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Utah Misdemeanor Defense Attorney Salt Lake

Under Utah criminal law, a single misdemeanor charge can carry a penalty of up to one year in jail plus a fine and surcharge of up to $4,750. A misdemeanor conviction can also carry consequences beyond the courtroom, that can affect a person's driver license, gun rights, employment, professional licensing, and much more.

Utah criminal defense lawyer Stephen Howard has been named to the National Order of Barristers and has received the American College of Trial Lawyers Medal for Excellence in Advocacy. He has successfully protected his clients' rights in thousands of serious felony and misdemeanor cases during his career. He understands that even misdemeanor cases need to be taken seriously. He works personally with each client to develop a defense strategy designed to meet each client's needs and goals.

With office centrally located in Salt Lake City, Mr. Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Salt Lake criminal attorney.

Defending Misdemeanor Cases in Utah

The best strategy for defending against a Utah misdemeanor prosecution will depend on the nature of the charge(s) filed, the specific facts of the case, and the needs and goals of each individual client.

We conduct a thorough legal and factual analysis of the case, identifying strengths and weaknesses in both the prosecution and defense side of the case. This allows us to better determine whether a motion to suppress, constitutional challenges, jury trial, or other defense techniques are appropriate.

We also meet with each client, to determine what his or her individual needs and goals are. For some people, keeping a conviction off their record is important. For others, staying out of jail is critical. Some people want to take the case "all the way," while others are hoping for a fast negotiated resolution.

By considering our each of our client's individual circumstances and needs, we are able to develop a defense strategy that is most likely to achieve the necessary goals.

Jail Time in Utah Misdemeanor Cases

The following maximum penalties are associated with each class of misdemeanor charge in Utah.

  Class A Misdemeanor - 365 days jail; $4,750 (fine plus surcharge)
  Class B Misdemeanor - 180 days jail; $1,900 (fine plus surcharge)
  Class C Misdemeanor - 90 days jail; $1,425 (fine plus surcharge)

If you are facing multiple counts, district court or justice court judge has discretion to run these sentences consecutively (back to back) or concurrently (simulatenously). For example, two class B misdemeanor six-month jail setences imposed consecutively could result in nearly a full year in jail. A judge may impose consecutive sentences for multiple misdemeanor charges contained in a single case. Or, if a person has multiple cases pending, two different judges could impose sentences consecutive to the other judge's sentence.

Other Consequences for Utah Misdemeanor Convictions

In addition to jail time and fines, a court may order payment of restitution for damages or injuries resulting from a defendant's criminal conduct. If a court grants a defendant the opportunity of probation, the judge may impose a variety of conditions including community service, drug or alcohol treatment, domestic violence counseling, anger management classes, theft classes, curfews, restrictions on travel, restrictions on personal associations, and more.

In addition to direct consequences associated with the court's order, many misdemeanor charges carry other collateral consequences. For example, a drug conviction for possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia can result in the loss of your driver's license for a year. A domestic violence conviction can result in restrictions on your right to carry a firearm or ammunition. Many misdemeanor convictions have the potential to affect employment or professional licensing.

It is tempting sometimes to think that because the case involves "just" a misdemeanor, that hiring a criminal defense attorney is not necessary. While misdemeanors are not as serious as felony charges, the potential consquences of conviction can be severe. Having an experienced defense attorney on your side can be critical to achieving a successful outcome.

Finding a Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah

Defense Lawyer for Utah Criminal ChargesIf you are facing Utah criminal charges, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer with a track record of achieving real results. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has achieved not guilty verdicts, dismissals, or appellate reversals in felony and misdemeanor cases including aggravated robbery,  drug possession, DUI, shoplifting, domestic violence, burglary, child abuse, theft, reckless endangerment, and more. He offers legal services to clients throughout Utah.

Contact us today to arrange for a confidential consultation and intial case analysis.


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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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