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davis county dui defense lawyerA majority of DUIs are addressed at the misdemeanor level. Misdemeanors are generally regarded as lesser or minor offenses, commonly resulting in consequences such as probation or brief terms of incarceration. Felonies are regarded as more severe and troublesome offenses, commonly resulting in long terms of imprisonment and extreme socioeconomic harms, referred to as “collateral consequences.” In simple forms, DUIs are regarded as misdemeanors, however, circumstances showing significant elevation in the seriousness of the offense may cause a DUI to be prosecuted as a felony. Even as a first offense, a DUI may be charged as a felony given that an aggravating factor is present. If you have been charged with a felony associated with intoxicated driving, it is critical that you initiate communication with a qualified attorney at your earliest convenience. The seriousness of a felony DUI charge cannot be understated. 

Aggravating Circumstances in DUI Prosecutions

A felony conviction or the entrance of a guilty plea may precipitate massive and unwanted lifestyle alterations, such as significant difficulty in securing desirable employment and rental housing. Aggravating factors that may cause a DUI to be prosecuted as a felony include: 

  • Repeat charges - Under Utah state law, a third DUI within a period of ten calendar years can be automatically treated as a felony offense. The policy giving rise to this rule of law relates to a societal need to more severely punish those who demonstrate a failure to rehabilitate themselves following two separate incidents of intoxicated driving, thereby placing the public in danger. 

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Posted on in Sex crimes

salt lake city sex crime defense lawyerThere is often a social presumption that sexual activity between spouses is always consensual. However, there is no such legal presumption. In Utah, even if you are married to the alleged victim, you could still be charged with rape if you use force or coercion to get your spouse to submit to sex. The only time that marriage provides any protection against a rape charge is if you are charged with statutory rape, but were married to the underage alleged victim. However, that exemption still only applies if your minor spouse actually consented. In all other cases, you could be convicted of rape in Utah for having nonconsensual sex with your spouse. If you are facing charges for the rape of your spouse, it is important to seek out high-quality legal representation at once. 

The History of Marital Rape

Traditionally, marriage provided a complete defense to rape accusations. In the past, spouses could not be punished for having sex with each other, even if that sex was non-consensual. Many people believe that the marital exception to rape laws disproportionately affected women, who were the most common victims of spousal rape. These laws only began changing in the relatively recent past, and on a state-by-state basis. Today, marital rape laws can still vary between states, but in Utah, marital rape is rape. 

Understanding Marital Rape 

Marital rape simply means having sex with your spouse without their consent. This may include having sex under circumstances like: 

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Salt Lake City Sex Offense LawyerWhile all sex offenses are extremely serious crimes, some are more severely punished than others. In Utah, people who are convicted of a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender are stratified into different levels based on the seriousness of their crime and risk of reoffending. Registration in Utah can last ten years or a lifetime. No matter the designation, sex offenders face a number of difficulties in daily life. They may struggle with simple needs like finding housing and work. There is a heavy stigma attached to any type of sex offense. If you are facing charges of a sexual nature, it is important that you find a highly skilled attorney like those at Collins Rupp, P.C. to give you the best odds of beating the charge. 

Crimes That Lead to Ten-Year Sex Offender Registration

In Utah, a number of crimes can land you on the Sex Offenders Registry for ten years. These offenders are those who have committed less serious sex crimes and are considered low-risk for reoffending. They must remain registered as a sex offender for ten years. Crimes that can lead to this designation include: 

  • Voyeurism

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Salt Lake City Drug Crime Defense LawyerThere are a number of reasons that Utah drivers could have their licenses suspended. Drunk driving charges will do it. Too many traffic tickets could also eventually lead to a suspension. Usually, the reasons for a license suspension have something to do with, well, driving. However, in Utah, a drug-related conviction could cause you to lose your driver’s license for up to six months even if you were nowhere near your car, let alone driving. There are steps an attorney can take that could help you avoid having your license suspended if you have been accused of a drug crime. If keeping your license is a high priority for you, then our lawyers can factor this into our defense strategy. 

Utah Suspends Drivers Licenses After Most Drug Convictions

Generally, a six-month license suspension is almost automatic after a conviction for certain drug crimes, including drug possession or possession of paraphernalia. This happens even if the drug crime had nothing to do with driving. There is a general presumption that people who are willing to break the law to use an intoxicating substance very likely have a substance abuse problem - and may be likely to drive while intoxicated. 

This reasoning is not altogether unreasonable–people who are struggling with addiction often use their substance of choice around the clock. If you have a substance abuse problem, it is important that you are honest about it with your attorney. An arrest is a very common wake-up call, and getting you into treatment may be very helpful in more ways than one.

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Salt Lake City Criminal Defense LawyerBeing a sex offender can have a permanent impact on your life. Depending on which particular sex crime you are convicted of, you may have to register for a few years or for life. Sex offenders must often live with a number of rules and restrictions that other convicts do not. Not all sex offenders have to follow all possible restrictions that can be imposed - but you will be subject to some of them. As a sex offender, you will also be subject to closer court supervision if you are not sent to prison, or after you are released from incarceration. This can make reintegrating into society very difficult. The challenges sex offenders face are unenviable. If you have been charged with a sex crime, it is very important to work with an attorney who has sex crime experience in order to mitigate the impact your charge may have on the rest of your life. 

