Category: Salt Lake City

Finding the Right Attorney in Ogden, Salt lake City, or American Fork Utah

It happens in an instant and your life can be changed. It can be overwhelming and frustrating looking for a good attorney. The court system seems daunting and it feels like you may never see an end to the amount of hearings, documents and phone calls. Whether you are guilty or not it proves to be an expensive and exhausting adventure.

Finding the right attorney for your charges can save you not only time but also money. It is important to interview your potential attorneys and make a decision based on a few different criteria. Here are a few things to think about:

1.) Does the attorney have a good working relationship with the prosecutors or District Attorneys in your area?

**Your attorney needs to be well respected among the community and with the court. They will be able to negotiate a good outcome for you easier when they are on good terms with the opposing council.

2.) Does the attorney have a good history of defending cases like yours?

** An attorney can work on many different categories of law. It is important to talk in depth about their history of criminal defense. This will help you determine if it is a right fit for your case.

3.) How do you feel when you talk to the attorney? Do you feel like you have confidence in their ability to act on your behalf?

**You may be comfortable with the attorney and even feel like they are friendly but the most important thing is if you feel like the attorney can actually represent your case well and is willing to work for you and your best interest.

4.) Are there reviews available online? Do they have a good online presence?

** A reputable attorney will have a good online presence. They should have reviews, blogs, social media sites and other forms of online content available for your review. Research before hiring an attorney is very important.

Finding the right Attorney for you is in your hands. With a little preparation and some research you will be empowered to find someone who is capable of handling your case. If you are stuck in trying to get answers or trying to find the right attorney or law firm to talk to about your criminal or divorce case, why not give us a call for your free consultation. Ogden Office 801-436-5757 or American Fork Office: 801-641-2933.

If you need our office address they are:

Ogden Office: 298 24TH STREET, SUITE 205 OGDEN UT 84401

American Fork Office:  76 N. MERCHANT ST. AMERICAN FORK, UT 84003

Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney

Accomplice Liability

Accomplice Liability

Utah Code 76-2-202 states, “Every person, acting with the mental state required for the commission of an offense who directly commits the offense, who solicits, requests, commands, encourages, or intentionally aids another person to engage in conduct which constitutes an offense shall be criminally liable as a party for such conduct.”

Under the law in Utah, you can be held liable whether you “directly commit the offense” or if you are the person who, as an accomplice, “solicits, requests, commands, encourages, or intentionally aids another person” to engage in criminal conduct.  In Utah the statute makes no distinction in criminal liability between the accomplice and the person directly committing the offense, the penalties imposed for each can and after are the same. Criminal attorney salt lake city

Accomplice Liability

For further clarification consider the following example.

Adam creates a plan to steal from a local store, he likes to golf and has no money to pay for more golf balls.  Adam explains the plan to friend Brad, and asks best friend Brad to drive him to the store and wait in parking lot while Adam enters to steal golf balls.  Brad is bored on Friday night and decides that the plan sounds good, and agrees to drive Adam. Brad gets his car, and drives with Adam to the store. Brad waits in the parking lot while Adam enters the Store.  Adam grabs as many golf balls as he can in his arms and runs out to the parking lot. Adam jumps in the car, and shouts “I got the balls. Let’s go golfing.” Brad then drives away with Adam. Best criminal defense lawyer
In this scenario, Adam “directly committed” the robbery, and most likely would be charged with a class B or class A misdemeanor Theft (depending on the price of the golf balls).  Brad did not enter the store, did not grab the golf balls, and did not make any distractions to aid in Adam’s flight.  However, Brad shared the orignal intent that the crime was a good idea and should be committed, and by acting as the getaway driver Brad “intentionally aided” Adam to engage in conduct that constituted the offense of theft.  As such, Brad is equally liable as an accomplice for the charge of theft. Attorneys in salt lake city


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

Lets change the facts:

Adam and Brad are in the store together. While in the store, Adam conceives of a plan to steal golf balls, but says nothing to Brad about  his diabolical plan. While Brad is engaged in conversation with a clerk (thus occupying the clerk’s attention), Adam grabs as many golf balls as he can in his arms and runs out to the parking lot. Brad knows nothing about what Adam has done. Adam and Brad leave the parking lot together in Brad’s car. Ogden criminal defense attorneySalt lake city criminal lawyer

In this scenario, Brad has no knowledge of Adam’s intent or plan.  If he does have the necessary intent (i.e., does not intend to assist Adam in committing a retail theft), then even though his conduct ultimately did assist Adam in being able to successfully commit the crime, Brad would not be guilty as an accomplice.

