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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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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Contractor was charged with theft by deception for allegedly misusing customer funds and failing to complete work that had been agreed upon. A successful motion to quash on legal grounds following the bindover order at preliminary hearing resulted in a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. 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.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Dismissal - Client was charged with first-degree felony home burglary and facing potential life in prison. Defense analysis revealed flaws in prosecutor's case which led to abeyance agreement intended to lead to a full dismissal of the case.
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Being charged with a crime is not the same as being convicted. But just being charged can affect more than you may have imagined - jail, job, family, bills, rent or mortgage. It can feel like everything has gone wrong, and may you wonder if anything can go right. But facing criminal prosecution does not mean giving up hope....

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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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