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Salt Lake County criminal defense lawyerAs is true in virtually every state in the United States, sex crimes are among the most severe offenses someone can be arrested for and charged with. This is particularly true when children are involved. When an adult is charged with child-related sex offenses, the police, media, and community often consider the alleged offender guilty of the charges against them before any trial has begun and, thus, before the defense has had a chance to present its case. 

 

Being convicted of a sex crime involving children can quickly decimate one’s life and career. This is why it is imperative to retain experienced counsel if you are ever charged with such a crime to try to avoid the devastation a conviction will wreak on your life. A knowledgeable criminal attorney will work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected while also pursuing a favorable case outcome.  

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Posted on in Sex crimes

Salt Lake County rape defense attorneyIn modern society, there is often a preconceived notion that sexual activity between a married couple is, by definition, consensual. However, you may be surprised that this is not the case. In Utah, regardless of whether you are married to someone, you can still be charged with rape if you engaged in sex through a means of force or coercion. Notably, the only instance when marriage protects against a rape charge is if someone is charged with statutory rape but was married to the underage person in question. Nevertheless, that exception only applies if the underage spouse consented to the sex.

In this blog, we will take a look at specific circumstances that often surround marital rape. It cannot be stressed enough that if you are facing charges of rape against your spouse, it is crucial that you seek out aggressive legal representation to have a chance at avoiding a conviction.

A Brief History of Marital Rape

For many years, marriage acted as a shield against accusations of rape. Spouses could not be charged with raping their spouse, even if the sex was non-consensual. It is only in the recent past that the laws acknowledging marital rape began to change on a state-by-state basis. Even today, marital rape varies on a state-by-state basis. In Utah, however, marital rape is treated as any other rape. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_2028661715-1.jpgIn Utah, cases involving sex crimes are investigated and prosecuted with the utmost seriousness. However, the law involving such crimes can be confusing, especially for charges involving statutory rape. Under Utah law, statutory rape occurs when a defendant engages in consensual sexual contact with a minor who, because they are a minor, is too young to consent to the sexual contact. Moreover, the defendant must know or should have reasonably known the age difference before engaging in the sexual encounter. For this blog, we will delve deeper into what strategies are available for those charged with statutory rape.

At the outset, if you have been charged with statutory rape, understand you are in serious legal jeopardy. Being convicted of such a charge can land someone in prison while also requiring the convicted individual to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life, which can devastate someone’s life and career. Therefore, if you have been charged with statutory rape, do not hesitate to reach out to a knowledgeable sex crimes attorney who will work to ensure your rights are protected and that the most favorable outcome possible is pursued in your case.

Strategies for Defending Against Statutory Rape Charges in Utah

Depending on the state, few strategies are generally available to combat a statutory rape charge. Luckily, in Utah, there are options available for one’s defense. These options include the following: 

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 Salt Lake County white collar criminal defense lawyerYou have probably heard of the term “white-collar crime.” These crimes are generally non-violent, financially motivated, and involve unlawful access or stealing confidential financial information for personal gain. These crimes may include insurance fraud, identity theft, money laundering, embezzlement, or other deceptive business practices. While it is true that these crimes are non-violent offenses, that does not mean they are non-serious offenses. 

Being convicted of a white-collar crime can tremendously affect one’s life and career. Such offenses can carry substantial fines and prison time. If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, understand that you could be at serious risk, even if you think you are not guilty. To protect yourself legally and pursue a favorable outcome in your case, consult with a knowledgeable white-collar crime attorney who can ensure your rights are protected and work with you to try to clear your name of the charges brought forth against you. 

Understanding the Complexity of White-Collar Crime 

Many people incorrectly believe that just because a crime is non-violent, the offense is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, this is not the case. White-collar crimes can be highly complex due to their foundation in financial wrongdoing. As a result, investigations into white-collar crimes can be very long and drawn-out, since state and federal law enforcement often will work to create a “paper trail” of evidence. In other white-collar crime cases, the authorities may already have much evidence before you are even arrested. In any event, if you think you are the subject of a white-collar crime investigation, you must seek legal counsel immediately. 

