Month: August 2015

Possible Defenses that Could Apply to Your Case

Possible Defenses that Could Apply to Your Case

Some Common Defenses That May Apply to You

The attorneys at Stevens & Gailey will make sure you understand all of the charges you are

Criminal Defense Attorney Salt Lake City
Criminal Defense Attorney Salt Lake City

                           

How Can You Fight?

facing and the potential legal consequences.  Our qualified attorneys will determine the best course of action to take in your case and fully explain the potential defenses to your crimin al charges.  Your case is unique.  Not all defenses are applicable in a particular case.  The following are examples of the types of defenses that may be pursued in a criminal case.

Miranda Warnings

One of the most common defenses used against a criminal charge is a violation of the “Miranda Warning.” Most people understand that they have the right to remain silent if they are suspected of committing a crime.  Law enforcement must advise you of this right if you are in their custody and before they attempt to question you about an allegation.  If it can be shown that the police coerced you into making a confession or incriminating statements, or that they did not properly read you the “Miranda Warning,” then those statements of guilt and any additional evidence derived as a direct result of those statements, may not be used as evidence against you. There are exceptions to this rule and it is important to speak to one of our qualified defense attorneys about your specific situation.

Possible Defenses that Could Apply to Your Case

Warrants and Searches

If you or your property are searched illegally, any evidence derived as a result of the illegal search may not be used against you in court.  There are several exceptions to this rule and an experienced criminal defense attorney can help determine if your rights have been violated.

  • an officer can search you for weapons or other evidence, without a warrant if you have been arrested.
  • an officer can search your home in emergency situations, without your consent or without a warrant.
  • A vehichle can also be searched without a warrant if the officer has a good reason to believe that it contains illegal contraband or evidence.

Right to Counsel
When you are in custody, the police must advise you that you have the right to speak to an attorney as soon as it is practical to do so after your arrest. If you request to speak with an attorney, the police may not question you about your case until you have received legal counsel.

Right to Remain Silent

This can sometimes be difficult to do.  You want to explain yourself, hoping that the officer will see your side of the story to let you go.  Often the officer will not see your side.  You are only required to identify yourself and do not have to respond to any further questions. Never volunteer information and immediately make known to law enforcement that you wish any discussion to be through your attorney.  Be polite and professional with the officer but do not incriminate yourself.   If you request to speak to a lawyer and your request is denied and the interrogation continues, then any statements of guilt that you make cannot be used against you at a later time.

Lack of “Reasonable Suspicion” to Commence a Stop

Law enforcement must be able to articulate a “reasonable suspicion” to commence a traffic stop.  An officer cannot stop or detain a person based solely upon their race, religion, gender, age, sexual preference or for other arbitrary reasons.

Insufficient Evidence

You have  the right to examine all of the evidence that the State will present against you in a criminal case.  That evidence must be gathered correctly, properly preserved, and be sufficient for the State to prove their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. You have the right to review and analyze all of the police reports, witness statements, documents, and other evidence to insure that your rights are protected and to expose any potential weaknesses in the State’s case.

The foregoing is not a comprehensive list of possible defenses but demonstrates that having qualified attorneys working for you is wise course of action to take, rather then fighting the charges on your own.  Please contact our office today for a free consultation.

Possible Defenses that Could Apply to Your Case

Drugs: Heroin

Heroin addiction can be damaging, physically, emotionally, and financially.  This is an introduction to heroin laws in Utah.

Heroin Laws in Utah

Heroin is listed as a Schedule I narcotic under federal drug regulations, meaning law enforcement authorities can prosecute heroin possession, sale, and trafficking. The particulars of state heroin laws can vary, however, in terms of the possible penalties. For example, a conviction for selling heroin in Utah may mean 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Even just possessing heroin could result in a 5-year prison term, depending on the amount and whether a person has prior drug convictions. The table below lists Utah’s heroin statutes.

Code Section Utah Code 58-37, et. seq.: Utah Controlled Substances Act
Possession 3rd degree felony; Subsequent offense: one degree greater penalty than provided
Sale 2nd degree felony; Subsequent offense: 1st degree felony; Within 1000 ft. of school or sale to a minor: one degree higher than provided except 1st degree felony is 5 yrs. mandatory
Trafficking

Related Resources for Utah Heroin Laws

Drug charges, and drug addiction, should be taken seriously. If you think you or someone you know may have a drug or substance abuse problem, Utah’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health has resources that can help. The state’s criminal court system runs Drug Courts in Utah.  For more information or a free consultation contact one of our attorneys today.