Changing facts again, while in the store Adam tells Brad about his plan, and asks Brad to act as a lookout. Adam tells Brad to cough three times if he sees anyone coming. Brad agrees to act as the lookout, while Adam begins grabbing golf balls. It turns out that all of the staff are on lunch breal, and no one sees what Adam is doing. Brad does not have to give any warning signals. Salt lake city criminal lawyer

In this scenario, Brad did not come up with the plan.  Brad did not solicit, request, or command Adam to commit the theft.  Because no one was around, Brad’s assistance was unnecessary. But a prosecutor may still argue that Brad’s agreement to help, together with his presence and willingness to assist as a lookout if needed, acted to “encourage” Adam to commit the theft. Thus, even this limited involvement could still result in Brad being found criminally liable for Adam’s conduct. Utah criminal defense attorney

For additional questions or for a free consultation contact one of our attorneys today.   See also these relevant Utah Statutes:

Utah Code 76-2-105 – Transferred Intent

Accomplice Liability

Utah Legal Seperation v. Divorce

Utah Legal Seperation v. Divorce

Many clients ask us if they should get a divorce or a legal separation.  These are two different processes and there are pros and cons for each process.

DIVORCE: A divorce completely dissolves the legal marriage of a couple.  It is permanent.  A divorce will settle issues of property, debt, child custody, child support and parent time.    A divorce can take a long time or a minimum of 90 days.

LEGAL SEPERATION: A legal separation (which is called separate maintenance in Utah) does not end your marriage.  Couples often seek a legal separation when they intend to live apart but wish to remain legally married.   Some couples choose a legal separation for religious or medical insurance reasons.  In a legal separation you ask the court to make an order addressing the issues of debt, property division, property division, custody, child support and parent time.

Utah Legal Seperation v. Divorce

The filing fee is the same for either a legal separation or divorce.  A legal separation is not a stepping stone to divorce – it is a different path.  You cannot convert a legal separation into a divorce.  If you first become legally separated and later want a divorce you have to file new documents with the court for the divorce.

If you want orders from a judge telling the parties what is going to happen with custody, parent time, support, property, debt, etc., during the time between when you file your divorce and when you get your final divorce decree, you need to ask the court for temporary orders.

If you have additional questions contact one our our attorneys today for a free consultation.


Utah Legal Seperation v. Divorce

After a Divorce Should I Modify My Estate Plan?

Generally, in Utah, once a divorce decree is final and the parties are officially divorced, provisions for the former spouse in the estate plan are automatically revoked. Pursuant to Utah Code §75-2-804  all revocable gifts made to the former spouse and the former spouse’s relatives are revoked upon divorce.  Thus, divorce revokes all gifts made to the former spouse and the former spouse’s relatives in a will, in a revocable (living) trust, in a retirement plan beneficiary designation, on a pay-on-death (POD) account, and in a life insurance policy beneficiary designation (where the insured spouse owns the policy).    It should be noted that the divorce does not revoke gifts to one’s own children, even though they are also the former spouse’s children. Divorce lawyer in utah

After a Divorce Should I Modify My Estate Plan?

In addition, section 75-2-804  provides that a divorce revokes any nomination of the former spouse or a relative of the former spouse as a personal representative in a will, and any nomination of the former spouse or a relative of the former spouse as a successor trustee under a revocable trust. Divorce salt lake city

It should be noted that irrevocable gifts and irrevocable fiduciary nominations are not revoked by divorce.  Thus, the provisions of an irrevocable trust remain intact, notwithstanding the divorce, unless the terms of the trust expressly provide otherwise.

After a Divorce Should I Modify My Estate Plan?

The automatic revocation provisions are designed to accomplish what most people would want for their estate plans upon divorce.  They are intended to “fix” the divorced person’s estate plan even if he or she does not get around to actually revising the plan before he or she dies.  It is nonetheless important to routinely consult an attorney and to regularly revise your estate plan after getting divorced in order to ensure that your assets will be distributed in the manner you intend. Filing for divorce in utah

For more information and a free consultation contact one of our lawyers today.

