Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Utah
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Utah Homicide Defense - Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyer

The term "homicide" as used in Utah criminal law refers to any killing of a human being. The Utah criminal code establishes several different homicide-related charges, including misdemeanor negligent homicide, felony child abuse homicide, manslaughter, intentional or premeditated murder, and aggravated murder carrying a potential death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Stephen Howard is one of only a few Utah criminal defense attorneys now in private practice who has twice successfully avoided the death penalty for clients charged with aggravated murder. He has defended clients facing murder, attempted murder, child abuse homicide, and manslaughter charges. If you are facing a Utah homicide prosecution, you need an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact us today to arrange for an initial consultation.

Elements of a Utah Homicide Charge

Not all Utah homicide charges are filed as "murder." Instead, the offense filed can depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case, including the the mental state of the defendant, whether the victim is a child, and whether the death was intentional or accidental.

The lowest level homicide charge in Utah is for misdemeanor negligent homicide, which involves allegations that the defendant accidentally caused another person's death under circumstances constituting criminal negligence. Automobile homicide charges involve allegations that a defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person. Manslaughter charges can be filed in cases where a defendant recklessly caused the death of another, or in cases where a defendant intentionally caused another person's death under circumstances constituting imperfect self defense. First degree felony murder charges typically involve proof that the defendant caused another person's death either intentionally or under circumstances demonstrating a depraved indifference for human life. If specific statutory aggravating circumstances can be shown, a homicide charge may be filed as an aggravated murder.

Penalties for a Homicide Conviction in Utah

Aggravated murder charges in Utah are considered "capital" crimes which are eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole. First degree felony murder charges are punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole after a significant period of time is spent in prison. Reckless manslaughter is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Negligent homicide is considered a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Finding the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer in Utah

If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, you deserve to have an experienced criminal attorney on your side. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard has handled thousands of serious Utah felony charges for clients over the years. He has a track record that includes not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals in some of the most serious criminal charges on the books.

Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.


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  • 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.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis 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.
  • 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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An arrest is not a conviction. If you are facing criminal prosecution in Utah, it can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are things you can do right now that can increase your chances of a good outcome. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you evaluate the various options available to you and help develop a strategy for success....

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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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