Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyer

Salt Lake criminal defense lawyer

Getting arrested and charged with a crime can be one of the scariest and most stressful periods of a person’s life in Salt Lake. To have the best chance of ensuring their freedom, individuals will need a solid defense.

That is where our criminal defense attorneys can help. We have years of experience defending clients in numerous types of criminal prosecutions and fighting to protect their rights. The criminal justice system is known for complex and unsympathetic but you do not have to face it alone.

Contact Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 for a free case consultation with our criminal defense lawyers.

Common Crimes that Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Handle in Salt Lake

There are numerous crimes on the books in Utah, but a few common ones that charged more often than others. Being charged with any crime is a serious situation. A conviction for one of the following crimes could include a prison sentence and hefty fines. However, there are methods for defending against each type.


Assault is one of the most common crimes charged in Salt Lake. Assault is divided into two categories, depending on the severity of the assault, either one of which our criminal defense attorneys can help you defend against. The lesser assault charge is known as “simple” assault and is charged as a misdemeanor. Simple assaults typically include minor fights and confrontations that do not escalate too far.

When a situation does get out of hand, aggravated assault charges might be filed. Aggravated assault occurs when there is an intent to cause serious bodily harm to the victim. Examples include blows to the head, using a weapon, and pointing a gun at another in the course of the assault. Aggravated assaults are charged as felonies in Utah.

Drug Crimes

Drug crimes often come with serious penalties, including fines and jail time. drug crimes include a wide range of potential charges, including illegal possession, possession with the intent to distribute, manufacturing, and trafficking. Further, possession of drug paraphernalia can also result in charges. Drug crimes range from misdemeanors to felonies, and penalties can include several years in prison. The severity of the charges will typically depend on the type of drug recovered, whether it is the defendant’s first charge, and the amount recovered in the arrest.

Theft Crimes

Theft crimes include several types of offenses, with the most common charges being burglary and robbery. Most people are aware that theft is the illegal taking of another person’s property. However, robberies and burglaries are usually charged more harshly because of the elements involved in each crime. For instance, robbery involved theft through the use of fear, like pointing a gun at a victim during a mugging. In a burglary, a person in breaking into another person’s property with the intent to commit a crime. Burglaries are considered very serious since the chances for a violent or deadly encounter are high. In most cases, burglaries and robberies will be charged as felonies.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence is another common charge in Salt Lake and throughout Utah. This is because Utah has a much lower legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit than other states. In Utah, a person can be charged with DUI if they have a BAC of 0.05% or higher. If it is your first DUI arrest, the penalties will be relatively minor but will probably include a license suspension. If it is not a driver’s first time being arrested for DUI, the penalties will likely be much harsher and can include jail time and a lengthy license suspension.

Homicide Crimes

Homicide cases are the most serious offenses in Salt Lake. Utah defines homicide broadly, with murder being the intentional killing of another person. Manslaughter, on the other hand, occurs when someone causes the death of another person through reckless or negligent conduct, like in a deadly DUI accident. Homicide can also be charged if someone is killed during the commission of another felony, like a robbery or burglary. The difference in which type is charged is the intent of the person who allegedly committed the offense.

Regardless of the homicide charge, defendants could be sentenced to several years in prison if not for life. Sentences also usually include tens of thousands of dollars in fines. Utah also still punishes capital offenses with the death penalty, which could be charged in certain homicide cases.

The Criminal Court Process After Being Arrested in Salt Lake

Getting charged with a crime is a harrowing experience for those arrested in Salt Lake. If you have never been arrested, you might not know what to expect from the process. The following process is typical for most criminal cases you might be charged with:

The Initial Appearance and Arraignment

The first part of the criminal justice process after being arrested is having an initial appearance in court. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, this first hearing is known as an “arraignment.” At this hearing, defendants will be notified of the charges made against them by the state.

The Bail Hearing

Usually, a bail hearing will be conducted after or during your initial appearance. During a bail hearing, a judge will determine whether to let you out while you await trial. Bail is intended to ensure a defendant appears in court, so if the crime is severe or the defendant has a history of failing to appear in court, bail will likely be set high. Bail could also be denied if the judge determines that the defendant would be a danger to the community if released.

The Preliminary Hearing

During a preliminary hearing, the prosecution presents evidence to show probable cause for charging you with the crimes they have. They can also call witnesses during this hearing to build evidence in your case. However, our attorneys will have the chance to question the state’s witnesses and probe their evidence for weaknesses. While you have the right to waive this hearing, you should not do so until you speak with our team.

The Pre-Trial Conference

The pre-trial conference is typically the last stop before the trial. This marks the last opportunity for each side to agree on a plea bargain agreement, if appropriate in the case. If the plea bargain was not accepted by the defendant, the case will be given a date for trial.


The trial is the last stage in the long prosecutorial process. Individuals charged with a misdemeanor or felony have a right to trial by jury. Also, the jury must agree unanimously to convict a defendant in Utah. If you have only been charged with a minor infraction, your case will be tried by a judge, who will also act as the jury, in what is known as a “bench” trial.

Our Salt Lake Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help

Call our criminal defense attorneys today at Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 for your free case assessment.