Criminal Law

Criminal Law

We accept selected private criminal cases including misdemeanors, felonies, appeals, and post conviction relief cases in Utah and Arizona.

If you have been accused of a crime follow these steps to insure that you protect your rights and avoid prejudicing your case.

  • Don't talk to anyone about your case but your lawyer.
  • If anyone tries to talk to you about the case, you can read them the following:

"My Lawyer has instructed me not to talk to anyone about my case or anything else, and not to answer questions or reply to accusations."

"On advice of counsel and on the grounds of my rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, I shall talk to no one in the absence of counsel. I shall not give any consents or make any waivers of my legal rights. Any request for information or for consent to conduct searches or seizures or investigations affecting may person, papers, property or effects should be addressed to my lawyer whose name, address and phone number are: ____________________."

"I request that my lawyer be notified and allowed to be present if any identification confrontations, tests, examinations, or investigations of any sort are conducted in my case, and I do not consent to any such confrontations, tests examinations, or investigations."

If you have been arrested for a DUI you need to know that by obtaining a driver's license you have already consented to a breath or blood alcohol test.

Refusing the test will result in automatic suspension of your driver's license. (This request is the one exception to the above advice about refusing to speak to or consent.)

In the case of a DUI arrest you have only ten days to request an administrative hearing regarding your license. It is important to your defense that you make this request on time.  Click this link to learn about our defense of DUI cases or call our office at 435-713-0660.

If you are considering pleading guilty to a crime you need to understand that the criminal justice system is structured assuming that people will initially plead "not guilty" in order to have time to consult with their lawyer.

Sometimes people feel compelled to plead guilty in order to "be honest" before they have a chance to speak to a lawyer. Their approach is at odds with the system.

Prosecutors have a great deal of discretion and will charge someone with more than they feel the person should plead guilty to, just so that they can have something to bargain with when defense counsel approaches them about a plea agreement.

By pleading guilty to the charges, these "honest" individuals are penalizing themselves unnecessarily. The system assumes that the initial plea may change over time.

It is not dishonest to initially plead not guilty in order to give your lawyer time to work on your case, even if you are guilty of the charges.

The one exception to the above rule is minor misdemeanor cases in justice court. At times the prosecutor and Justice Court Judge will allow an "honest" person to agree to an advantageous arrangement in order to move the case along.

Hiring an attorney in minor misdemeanor cases may actually increase the likelihood of additional punishment, or at least cause unnecessary delay. The problem, of course, is that the lay person will likely not know whether the arrangement offered by the prosecutor is appropriate. The only way to be sure is to contact legal counsel.

If you are in need of free legal counsel, the U.S. Supreme Court requires the States and the Federal Government to provide legal counsel for people who can't afford it (indigents), even in cases where it is likely the court will impose only a suspended sentence and place the individual on probation. [See Alabama v. Shelton, 535 U.S. 654, 122 S. Ct. 1764; 152 L. Ed. 2d 888 (20 May 2002)].

In Utah, however, a state statute already required appointment of counsel if there was "a substantial probability of the deprivation of the defendant's liberty," meaning, if someone needs legal help. [Utah Code Ann. Sec. 77-32-301].

The Utah provision may be altered because of the new Supreme Court precedent. Courts may need to order state funded defense counsel, even when the likely outcomes are probation and/or a suspended sentence.

Under the Supreme Court's Shelton decision, suspended jail terms imposed on people who have not been represented by a lawyer are no longer valid, and cannot be implemented if probation is violated.

In Utah, the standard for whether someone cannot afford counsel is set by Utah Code Ann. Sec. 77-32-202(3)(A), which provides for counsel if a person does not have sufficient assets to pay for counsel and makes less than or equal to 150% of the poverty level as published by the Federal Government.

For 2013 that translates to $15,235 a year for a family of one and $23,265 for a family of two. Utah judges will generally qualify you for appointed counsel if you make less than or equal to $8.29 an hour for 1 person or $11.19 for a family of two. For larger families, just add $6,030.00 or 2.90 per hour for each person to find the applicable wage.
(For example, the amount for a family of five would be $19.88/hour, or $41,345 total yearly income.)

Send us a message or call us to discuss your criminal law-related questions: 435-713-0660 or Toll Free: 800-507-6721