Being arrested and criminally charged is frightening, humiliating, and confusing. Many people charged with a crime do not understand how their actions constitute a criminal offense. Complex legal procedures also make defending yourself much harder than it seems on TV. Most criminal defendants need skilled attorneys to help them fight their charges.
The consequences of being criminally convicted are serious. Even if this is your first offense and you have an otherwise clean criminal record, you might still be facing thousands of dollars in fines, years in prison, the loss of your driver’s license, supervised probation, and other assorted penalties depending on the nature of the charges against you.
If you are charged with a crime, the best thing you can do for yourself is call a lawyer. Our Logan criminal defense lawyers have the skills and experience to help you fight your charges. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free case evaluation to get started.
Our Logan Defense Lawyers Can Help You
Because of the negative impacts that a criminal conviction can have, it is essential to work with a knowledgeable defense attorney who knows how to protect your rights while fighting strategically for a favorable outcome on your behalf. Our Logan criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to providing aggressive courtroom representation to residents of Logan. They have more than 16 years of experience handling an array of felonies and misdemeanors, including the following criminal offenses:
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Possession and Distribution
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- Gun Crimes
- Sex Crimes
If you or one of your loved ones was arrested in Logan, you can depend on Darwin Overson to provide your family with personalized, around-the-clock legal support. To get a free, completely confidential assessment of your case, call Darwin at (801) 758-2287. Darwin is available to make emergency visits to jails and holding centers.
What Happens When You Are Arrested for a Crime in Logan?
The police cannot make arrests whenever they want. Arresting someone and taking them into police custody is a massive infringement of that person’s rights. As such, arrests can only be made under certain conditions and in accordance with strict procedural rules. Our Logan criminal defense attorneys can help you challenge your arrest if it was unlawful.
Generally, every arrest must be accompanied by an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant is a document drafted by the police and authorized by a judge or magistrate permitting law enforcement to take someone into custody. Arrest warrants must be based on sufficient probable cause that the person being arrested has committed a crime. Also, the judge or magistrate who authorizes a search warrant must remain impartial, meaning they favor neither the police nor the person being arrested. The warrant may only be authorized if the judge finds sufficient probable cause.
While the warrant rule is one of the strictest rules in our justice system, it is not absolute. There are numerous circumstances in which a person can be arrested without a warrant. These warrantless arrests must be very specific conditions to be considered lawful.
One exception to the warrant rule is when the police officer actually witnesses the crime occur. For example, if a police officer stumbles upon a man holding another man at gunpoint, the officer can make an arrest without having to get a warrant. This is often because a crime in progress is dangerous, and there is no time to get a warrant without risking public safety.
There are many other exceptions to the warrant rule as well. If you were arrested without a warrant, you should let your attorney know immediately. If your arrest did not meet the requirements of a valid warrantless arrest, you can have the arrest thrown out along with any evidence seized during the arrest.
What Is the Court Process After You Are Arrested in Logan?
Being charged with a crime is an overwhelming experience, especially if you’re not familiar with Utah’s criminal justice system and the court process that follows an arrest. Our Logan criminal defense lawyers have years of experience handling criminal cases in Logan and other areas of Utah. Depending on factors like the defendant’s age and the nature and severity of the charges against them, this process might involve the following steps:
- If you were charged with a felony, the first step is called the first appearance. You will receive formal notice of the charges against you.
- After the first appearance comes the preliminary hearing. The prosecutor does not have to prove that you are guilty but that there is probable cause to believe you committed the crime. If there isn’t enough evidence, the case will be dismissed.
- If you were charged with a misdemeanor, your first step is the arraignment, which is when you will plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” There are also several other pleas, which are less common.
- Pre-trial motions, or requests to the judge, will be filed by your defense attorney and the prosecutor.
- The court will schedule a pre-trial conference, which is a final attempt to settle the matter before taking the case to trial. The prosecutor and your defense lawyer can enter negotiations at this stage.
- During plea bargaining, the prosecutor can make concessions in return for the defendant pleading guilty. Plea bargaining isn’t always appropriate for every case.
- The trial is the final stage of the process. After a series of statements, witnesses, and rebuttals, the jury will receive instructions and must return a unanimous verdict. If no such verdict can be reached, the judge can order a new trial. The trial concludes with a verdict and, within 45 days at most, sentencing.
