Murray, UT Criminal Defense Lawyer
When you or one of your family members is charged with a crime in Murray, you need aggressive yet compassionate legal support on your side. With more than 16 years of experience representing thousands of adults and juveniles, criminal lawyer Darwin Overson brings a powerful combination of knowledge, skill, and strategy to every case he handles. Darwin will fight tirelessly to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed while protecting your Constitutional rights and helping to guide you through Utah’s justice system.
To set up a free and confidential legal consultation with Darwin, call (801) 758-2287. Darwin handles a wide range of felony and misdemeanor charges, including but not limited to assault, drug possession, possession with intent to distribute, gun crimes, rape, sexual assault, DUI, theft, shoplifting, vandalism, and homicide.
What to Expect Before a Criminal Trial in Utah
When a person is arrested in Utah, he or she will be brought into custody to go through the process of “booking,” or collecting information about the person and suspected crime. The booking process, which can take minutes or hours depending on how busy the officers are and how many people are being booked, generally involves a mugshot, fingerprinting, a search, and confiscation of the person’s clothing and personal property, which will be returned later (except for contraband, such as illegal drugs or weapons).
The holding center in Salt Lake County is the Salt Lake County Jail. The prosecutor must file charges within 72 hours at maximum, or the person should be released from custody. Prosecutors can apply to have the 72-hour time period extended, but the Constitutionality of such extensions can be challenged. Bail, or the payment required to release the person from jail while awaiting trial, will be set during a bail hearing. If bail is excessive, it may be possible to use a bond or to have the amount reduced.
Many criminal cases never make it to the trial stage, which is preceded by other types of hearings and court appearances. Of course, each case varies depending on the nature and complexity of the charges against the defendant. Other stages to the court process include arraignment (when a plea is entered), pre-trial conference, and, in some cases, plea bargaining.
If the defendant has been charged with a felony, there are two additional steps at the beginning of the process: the aptly-named first appearance, which is when the charges are read, and the preliminary hearing, which is when the judge determines whether there is sufficient probable cause to proceed with the case. If there is not, the case will be dismissed at this stage.
Fines and Jail Sentences if You Are Convicted in UT
Utah’s laws distinguish between two types of criminal offenses: misdemeanors, which are lesser offenses such as driving while intoxicated and possession of small amounts of marijuana, and felonies, which are more serious offenses such as manslaughter, burglary, and sexual assault.
A conviction of a felony or misdemeanor can result in fines, incarceration, and the creation of a permanent criminal record, which can create troublesome barriers when you try to apply for a job or get approved for certain types of loans. Depending on the offense, you could also receive additional penalties such as supervised probation, mandatory community service, or being required to pay restitution to the victim of the crime.
Misdemeanors are divided into three groups called “classes”: Class C, Class B, and Class A. Class C misdemeanors have the lightest penalties, while Class A misdemeanors are one step below felonies. If you are a convicted of a misdemeanor in Utah, you could face the following penalties:
- Class C Misdemeanor
- Fine — Up to $750
- Sentence — Up to 90 days in jail
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Fine — Up to $1,000
- Sentence — Up to 6 months in jail
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Fine — Up to $2,500
- Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail
Felonies are also divided into three groups, but instead of classes, felonies are assigned “degrees”: third degree, second degree, and first degree. A first degree felony is the most serious type of felony and carries the most severe penalties. The only capital felony in Utah, or felony for which capital punishment is a possible consequence, is aggravated murder. However, it is rare for prosecutors to seek the death penalty in aggravated murder cases.
If you are convicted of a felony in Utah, you could face the following penalties:
- Third Degree Felony
- Fine — Up to $5,000
- Sentence — Up to 5 years in prison
- Second Degree Felony
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- Sentence — Up to 15 years in prison
- First Degree Felony
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- Sentence — Possible life in prison
Penalties may be enhanced if any “aggravating factors” were present. Some common examples of aggravating factors include:
- Committing a crime in a school zone.
- Causing serious bodily injury.
- Endangering a child.
- Having a history of repeat offenses.
Trust Our Murrary Defense Lawyers
When a conviction can have such a drastic and negative impact on your life, it’s critical to make sure that you’re being defended by a highly skilled and experienced criminal lawyer. To arrange a free and private legal consultation, call defense attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 right away.