provided by the legislature, it is unlikely that an appellate court would find such a sentence to be "clearly excessive."

The "abuse of discretion" standard of review on appeal makes appealing a sentence in Utah an uphill battle. But making the appeal process even more difficult is the fact that the defendant bears the burden of demonstrating on appeal that the sentencing court failed to properly consider all of the relevant factors. A defendant may alternatively show that "no reasonable person" would have taken the view adopted by the sentencing court. But these standards are difficult to meet, and a reversal on appeal of a sentencing court's decision is very rare.

Sentences imposed by justice courts in Utah provide an exception the the appeal rules described above. Because Utah's justice courts are not considered to be courts of record, the appeal process from a justice court involves a "de novo" hearing in the district court. This "de novo" appeal may involve an entirely new hearing or, in some cases, an entirely new trial. and new sentencing hearing.

If you are facing a sentencing hearing in one of Utah's state district courts, you should treat your sentencing hearing as your only chance to make your case. The appeal standards you will face in appealing a district court's sentence are strict, and reversal on appeal of a district court's sentencing decision are rare. It is important, therefore, to have an experienced criminal attorney on your side at a sentencing hearing.

Contact a Salt Lake Criminal Lawyer

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard represents clients throughout Utah.  He has successfully represented clients at sentencing, obtaining probationary sentences for clients originally facing misdemeanor and felony charges including aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, kidnapping, fraud, negligent homicide, first-degree felony drug charges, and many more.*

Contact us today for an initial consultation with criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard.

*These results are presented by way of example only, and are not intended to suggest any guarantee of any particular result in your case. Each case is unique, and a court's decision regarding sentencing can be affected by many different factors. You should consult with a Utah criminal defense attorney before making any decision on how to proceed with your criminal defense case.


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 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.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client was facing multiple cases involving first-degree felony drug distribution charges for allegedly selling to a confidential informant. Defense analysis of the case revealed fatal flaws in the prosecution case that ultimately resulted in a complete dismissal of all cases and charges.
  • Utah Expungement Lawyer Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • 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.
  • 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

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....

Strategy »
Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Our criminal defense lawyers have represented clients facing some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. Whether you are facing prosecution for felony or misdemeanor charges, you can be assured that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and determination necessary to help you achieve the results you need. Choosing the best defense attorney for your case will be one of the most important decisions you make....

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 »
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....

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.