Committing homicide against a child is one of the most serious crimes a person can ever be charged with committing. A defendant will face extremely severe consequences if he or she is convicted, along with the burden of having a permanent criminal record.
If you are found guilty of child abuse homicide, your life and that of your loved ones will change forever. It is critical that you are represented by a tough criminal defense lawyer who has extensive experience handling felony homicide charges in Utah.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Salt Lake City, Utah Criminal Defense Attorney
Prosecutors take an extremely aggressive approach to child homicide cases. It is absolutely vital that your Constitutional rights are protected by a skilled attorney with the knowledge and innovation to bring cutting-edge legal strategies to the courtroom.
With over 16 years of experience handling thousands of cases in counties throughout Utah, Darwin Overson has established a reputation as a tough opponent who doesn’t back down from challenging legal circumstances. You will be treated with dignity and respect as Darwin guides you through the court system, explains your legal options, and fights persistently to have your charges dismissed or reduced.
To set up a free, completely confidential legal consultation with Darwin, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287. Darwin represents defendants in Salt Lake County, Davis County, Utah County, Weber County, Morgan County, Summit County, Tooele County, and throughout the state of Utah.
What Happens After You Get Arrested in Utah?
There are three scenarios where a person can be arrested in Utah:
- The police make an arrest after obtaining a warrant.
- The police observe an apparent homicide and intervene by making an arrest.
- The police make an arrest because they have probable cause to believe that a child abuse homicide has occurred or is going to occur.
Utah defines probable cause to mean “sufficient knowledge of articulable facts or circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that another person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime or a violation of a legally enforceable policy or rule.” Stated another way: that there are actual, concrete facts and details that would make most people think someone has or is going to commit a crime.
After a person is arrested for a felony in Utah, he or she will have a court hearing called a preliminary hearing where the judge will review the evidence to determine whether there is probable cause to believe the suspect could have committed the crime. If so, the case will continue — but if not, the case must be dismissed. Darwin will analyze every moment of your arrest to determine whether your legal rights were violated. Even if a police officer believed he or she had probable cause to justify the arrest, the courts may disagree.
Once a person has been arrested, he or she will be taken to the county jail in the appropriate county. The booking process involves taking mugshots, making fingerprints, and searching the suspect. A detainee should only be held in custody for 72 hours at most while the prosecutor decides whether to file charges, though prosecutors routinely request extensions as long as one or two weeks.
If your loved one has been held for longer than three days, you should contact a defense lawyer immediately. Further, your loved one has a right to have an attorney present during interrogations. Darwin is available to make attorney jail visits on short notice and can assist you with matters like posting bail, using bail bonds, and preparing for future court appearances.
Felony Penalties for Child Abuse Homicide: Fines and Prison Sentences
Homicide refers to the act of taking a human life. It is a broad category of crimes that includes murder, manslaughter, child abuse homicide, and several other offenses. As these are separate crimes, being charged with child abuse homicide does not that you are being charged with murder. That being said, a defendant still faces extremely serious penalties if he or she is convicted.
A person is charged with child abuse homicide under Utah Code § 76-5-208 when, allegedly, he or she causes the death of a person aged 17 or younger through the infliction of abuse. Abuse means:
- Causing an injury.
- Allowing another person to cause an injury.
- Abandoning a child or minor.
- Encouraging or commanding another person to abandon a child or minor.
- Committing domestic violence (e.g. assault, harassment, stalking) in a child or minor’s presence.
The way the crime is categorized and punished depends on the circumstances of the offense. If the defendant acts with criminal negligence (failure to exercise normal care and safety precautions), it is a second degree felony. However, if the defendant acts with recklessness (disregard for major, unjustifiable risks), it is a first degree felony. These types of felonies can result in the following criminal penalties in Utah:
- First Degree Felony
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- Sentence — 5 years to life in prison
- Second Degree Felony
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- Sentence — 1 year to 15 years in prison
If one of your family members was arrested for child abuse homicide in Utah, you need dedicated legal support fighting in your corner. For a free consultation with homicide defense attorney Darwin Overson, call the law offices of Overson Law immediately at (801) 758-2287. Darwin is available 24 hours a day, including nights and weekends.