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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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
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  • 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. . . .
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Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney Profile Utah

Defending against a criminal prosecution in Utah is a job that has to be done right the first time. Choosing the right attorney to defend you can be the most important decision you make. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling some of the most serious felony and misdemeanor charges on the books in Utah. No matter what charges you are facing, we can help....

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Utah Criminal Defense Attorney - Hope

Facing criminal prosecution in Utah can feel like your world is collapsing. But there are reasons to remain hopeful, and there are things you can do right now that can help increase the odds of a successful outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the various options you have, and can help you....

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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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