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Utah Felony Defense Attorney - Salt Lake Criminal Lawyer

Utah criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has extensive experience defending serious felony cases in Utah. Mr. Howard's track record includes not guilty verdicts or dismissals in cases including aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, forgery, drug charges and more. He has the knowledge, skill, and determination to ensure that your rights are protected. He works personally with each client to develop a defense strategy designed to achieve the best results possible.

Based in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard offers criminal defense services to clients facing felony and misdemeanor prosecution throughout Utah. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation.

Strategy in Defending Felony Charges in Utah

The best strategy for defending against a Utah felony prosecution will depend on the facts of the case, careful legal analysis, and consideration of the client's goals and needs. Some cases will benefit from an aggressive defense involving motions to suppress evidence, evidentiary hearings, a motion to quash a bindover, or jury trial. In other cases, the client may be better served by presenting a mitigation defense that opens the door to a better negotiated resolution.

As a Utah felony defense attorney based in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard has conducted jury trials in cases including murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, burglary, sexual abuse, and more. He has also successfully negotiated resolutions that kept his clients out of jail or even resulted in dismissal of charges in cases including robbery, kidnapping, forgery, fraud, drug cases, and more. Whether you intend to take your case to trial or hope instead to work out a negotiated resolution, Mr. Howard has the experience, skill, and knowledge necessary to take on even the most serious charges in Utah.

Consequences of a Felony Conviction in Utah

A Utah felony conviction can have devastating consequences. If you are facing criminal charges for a Utah felony offense, you need an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense attorney on your side. Stephen Howard has defended literally thousands of serious felony charges during his career - everything from riot to aggravated murder, from DUI to drug distribution, and from forgery to securities fraud.

Potential Prison Sentences for Utah Felony Convictions: Under Utah law, a felony is any criminal offense that is punishable by more than a year of incarceration. A third degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison. A second degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A first degree felony can result in a sentence of life in prison. The death penalty in Utah is reserved only for aggravated murder.

Fines in Utah Felony Cases: Fines in Utah felony cases are determined by the judge. The maximum potential fine for a third degree felony conviction is $5,000 (plus an additional 90% surcharge). Both second and first-degree felony convictions carry a possible $10,000 fine (plus an additional 90% surcharge). In many felony cases, the court may also order that restitution be paid by the defendant for injuries or damages caused by the defendant's criminal conduct.

Indeterminate Sentencing in Utah Felony Cases: If you are sentenced to prison, the judge does not determine how much time you will actually serve. Instead, Utah uses what is called "indeterminate" sentencing. That means that the judge has discretion (in most cases) to determine that the prison term should be suspended with conditions of probation, or determine instead to execute the prison sentence. If probation is denied in a felony case, the judge imposes a prison sentence for the range of time determined by statute (e.g. 1-15 years). The determination of how much prison time will actually be served is then left to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

Felony Consequences Beyond the Courtroom in Utah

Beyond prison or jail time, a felony conviction in Utah carries other serious consequences. A felony conviction can affect the right to carry a firearm or to hunt, your ability to obtain certain professional licenses, the right to vote, and the right to serve on a jury. A felony conviction can affect the ability to get a job or get financial aid for school.  A felony conviction can make it harder to find housing, or could even result in an eviction from your current residence. A felony drug conviction can result in a driver license suspension.

Felony convictions do not "expire" or automatically disappear from a person's record, no matter how much time passes. But the consequences of a felony conviction can often be eliminated by having your record expunged or by obtaining an order from the court reducing the offense to a misdemeanor level (a "402 reduction"). A 402 reduction may also be used in some circumstances to restore a person's eligibility for expungement. If you have already been convicted of a felony, contact us to see how we may be able to help you.

Finding a Felony Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah Criminal Lawyer Salt LakeBased in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard offers legal services to people throughout Utah. His record of successful results for clients includes not guilty verdicts at trial, outright dismissals, and appellate reversals in cases involving some of the most serious felony charges on the books in Utah. If you are facing a Utah felony charge, you need an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.


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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • 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
340 East 400 South, Suite 25, 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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