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Is It a Criminal Offense to Kiss a Minor in Utah?

 Posted on July 09, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerA flurry of new laws in Utah has many questioning whether criminal offenders are actually being held accountable or whether these new laws are adding to mass incarceration and prison overcrowding. These new bills include longer sentences for drunk drivers and the criminalization of "lewd" actions in public places. Many of the bills enhance existing penalties and fines, expand the definition of a current crime, and create entirely new criminal offenses.

Opponents of the bills believe these new laws are nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to exaggerated concerns regarding crime and criminal offenses. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative in 2015 attempted to reduce penalties for nonviolent offenses. Part of the Initiative’s reasoning was that Utah’s jails would soon overflow if the state did not shift its focus to treatment and rehabilitation.   

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Plea Bargains in Sex Crimes Cases

 Posted on June 20, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerBeing charged with a sex crime can be a distressing experience. Even when you know you are innocent and misunderstood, the legal authorities are convinced you are a criminal. When this happens, you need to ask yourself whether you would rather fight the charges and hope to be found innocent or enter into a plea bargain. Potential penalties for sex crime charges can be quite severe, so this is never an easy decision to make. If you are being accused of sex crimes, speak with an experienced David County, UT criminal defense lawyer to understand your options.

How Can You Decide?

The reasons why someone might choose to take a plea deal instead of pleading innocent in court vary, but some common reasons include:

  • Financial cost: Trials can be very expensive, and plea deals tend to be much less costly.
  • Lesser penalties: Plea bargains typically result in less severe charges and penalties. It is a bit of a gamble, but your options tend to be the following: go to court where you can be found innocent or guilty with charges and a sentence, or accept a plea deal where you cannot be found innocent but any charges and sentences will be much less severe. If the prosecution has a strong case against you, this can add to your motivation to accept a plea deal.

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Legal Steps If You Are Accused of Committing a Sex Crime

 Posted on June 10, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerAccusations of sex crimes are taken extremely seriously in the state of Utah. The penalties you might face could make all the difference between living your life or suffering through it. Depending on the specifics of what you are accused of, there are several possibilities for how you might be convicted. Whether this is the first time you are accused or it has happened before, accusations of sexual crimes can have an enormous negative impact on your future and need to be dealt with appropriately. This article recommends three steps to take as soon as you are accused of committing sex crimes. If you are concerned you might be facing such accusations, speak with a trusted Salt Lake City, UT criminal defense lawyer who can explain your options and defend your rights.

Step 1: Have Zero Contact With Your Accuser

When an innocent person is told that someone has accused them of committing a sexual crime, they might think the best course of action would be to speak to the accuser to get to the bottom of it all. You need to avoid doing this at all costs. If you try to speak to your accuser, it might be interpreted by other people as an attempt to intimidate them, which could harm you in court. Additionally, the accusations might mean that you are legally banned from trying to communicate with them, and failure to comply with such prohibitions could end up making matters worse for you. Even if your accuser tries to contact you, even to apologize for falsely accusing you, make sure you have no contact with them at all.

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Legal Options When Facing False Sex Crimes Accusations

 Posted on May 24, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerSometimes, people falsely accuse others of committing crimes in an attempt to make them suffer. However, that is not a great way to seek revenge on anyone because false accusations are a serious offense. If someone gets caught misleading the authorities, they can face severe consequences. It is unfortunately not uncommon for people to falsely accuse others of sex crimes. This is unconscionable because a wrongly accused innocent person could face life-changing and damning consequences due to a lie. The good news is, if you are innocent and can prove it, your name will be cleared, and your accuser will be held accountable. If this happens to you, one of the first things you should do is speak with an aggressive Utah sex crimes defense attorney who can build a strong defense and make sure you do not suffer unnecessarily because of someone else’s irresponsible false accusations.

Why Would Anyone Make a False Accusation of a Sex Crime?

The state of Utah takes accusations of sex crimes very seriously. Accused parties are, of course, considered innocent until proven guilty, but even a baseless accusation without any legal proceedings or evidence to determine its accuracy can ang over someone’s head and affect their life as if they were already convicted.

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7 Aggravating Factors in Utah Sex Crime Charges

 Posted on May 08, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerThe state of Utah takes sex crimes very seriously. While any accusation of sex crimes can always have harsh consequences, there are aggravating factors that can present you with worse outcomes during the criminal process. This article will explore some of the aggravating factors that might make you liable for harsher penalties and sentences. If you are accused of a sex crime, make sure to hire a skilled Salt Lake City, UT criminal defense lawyer who can fight aggressively for your rights and guide you through the process.

