Criminal Law in Utah
If you are being questioned in connection with a Utah crime or if you have been arrested, it's imperative that you seek legal representation immediately. A qualified Utah criminal defense attorney is the key to a full, robust, and strategic defense, regardless of whether you're guilty or innocent.
Gather a list of Utah criminal defense attorney, making sure the attorneys focus their practice on criminal law. Call them and ask questions and then select the attorney whom you think would best represent you.
Common questions, when hiring a criminal defense attorney, include:
- How will you help me?
- Do you handle just criminal law or do you practice in a variety of areas?
- Are you licensed in Utah?
- Do you carry malpractice insurance?
- What are your fees and payment terms?
- How do I communicate with you once I've hired you?
- How fast will you call me back if I have a question or concern?
If you still have questions about Utah criminal laws and attorneys, this article was written for you.
In this article, we'll discuss:
- Utah criminal laws;
- What you need to know about criminal defense in Utah; and
- How to work with your Utah criminal defense attorney.
Utah Criminal Laws
Utah criminal laws are found in the Utah Criminal Code - it's Title 76 of the Utah Code.
There are many crimes listed in the Utah Penal Code, including public intoxication, drunk driving,assault and battery, indecent exposure, domestic abuse, prostitution, child pornography, forgery, bad checks, credit card fraud, identity theft, stalking, computer crimes, weapon crimes, drug crimes, arson, manslaughter, and murder.
Be sure your Utah criminal defense attorney fully explains the crime you are being questioned for or have been charged with.Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred. It's not likely that you will be charged if the statute of limitations has passed, but be sure your defense lawyer double checks.
For example, in Utah, the statute of limitations for:
- Assault is 2 years (Utah Code В§76-1-302(1)(b).
- Capital murder, murder, voluntary manslaughter, and rape is unlimited (Utah Code В§76-1-301). This means the prosecutor has no deadline.
- Robbery is 4 years (Utah Code В§76-1-302(1)(a)).
A Utah judge can impose a sentence that includes jail, probation, fines, community service, restitution, or a combination of all these penalties.
In Utah, crimes are classified into three groups:
Then, each group is further broken down by seriousness of the crime. For example, felonies are broken down into 4 categories, ranging from a capital felony down to a third degree felony.
- The most serious felony, a capital felony, is punishable by death or life in prison.
- The least serious felony, a third degree felony, is punishable by up to 5 years of jail time and up to $5,000 in fines.
In Utah, misdemeanors are also broken down into categories. There are three classes of misdemeanors. For misdemeanors:
- Jail time ranges from no jail time up to 1 year.
- Fines range from no fine up to $2,500.
Your defense attorney will explain the punishment you are facing after he or she analyzes the charges, your criminal history, and any other aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
If you are being questioned about or have been arrested for a crime in Utah, your life, liberty, and money may be at risk.
- Calla Utah criminal defense lawyer, immediately. It's okay to call 24/7/365. Initial consultations are fee in criminal defense law.
- When your lawyer asks you what happened. Answer honestly and completely. If in doubt, disclose the information even if you think the information may implicate you in a crime. This is the only way your attorney and formulate an appropriate defense.
- Your conversations with your defense attorney are confidential.
- Do not make a statement to police, other than to ask for an attorney.
How to Work with a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer
Even after you hire a Utah defense attorney, you need to take an active role in your own defense. In general, this is what you need to do. Your attorney will let you know if there is anything else you need to do.
- Always take your lawyer's advice.
- Tell your defense attorney exactly what happened.
- Respond to phone calls, emails, or letters immediately.
- Provide all requested information.
- Stay in contact with your attorney and update your attorney's office if your phone number, email, or address changes.
- Remember that it is in your best interest for your attorney to question you, even if it feels as though he or she is giving you a hard time.
- Remember it is okay for your attorney to be polite and cooperate with witnesses, the victim, police officers, investigators, and the prosecutor.
Bottom Line: If you are facing any type of criminal charge in Utah, immediately talk to a Utah criminal defense attorney. The stakes are too high to move forward without professional legal representation. Your life, liberty, and money may be at stake and you need a strong advocate and an effective defense.