Criminal Penalties, Fines, and Sentences in Logan
Criminal offenses in Utah are separated into two categories: misdemeanors, which are lesser offenses, and felonies, which are more serious. While misdemeanors may carry smaller fines and shorter sentences than felonies, penalties can nonetheless climb to thousands of dollars and/or months of incarceration. Convictions for both felonies and misdemeanors will also create a criminal record, which can create serious obstacles in important parts of your everyday life, including your employment, your ability to earn professional licenses, and your eligibility for certain loans.
Our Logan criminal defense attorneys can help you challenge your charges and the potential penalties in your case. Possible fines and sentences for misdemeanors and felonies in Utah include the following:
- Class A Misdemeanors
- Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail
- Fine — Up to $2,500
- Class B Misdemeanors
- Sentence — Up to 6 months in jail
- Fine — Up to $1,000
- Class C Misdemeanors
- Sentence — Up to 90 days in jail
- Fine — Up to $750
- First Degree Felonies
- Sentence — Up to life in prison
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- Second Degree Felonies
- Sentence — Up to 15 years in prison
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- Third Degree Felonies
- Sentence — Up to 5 years in prison
- Fine — Up to $5,000
In some cases, other penalties may be imposed in addition to those mentioned above, including the following:
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Mandatory community service
- Registration as a sex offender
- Restitution to be paid to the victim
These additional penalties are sometimes imposed on certain categories of offenses. Other times, they are imposed when certain aggravating circumstances are present.
Plea Negotiations for Criminal Charges in Logan
Although some criminal cases sometimes end with a jury verdict, most do not. It is very common for criminal cases to end in a plea deal agreement. A plea deal is a bargain struck between prosecutors and the defendant. The defendant agrees to enter a guilty plea and waive their right to a trial. In return, prosecutors agree to drop some of the charges, reduce the charges, or lower the penalties.
Plea agreements result from intense negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys. Our Logan criminal defense attorneys have experience negotiating favorable plea deals and can help you get the best deal possible.
Plea deals are not guaranteed. We cannot arrange a plea deal if prosecutors do not want to. However, even stalwart prosecutors can be persuaded to offer a deal rather than take the time and expense to put on a trial. The courts are often so crowded and clogged that plea deals are necessary to alleviate the congestion. A busy court docket can be used to sway a prosecutor in your favor.
We also do not have to accept a plea deal once negotiations have begun. If the prosecutor offers a bad deal in your case, we can refuse and continue preparing for trial. Your chances before a sympathetic jury might be better than your chances with a hardline prosecutor. As your trial progresses, the prosecutor may change their mind and offer a better deal, which you are free to accept or decline.
Appealing a Criminal Conviction in Logan
Unfortunately, many criminal defendants are convicted despite their best efforts to fight their charges. When this happens, it is not yet game over. You can fight your conviction by filing an appeal.
An appeal from a justice court to a district court gives you a new trial to fight the case again, on the record. Otherwise, an appeal from a district court is not usually a new trial, and there will be no new evidence or arguments regarding guilt and innocence. Instead, we must argue about the legality of your conviction and sentence.
On appeal, our job is to look for legal errors in your case. The only things that can be argued on appeal are things we preserved for appeal at your trial. The most common way of preserving something for appeal is to raise an objection. Even if our objection is overruled, the issue is on the record and preserved for appeal.
Common issues brought up on appeal include tainted evidence, improper jury instructions, and illegal sentences. For example, if the police obtain evidence without a search warrant or a valid exception to the warrant requirement, the evidence is tainted and inadmissible in court. If prosecutors present the evidence anyway, we must object and hopefully keep it out. If the judge mistakenly allows the evidence in, our Logan criminal defense attorneys can fight the evidence on appeal.
A successful appeal may lead to a new trial where you will get a second chance to fight your charges with a new jury. Corrections made during the appeal must be carried over to the new trial. For example, the tainted evidence from before must be kept out.
Call Our Logan Criminal Defense Lawyers for Assistance
When you’ve been charged with committing a crime, experienced legal representation can make the difference between keeping your freedom and losing all of your most precious rights. Don’t face the prosecution alone. To set up a free case review with our Logan criminal defense attorneys, call (801) 758-2287.