What Factors Can Aggravate a Charge of Sex Crimes?

If you are charged with a sex crime, it is important to understand what is behind the specific charges you face. There are different types of charges and different levels of every charge, and these differences affect the type of punishment you might face if you are convicted. The following are some aggravating factors that can make your charges more severe:

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Underage DUI Charges in Utah

 Posted on April 25, 2024 in DUI

Salt Lake County, UT underage DUI defense lawyerBeing convicted of driving under the influence at any age is a serious offense, especially if you are underage. Utah, along with the rest of the United States, has a zero-tolerance law for drivers under the age of 21.

An underage DUI charge should not be taken lightly, and if found guilty, you will likely face criminal and administrative sanctions. Penalties may include license suspension, driving restrictions, incarceration, fines, and even having your vehicle seized.

A DUI charge can be overwhelming. Thankfully, our Salt Lake City DUI defense attorneys are ready to provide you with effective representation when you need it most.

Zero Tolerance Law

A driver younger than 21 is considered to be “alcohol restricted,” meaning that it is illegal for an underage motorist to drive after consuming a drop of alcohol. Utah and all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have a zero-tolerance policy regarding underage drinking. An underage driver who is found operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% (the lowest detectable level) can be charged with a DUI.

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Is it Illegal for Minors to “Sext” in Utah?

 Posted on April 04, 2024 in Sex crimes

Salt Lake City, UT sex crimes defense lawyerThe act of sending sexual texts is referred to as “sexting.” Sexting can include sexual photos, videos, and messages, which are usually sent between cell phones. While the act may seem harmless, it can be dangerous when a minor engages in such activity.

Most teenagers do not understand the ramifications of sending someone a nude picture of themselves. While a teenager may “sext” to flirt with another person, state law punishes offenders for such actions, including minors. 

If your child has engaged in “sexting,” our Salt Lake City sex crimes attorneys would like to discuss the legal implications and defenses that may be available.

Utah Law Against “Sexting”

While sexting between two adults is not illegal, when juveniles send each other nude pictures, it can fall under the category of child pornography. Under Utah Code §76-10-1206, an individual is guilty of child pornography if dealing or offering to distribute materials that are deemed harmful to a child. Texting explicit messages or sending erotic photos and videos could also count. 

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Challenging Forensic Evidence in Utah Sex Crime Cases

 Posted on March 28, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerForensic evidence is classified as criminal evidence that is obtained through scientific means. In sex crime cases, eyewitness testimony may not be available, causing the prosecution to rely heavily on forensic evidence. In recent years, advancements in collecting forensic evidence have allowed crime scene investigators to draw further conclusions from the data retrieved. 

While forensic evidence does offer insight into the circumstances regarding a sex crime, it does come with its own challenges. If you are under investigation for a sex crime, do not hesitate to reach out to our Salt Lake City sex crimes attorneys.

Forensic Evidence Examples

Locard’s Exchange Principle states that every time someone enters a physical space, something is added, and something is taken away. We fail to realize that when we visit a place, we leave a trace of ourselves behind. 

Common examples of forensic evidence include:

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Steps in a Utah Criminal Sex Crime Trial

 Posted on March 07, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerIf you are facing sex crime allegations, you may experience a tedious court process. Starting from your first court appearance through a pretrial conference, the various hearings are an attempt to settle your case before trial. The process will look slightly different depending on whether you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor.

Our Salt Lake City sex crimes attorneys are here to discuss the steps in a criminal sex crime trial so you and your loved ones know what to expect.

First Appearance

To understand the trial process for sex crimes, you must be familiar with the criminal court process in Utah. At your first court appearance, a judge will read your charges and apprise you of your right to an attorney. If you are charged with a felony, you will enter a plea. The date for a preliminary hearing will also be scheduled at this time.

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Are All Sex Crimes Felonies in Utah?

 Posted on February 28, 2024 in Sex crimes

UT defense lawyerSex crimes encompass a wide range of acts. If you receive a sex crime conviction in Utah, you will risk spending time in jail, paying steep penalties, and being publicly listed as a sex offender. A sex offense can ruin your reputation, destroy your professional goals, and even compromise personal relationships.

If you are facing allegations of a sex crime, you need a Salt Lake City sex crimes attorney to defend your interests.

Felony versus Misdemeanor

The main difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the amount of jail time. A felony carries at least one year in prison, with a misdemeanor having a maximum sentence of one year.

Utah Sex Crimes and Penalties

Below, we provide an overview of common sex crimes in Utah and the potential penalties for each.

Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor

A person has committed sexual abuse of a minor if the offender inappropriately touches a minor that is four years or younger.

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