Layton Criminal Defense Lawyer

Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer

The consequences of a criminal conviction can ruin the rest of your life. In addition to receiving thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in fines, you could also be sentenced to spend years, decades, or life in prison. Many offenses also carry additional penalties, such as suspension of your driver’s license, supervised probation, and mandatory community service. Finally, you will receive a criminal record, which can interfere with important matters like loans and employment.

When you’re facing consequences this serious, it’s of critical importance to make sure that a knowledgeable and experienced defense attorney is protecting your rights while fighting for a favorable resolution to your case. Darwin Overson brings more than 16 years of legal experience to every case he handles, including assault, drug charges, DUI, weapons crimes, sex crimes, theft, homicide, vandalism, and other felonies and misdemeanors in Layton, UT.

If you or one of your loved ones was arrested in Utah, the time to seek legal help is now. To get a free, completely confidential assessment of your case, call criminal attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 today.

Criminal Cases We Handle in Layton, Utah

Thanks to decades of experience handling countless cases involving Utah’s criminal law, our experienced criminal defense attorneys have tried many different cases. Thanks to our skill and dedication, we can help you handle your criminal case. Some of the most common criminal defense cases we can handle in Layton, UT includes the following:

Drug Charges

Utah enforces stringent laws punishing individuals charged and convicted of drug charges. Many times, the possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia can be enough to face drug charges, which can lead to jail or prison time, and steep criminal fines. In addition to these penalties, a criminal conviction can lead to devastating collateral consequences. For instance, a criminal conviction for drug charges can lead to a criminal record, which can make it challenging to move on with your life even years after serving time.

Our Layton. UT criminal defense attorneys can handle a wide range of drug charges. Over the years, we have handled many cases involving the possession of controlled substances. A criminal conviction can lead to a Class B misdemeanor charge, leading to several months in jail and steep fines.

Over our many years of practice, we have handled many cases involving the manufacturing and distribution of narcotics. The law can be incredibly tough on these charges, and the criminal consequences for a conviction can be particularly challenging. For instance, if you are found guilty of manufacturing and distributing controlled substances in Utah, you can face second-degree felony charges, which can lead to years in prison and thousands of dollars in criminal fines. No matter the circumstances of your drug charges, it is essential to hire a skilled Layton, UT criminal defense lawyer who can help you understand your case and what to expect from it moving forward.


Utah is one of the country’s most punishing states when it comes to drinking and driving. Utah’s DUI (driving under the influence) laws are designed with a zero-tolerance alcohol consumption policy when operating a motor vehicle. These laws have been enacted and enforced to respond to the thousands of accidents and deaths caused by drunk drivers in Utah over the years. According to official sources of information such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving has been responsible for thousands of deaths every year in the U.S. According to NHTSA, in 2018, there were 10,511 registered alcohol-related crashes in the U.S.

If you are charged and convicted of a DUI in Utah, you risk facing months or years behind bars. Additionally, you can face several thousand dollars in fines. In addition to these penalties, you may also suffer from other collateral consequences such as the suspension of your driver’s license, installing an interlocking ignition device, and a criminal record. Our Layton, UT criminal defense attorneys from Overson & Bugden, can help defend you against your alleged DUI.

Criminal Proceedings

If you have never been charged with a crime before, you need the assistance of an experienced Layton criminal defense attorney. Facing Utah’s criminal justice system can be challenging and overwhelming. Every criminal case involves a series of hearings the defendant has to go through. Each of these hearings focuses on different aspects of your case. For instance, one of the first hearings you will go through is your bail hearing. During a bail hearing, the judge will determine – after analyzing your case and circumstances – whether to let you free on your own recognizance, set bail, or remand you to jail, pending future hearings.

Another type of criminal proceeding we commonly handle is criminal appeals. If you were convicted of a crime, you have a limited to file for an appeal. Through a direct appeal, you have the chance to challenge the decision made by the judge during the trial, the trial proceeding, and the application of the law to the facts of your case. It is possible that mistakes were made during the trial, which can justify overturning the judge’s decision. Our criminal defense attorneys can help you with this matter.