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Salt Lake County sex crimes defense lawyerBeing charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. This is especially true when being charged with a serious crime, such as a sex crime. Defending yourself against a sex crime charge is no easy task. Due to the severity of such crimes, the police and community may assume you are guilty before any trial has taken place. 

To put yourself in the best possible position for a positive outcome in your case, there are several things you should do when you are charged with a sex crime. At the outset, strongly consider consulting with an experienced sex crime defense attorney. This is the first step you should take to help prevent the prosecution from securing a conviction against you. A sex crime conviction could mean decades of prison time and the lifetime designation of being a sex offender. 

What to Do When Faced with Sex Crime Charges

When faced with serious criminal charges, besides immediately hiring an attorney, there are several other things you should do, including:

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Posted on in Sex crimes

Salt Lake City sex crimes defense lawyer Sex crimes are often perceived as being amongst the most despicable offenses that a person can engage in. They fall into a category where, even if you are acquitted, being associated with such acts can permanently ruin your reputation. Moreover, the potentially graphic and disturbing nature of sex crimes makes it likely that cases involving such acts will likely be highly publicized, putting even more pressure on the state to secure a conviction against you. 

Because of public outcry about sex crimes, and the current social movement towards paying more attention sex crimes and prosecuting them more aggressively, the state's aggressiveness to secure a conviction against you can sometimes infringe on your constitutional rights. That being the case, if you have been accused of or charged with a sex crime, you must get legal counsel as soon as possible. Time is of the essence, and the sooner you meet with an attorney, the sooner your defense can begin getting prepared. 

Types of Sex Crimes in Utah

In Utah, there is a wide range of sex crimes with which someone can be charged. In addition to whatever sentence a convicted person is given, he or she will likely be required to register as a sex offender for life. Sex crimes in Utah include:

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salt lake city sex crime defense lawyerUtah is known for being a very family-friendly state, and its laws against sexually exploiting children in video and photographs are strict and highly punitive. The criminal record of those convicted of possession, creation, or distribution of child pornography can be devastating, requiring lifetime registration as a sex offender and the many unpleasant consequences that come along with that. If you are facing charges of sexually exploiting a child, get help from a Utah sex crimes defense attorney right away. 

What is Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in Utah? 

The law that applies to the sexual exploitation of a minor specifically relates to the production, possession, and distribution of child pornography. A child’s parents can also be charged under this law for knowingly allowing their child to be depicted in pornographic images or videos. Even if the child was not actually involved in sexual conduct, simply depicting the child as if he or she were is against the law. 

An essential part of the law is that the accused did their actions knowingly; it may, under certain circumstances, be possible for an attorney to argue that you are not guilty because you did not knowingly view child pornography. Claiming not to know the age of the victim is not a viable defense. 

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salt lake city criminal defense lawyerAlthough many cases of rape accusations never move past the investigation phase for lack of evidence, there are innocent men in jail today because of alleged rapes they did not commit. If you have been falsely accused of or charged with rape or sexual assault, it is important to take this seriously and to immediately hire a criminal defense attorney with experience in Utah sex crimes charges. The sooner you can take charge of the situation, the better the outcome is likely to be. 

What Should I Do if Someone is Falsely Accusing Me of Rape? 

Despite studies suggesting that false accusations of rape are rare, the truth is that accusations are easy to make and can quickly have a devastating impact on the accused’s life. Utah’s conservative religious environment sometimes results in young women who feel guilty about voluntary sexual behavior trying to excuse it or cover up their culpability by accusing a young man of rape or sexual assault. 

If you have been accused of any kind of sexual assault, it is important to take action right away and to understand that even though evidence may be slim or nonexistent, you may still face serious consequences for the actions of which you are accused. If you find out that you are being investigated for sexual assault, hire an attorney right away who will conduct an independent investigation and present the police or prosecutor with evidence that the allegations are false. 

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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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