What does a criminal defense attorney do?
A criminal defense lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in the defense of individuals and businesses that have been accused of a criminal offense. Some criminal lawyers are hired on a private basis, while others are recruited by the various jurisdictions with criminal courts to appoint them to represent indigent defendants; these latter attorneys are referred to as public defenders. Although the language is vague, this is because each jurisdiction may have its practices, with varying degrees of involvement from state and federal law or consent decrees. Judges in some jurisdictions use a revolving system of appointments, with each case being assigned to a private practice attorney or law firm by the judge in charge.
Legal representation for criminal defendants is provided in the aftermath of an arrest, including the conduct of an investigation, the filing of criminal charges, the administration of sentences, appeals, and post-trial difficulties.
A criminal defense attorney may choose to specialize in a particular area of the law, such as drug defense or DUI defense. The state or private legal firms are possible places of employment for these professionals. Defense attorneys may also have their practice and handle a large number of criminal cases.
In the simplest terms, an arrest occurs when a police officer, federal agent, or the court believes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime. Because an arrest is typically made by law enforcement, it is common for the arrest to be made on a criminal charge that has not been filed or verified by an attorney or a court of justice.
Criminal defense attorneys are likewise concerned with the substantive aspects of the offenses for which their clients are being prosecuted. Criminal defense attorneys can also assist clients before charges have been filed by a prosecuting attorney: this is done when a person feels he or she is being investigated by the authorities.
Defendants may retain the services of a criminal defense attorney to assist them in obtaining counsel and representation when dealing with police or other investigators, conducting their investigations, and presenting exculpatory evidence that may disqualify them from facing charges from the prosecutor.
Legal representation for criminal defendants in the United States who are engaged by governmental institutions such as county or state governments, or the federal government, are referred to as “public defenders” or “court-appointed attorneys” in some circles.
Assault and battery
The once distinct offenses of assault and battery are consolidated under the Utah Code for Assault. Normally, assault entails attempting to injure someone, threatening to injure another, or inflicting minor injury on another and is punished as a class B misdemeanor. The assault which results in significant bodily injury is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor. Additionally, Utah distinguishes between assaults on pregnant women, police officers, healthcare personnel, and serious assaults.
Child abuse or child endangerment
Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child on a physical, emotional, or sexual level. Its charges can range from a low-level Class C misdemeanor for less serious acts of abuse to a substantial 2nd-degree felony for serious harm inflicted on a child knowingly or willfully. Child abuse accusations are brought against anyone who has care or custody of a child and injures the child or allows or permits another to injure the child.
Domestic violence is defined in Utah as the commission (or attempted commission) of any felony involving violence, physical harm, or the threat of violence or physical harm against a cohabitant. Cohabitants are defined as a victim’s present or previous spouse, blood or married relative, live-in domestic partner, cohabitant of the same residence, or biological parent of the victim’s children or unborn child.
Assault, stalking, harassment, violation of a protective order, and any other act of violence between cohabitants are considered violent crimes under this provision. When the violent acts take place in the presence or proximity of the victim’s children, a separate charge of domestic violence in the presence of minors will be filed. Domestic violence convictions may result in the loss of the right to own or possess weapons, and consecutive offenses will result in harsher penalties.
A misdemeanor is a less serious infraction than a felony, punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a fine. Numerous city and county ordinances, as well as certain state statutes, are misdemeanors.
A felony is a serious offense that carries the possibility of imprisonment and/or a fine.
Following a conviction for a crime, the Defendant is typically sentenced to twelve or more months on probation. Probation terms vary by case but frequently include payment of a fine or restitution, completion of a substance abuse screening and any suggested substance abuse programs, consent to warrantless searches and random drug testing, and an all-encompassing stipulation to “follow all laws.”
Probation violations often occur when an individual is charged with another crime, fails to finish a substance abuse screening or treatment program, fails a drug test, or fails to pay a court-ordered fee or restitution. Any probation breach may result in a violation hearing, at which the court may revoke your probation and sentence you to jail.
Hit and run charges
If you are involved in a traffic accident, Utah law requires you to pull over and exchange information with the other motorists. If there are injuries, you must wait for police enforcement and emergency medical services to arrive. Failure to stop or remain at the site of an accident may result in you being charged with hit and run. Depending on the severity of the accident or injuries, hit and run charges can range from a class B misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $1,000.00 for accidents involving only property damage to a third-degree felony with a maximum fine of $5,000.00 and jail time for accidents involving injuries or death.
When an accident results in damage to an unoccupied car or another person’s property, the driver who caused the damage is required to make a reasonable effort to contact the owner of the damaged property before leaving the site of the accident.