Rules That Sex Offenders May Have to Follow

One of the biggest concerns that sex offenders have is how public the list is. Anyone can look up who is on the registry at any point. It is easy to search based on location. It will turn up on every background check. In addition, you may also have to live with restrictions like:

  • Living away from children - Utah establishes “protected zones” surrounding places where children may congregate, such as schools, parks, public pools, and daycares. Sex offenders may not reside in these protected zones. This can make it even more difficult to find a place to live. 

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Salt Lake City Criminal Defense AttorneyStatutory rape laws can be confusing. They can vary wildly from state to state. In Utah, statutory rape means having consensual sexual contact with a minor who was too young to consent to sexual contact with the defendant, if the defendant knew or reasonably should have known of the age difference. The exact sex offense charged will depend largely on the ages of the alleged victim and the accused offender. Unlawful Sexual Activity With a Minor, Sexual Abuse of a Minor, and Unlawful Sexual Contact With a 16 or 17-Year-Old are three different charges that can all fall under the umbrella of “statutory rape.” Even if the sexual contact was consensual, minors may not be able to provide meaningful legal consent due to their age. If convicted, you could face years in prison and a lifetime as a sex offender. You will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight your statutory rape charges. 

Strategies for Defending a Statutory Rape Case

In some states, there are very few possible defenses to statutory rape. In Utah, there are more defenses available. If you are facing statutory rape charges, your lawyer may be able to protect you using defenses like:

  • Close in age - Utah has “Romeo and Juliet laws” that protect young couples who are close in age. It is common for a relationship that began when both parties were in high school to continue after one part has turned 18 years old. If you were within a few years of the alleged victim’s age, you may not have done anything illegal. 

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salt lake city criminal defense lawyerThere are multiple situations where a person may face criminal charges. All charges should be taken seriously, since a conviction can result in penalties such as fines, time in prison, periods of probation or home confinement, and other consequences. However, some offenses, such as sex crimes, are more serious than others, and they can not only lead to criminal consequences, but multiple other areas of a person’s life may be affected, including their personal reputation and their ability to obtain a job or find a place to live. Sexual assault or rape is one of the most commonly prosecuted sexual offenses, and those who have been accused of these crimes will need to understand the nature of the alleged offense and their options for defending against these charges.

Charges and Penalties for Rape in Utah

The Utah Criminal Code defines rape as engaging in sexual intercourse with a person without receiving consent. This offense may involve any acts of sexual penetration. Rape is a first-degree felony, and at the lowest level, it carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. If a person allegedly caused a serious bodily injury to the victim, or if they were under 18 years old at the time of the offense and had previously been convicted of sexual assault or sexual abuse, the minimum sentence is 15 years. If a person over the age of 18 had previously been convicted of a “grievous” sexual offense, they may face a sentence of life in prison without parole.

When defending against accusations of sexual assault, the issue of consent is one of the most important concerns to address. The Utah Criminal Code details multiple circumstances in which an act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact may be without consent, including:

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salt lake city DUI lawyerMost people understand the dangers of drunk driving, and they know that operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law. However, violations of the law do occur, and whether this happens because a person made a mistake, because they struggle with substance abuse, or for other reasons, being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can put them in a difficult situation. For those who have never previously faced accusations or charges of DUI, understanding what to expect can be difficult, and they may be unsure about the potential consequences they may face. Fortunately, by working with a criminal defense lawyer, they can determine their best options for dealing with this situation.

First-Time DUI Charges

The first thing to understand about DUI cases in Utah is that the state has a lower legal limit for drunk driving than most of the rest of the United States. Whereas drivers in other states are allowed to drive as long as their blood alcohol content (BAC) is below .08 percent, drivers in Utah may face DUI charges if they have a BAC of .05 percent or more. In fact, DUI charges may even apply if a person’s BAC is below the legal limit, since Utah law states that a person is prohibited from being in physical control of a vehicle in any situations where alcohol, drugs, or combinations of multiple substances have made them incapable of operating a vehicle safely.

A first-time DUI charge is usually considered to be a Class B misdemeanor, although charges may be increased to a Class A misdemeanor if a driver had a passenger in their vehicle who was under the age of 16, if the driver was over the age of 21 and had a passenger under the age of 18, or if the person was driving on the wrong side of the road.

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bountiful criminal defense lawyerMarijuana use is common throughout the United States, and this drug is generally considered to be less harmful than many other types of controlled substances. In fact, marijuana has been found to have multiple types of benefits for certain people, and it may be used to treat a number of medical conditions. Several states have taken action to relax their laws surrounding the possession, use, and sale of marijuana, and some have legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical use. Unfortunately, those who are unaware of how the laws may vary from state to state may face criminal consequences for the possession of this drug. By understanding the laws surrounding marijuana in Utah, residents can be sure they will be able to address potential drug charges correctly.

Criminal Charges for Marijuana Possession in Utah

While recreational marijuana has been legalized in several nearby states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, California, and Oregon, it remains illegal in Utah. However, Utah does allow for the possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes. People with qualifying medical conditions, including cancer, HIV, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder, may apply for a medical cannabis card. Those who are approved to use medical marijuana may possess up to 113 grams of unprocessed marijuana or up to 20 grams of THC.

Outside of medical use, the possession and distribution of marijuana are illegal in Utah. Marijuana is considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance. In most cases, possession of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor for a first or second offense, and a person may face a prison sentence of up to 364 days and/or a $2,500 fine. A third conviction within seven years is a third degree felony, and a person may face a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a $5,000 fine. Possession of 100 pounds of marijuana or more is a second degree felony, which may result in between one and 15 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

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