After a Divorce Should I Modify My Estate Plan?

Can I Appeal?


Simply put an appeal is a review by a higher court of a lower court’s or agency’s final, sentence, judgment or decree.  In most cases an appeal is not a new trial, and no new evidence will be accepted. The only information the appellate court will consider on appeal is: 1) the written or recorded transcript of the hearing or trial, 2) any items offered as evidence at the hearing or trial, 3) the documents in the court or agency file or 4) the written briefs filed in the appeal.

The exception to the above rule is when you want to appeal the sentence you just received at justice court for a criminal or traffic offense.

An appeal of a justice court sentence goes to the district court, and results in a trial or hearing de novo. De novo means the matter is tried all over again, that you receive a new trial. This is different from other appeal procedures, in which the appellate court does not hear evidence. It is important to note you only have 30 days to file “A Notice of Appeal”  with the justice court after the judge made his/her sentence against you.  If you do not file within that small window of time, you have waived your right to an appeal of the judges sentence.  The procedures for a justice court appeal in a criminal matter are more fully layed out in Utah Rule of Criminal Procedure 38 and Utah Code Section 78A-7-118

An interesting concept about Justice Court Criminal appeals is that the Judge in the District Court can not increase a sentence above what was ordered at the Justice Level.  This is to not sway people from filing criminal appeals in Justice Court.

Can I Expunge My Juvenile Criminal Record?


Can I Expunge My Juvenile Criminal Record?

What happens to a youth offender’s juvenile court record when the youth becomes an adult?  The answer is complex and requires explanation:

Offenses committed by youth offenders are usually handled in juvenile court, in most cases criminal charges that occurred prior to the age of 21.

It is important to note that even as an adult the  juvenile court record does not simply disappear. Youth offenders who wish to have their juvenile court records removed must follow a complicated and exacting process.  Provided int the Utah Juvenile Court Act.

Pursuant to the Utah Juvenile Court Act, 78a-6-1105 however, not all offenses can be expunged. For example, a juvenile court record with an adjudication of aggravated murder or murder may not be expunged.  See. U.S.C. Sec. 78-6a-1105(5).

Can I Expunge My Juvenile Criminal Record?,/h2>

To qualify for expungement for juvenile offenses, a youth offender must meet certain criteria.   The offender is qualified to petition for expungement only if he or she is 18 years of age and at least one year has passed from the date the juvenile court terminated jurisdiction; or, if the youth was committed to a secure youth corrections facility, from the date of the youth’s release from the custody of the Division of Juvenile Justice Services. See Juvenile Court Act, 78a-6-1105.

A person petitioning for expungement of a juvenile court record must do the following:

  1.  Obtain a criminal history report from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and include the report with the petition.
  2.  The person must include in the petition agencies known or alleged to have documents related to the offense for which the person seeks expungement.
  3.  Send a copy of the petition to the county or district attorney, and a victim can request notice of such a petition.
  4.  It should be noted that a person may meet all of the above criteria and yet stillnotqualify for expungement. The petitioner must go before the court to demonstrate that expungement of his or her juvenile court record is appropriate.

See Juvenile Court Act, 78a-6-1105.

The court must determine whether the petitioner has been rehabilitated to the court’s satisfaction. The court takes into account:  (a) the petitioner’s response to programs and treatment, (b) behavior after adjudication, and (c) the nature and seriousness of the conduct.

The court may not grant the petition, if after the juvenile court terminates its jurisdiction or the person has been released from Juvenile Justice Services: (i) the petitioner has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, or (ii) there is a felony or misdemeanor proceeding pending or being instituted against the person, or (iii) a judgment for restitution on the offense for which the expungement is sought remains unresolved.

If the court grants an expungement, the proceedings in the youth offender’s case are considered never to have happened.  See Juvenile Court Act, 78a-6-1105.

The process is complicated, and a youth offender may not qualify for expungement, or a court may deny the petition.  Contact and speak with our experienced attorneys with Stevens & Gailey, P.C. for a free consultation on how to proceed on your juvenile expungement.

Can I Expunge My Juvenile Criminal Record?