Another common proceeding we can handle is a parole violation hearing. Many convicted felons can have the chance to be released early from prison through parole. However, enjoying parole’s benefits require you to meet specific rules and conditions imposed by Utah’s Board of Pardons and Parole. Any violations of these conditions can nullify your parole, and you will be sent back to jail or prison – depending on your case. It is essential to hire an experienced Layton, UT criminal defense attorney who can help you through this process.

Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile crimes are those committed by individuals under the age of 18. Typically, juvenile offenders are tried separately in juvenile courts. The rules and procedures in this special court are different from the ones in adult criminal courts. Generally, a convicted minor can face consequences that are aimed towards rehabilitation and an attempt to prevent the felon from engaging in criminal activity moving forward. However, this doesn’t mean your child can’t be tried as an adult. There have been numerous criminal cases where minors have been tried as adults due to the nature of their offense.

Commonly, teenagers are arrested and charged with minor offenses such as graffiti, possession of drug paraphernalia, public intoxication, and trespassing – among other violations. However, there have also been more severe cases where a minor is accused of aggravated assault, homicide, or murder, leading to trial in adult court. There is a presumption of innocence that covers all defendants in the U.S. This means that the prosecution has the burden of showing beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime for which you were accused.

Our Layton criminal defense attorneys can help you defend your rights and challenge the case presented by the prosecution. If the prosecutor in your case cannot meet their burden of proof, you cannot be convicted. Make sure to call our law offices and schedule your initial free, confidential consultation.

Violent Crimes

Facing violent crime charges in Utah is extremely serious. If you are convicted for this type of crime, you risk facing jail or prison time, steep fines, and a criminal record. Over our many years of practice in criminal law in Layton, UT, we have handled thousands of cases involving alleged violent crimes such as aggravated assault, aggravated murder, sexual assault, and crimes against children.

These cases require special attention to detail and a keen eye to detect potential flaws in the prosecution’s case. Our Layton, UT criminal defense attorneys can help you defend your rights at all times. It is essential to remember that a criminal conviction for a violent crime in Utah can lead to life in prison – depending on your circumstances. Hiring an experienced Layton, UT criminal defense attorney can help you fight to reduce your charges or sentence or have your case dismissed.

What is the Legal Process After You’re Arrested in Layton?

While media depictions have spread the idea that criminal cases are synonymous with trial, trial is actually the final step after a series of other hearings and appearances. Many criminal cases never make it to trial. The way in which your case will develop depends on unique factors, which is part of why it’s important to talk to an attorney about what to expect and how to prepare after you or one of your loved ones is arrested.

Once a person is placed under arrest, he or she will be processed, or “booked,” by police officers. This process involves taking a mugshot, getting fingerprints, and collecting personal belongings and information. Once the defendant has been brought into custody, typically at a county jail like the Davis County Jail, the prosecutor has 72 hours to file charges.

The defendant is generally eligible to be released on bail, but must return for all future court hearings. If the defendant fails to appear, the judge can issue a warrant for his or her arrest. If bail is too high, it may be possible to have the amount lowered, or, if the bail is bondable, to use a bail bond.

If the charges relate to a felony, the first stage in the court process is the first appearance, when charges are formally announced, which is followed by the preliminary hearing, when the prosecutor tries to establish probable cause for proceeding with the case. If the charges involve a misdemeanor, the first step is the arraignment, when the defendant enters a plea. Next, attorneys from both sides have the opportunity to file pre-trial motions, or requests to the judge. If a pre-trial conference and plea bargain fail to resolve matters, the case must go to trial.

The Trial Process in Layton, UT

Before taking your case to trial, the first thing you need to do is hire an experienced Layton, UT criminal defense attorney. Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side can help you ensure you get the quality representation you deserve at all stages of your criminal case. There are many different aspects to consider in your criminal case. Each of the following elements represents the most important aspects of your criminal trial in Layton, UT.

Jury Selection

Jury selection is a critical aspect of every criminal case. During this process, the judges and lawyers select the jurors through a process called “voir dire.” Through voir dire, both lawyers ask questions to potential jurors to determine whether they are suitable and competent to serve in your case. Typically, both lawyers will ask possible jurors questions based on their background, biases, and any information or knowledge they may have about the case.

Both lawyers want to select 12 of your peers to serve as impartial jurors during your criminal case. The jury will be at your trial and see all the evidence. Based on this evidence, they will come up with a decision called the “verdict.” Selecting the right jurors for your case requires your criminal defense attorney to be experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable.

Opening Statements

The opening statement begins after the judge has given preliminary instructions to the jury. Both your Layton, UT criminal defense attorney and the prosecution will have the chance to present their opening statements. The opening statement is not a chance to kick the trial off guns blazing to make legal arguments and show the evidence suggesting your innocence or guilt. The opening statement allows both lawyers the opportunity to tell the story of their case and what they hope they will prove through the trial process.

An effective opening statement can have a significant impact on your case moving forward. It can help create an impression on the jury and paint a portrait that will be shown throughout the rest of the trial. Our skilled, Layton, UT criminal defense attorneys can help.

Witness Testimony and Cross-Examination

During the trial, each side has the opportunity to present their witnesses to support their case. Both sides will call out their witnesses to the stand and make a series of questions to prove their respective points. This is part of the discovery process. It is essential to bring witnesses who understand the process and what to expect from it. The last thing you want is a witness without the necessary knowledge required to prove your case.

Additionally, both sides have the chance to cross-examine the witnesses. Cross-examination has the purpose of challenging the witness’ testimony and decrease its credibility. This can help convince the jury that the witness’s arguments are not credible and should not be factored into their decision. This is perhaps one of the most critical aspects of your criminal case. It is essential to hire an experienced Layton, UT criminal defense attorney with the necessary experience to bring witnesses and cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses successfully.

Closing Arguments

The closing argument happens after all witnesses have gone through, and all of the evidence has been presented. During this process, both sides sum up and discuss the evidence shown through the trial. They are both barred from introducing arguments or evidence that was not entered during the trial. Your criminal defense lawyer has the duty to present the final arguments in a way that is most favorable to your case. Based on their theory and the evidence shown – documents, witnesses, pictures, and all other evidence – your criminal defense attorney should do their best to convince the jury and ask them to render a verdict of “not guilty.”

Our Layton, UT criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience working with thousands of criminal cases in Utah. We are able to guide you and build a defense strategy that can help you present a compelling closing argument.

Jury Deliberation and Verdict

This is the last step in your criminal case. During this time, the judge will provide the jury with instructions before they are dismissed to deliberate. Once they are excused from the court, it is up to the jury to come up with a verdict. The verdict must be unanimous, or it may risk being deemed a hung jury, which can lead to a mistrial. Our Layton, UT, criminal defense attorneys can help you during your trial and help you fight for the best possible outcome.

What Are the Criminal Penalties for Misdemeanors and Felonies in UT?

Utah, like many states, divides criminal offenses into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies, with the latter being subject to greater penalties.

Depending on how an offense is defined, and what sort of factors were present when the crime was allegedly committed, certain types of crimes can be a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, simple assault is a misdemeanor, but aggravated assault is a felony, because it involves factors like causing serious injury or using a dangerous weapon. Some common examples of aggravating factors which can lead to enhanced penalties include:

  • Endangering the safety of a child.
  • Committing an offense on school property.
  • Having prior violations.

The maximum fines and sentences for misdemeanors and felonies by class and degree are listed below. If a defendant is convicted, additional penalties may also be ordered.

  • First Degree Felony
    Maximum Fine— $10,000
    Maximum Sentence — Life in prison
  • Second Degree Felony
    Maximum Fine—$10,000
    Maximum Sentence — 15 years in prison
  • Third Degree Felony
    Maximum Fine— $5,000
    Maximum Sentence — 5 years in prison
  • Class A Misdemeanor
    Maximum Fine— $2,500
    Maximum Sentence — 1 year in jail
  • Class B Misdemeanor
    Maximum Fine— $1,000
    Maximum Sentence — 6 months in jail
  • Class C Misdemeanor
    Maximum Fine— $750
    Maximum Sentence — 90 days in jail

Our Utah Criminal Lawyers Can Help You with Your Case

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony in Layton, UT, we can help you. Our Salt Lake City, UT criminal defense attorneys from Overson & Bugden, have extensive experience handling thousands of criminal cases. Thanks to decades of handling criminal defense cases, we can provide all our clients with the quality legal representation they deserve. Facing criminal charges in Utah can be overwhelmingly challenging, especially if you have never been through a criminal case. However, you don’t have to go through this moment on your own. We can help you understand your case and what you can expect from it. To learn more about our services in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.