Criminal Defense FAQ
Answers from Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorneys
The criminal justice system is a complex and convoluted legal process for both first time and repeat offenders. At Lokken & Putnam, P.C., we have represented clients charged with many types of criminal offenses and helped them protect their rights. Here are answers to a few of the most common criminal defense questions we are asked.
Of course, a website cannot answer every question in full – speaking with an attorney is the best way to get a complete answer.
To schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney, call (801) 829-9783.
Should I speak with law enforcement after an arrest?
After an arrest, even well-intentioned statements to law enforcement may cause complications with your criminal defense. People charged with a crime have the right to remain silent, beyond providing basic identity information. After an arrest, a person should remain respectful and ask to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Legal representation can review the facts of your case, prevent you from making contradictory statements, and make you aware of your rights.
What is an arraignment?
Arraignment is the beginning of the courtroom-based proceedings, wherein a person charged with a crime (the defendant) is brought before a criminal court judge.
The judge will:
- Read a defendant's criminal charges
- Ask if the defendant has an attorney or if they need a court-appointed attorney
- Determine if the bail amount should be altered or whether the defendant should be released on his or her recognizance
- Announce the dates of future hearings and legal proceedings
- Set a sentencing date if the defendant enters a guilty plea
A defendant may also have the chance to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest at their arraignment.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a lower offense than a felony. Utah splits misdemeanor charges into three categories (Class A, Class B, and Class C) which carry varying punishments depending on the charges. The usual punishment for a misdemeanor conviction is up to a year in county jail and up to a $2,500 fine depending on the charges.
A felony is a more serious offense than a misdemeanor and is usually reserved for major crimes. Utah splits felony charges into four categories (capital, first degree, second degree, and third degree), which all carry varying prison terms and potential fines. Depending on the circumstances and the degree of the felony, a conviction can result in a sentence of up to life in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or capital punishment (the death penalty) for some convictions involving aggravating circumstances. In addition to the punishments, a felony conviction may also affect a person's right to vote, possess a firearm, and various other rights depending on the criminal charges.
Can I buy legal marijuana in Colorado or Nevada and bring it to Utah?
Although purchasing marijuana is legal in Colorado and Nevada, bringing the restricted substance across state lines may qualify as drug trafficking. Transporting marijuana into Utah is a serious crime and if you have been arrested, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
What crimes cannot be expunged from a criminal record?
These crimes cannot be expunged in Utah for any reason:
- A capital felony, first-degree felony or violent felony
- An automobile homicide
- A felony DUI
- A registerable sex offense
Will I lose my driver’s license after a DUI arrest?
After a DUI arrest, an arresting officer will confiscate the drivers' license and replace it with a citation that acts as a temporary license for 29 days. A person charged with a DUI then has 10 days to file for an administrative process hearing, which may allow them to get their driver’s license back. The person charged with a DUI or their representation can get their license back if they convince an employee at the Utah Driver's License Division that the officer did not have probable cause for the DUI arrest. This is not a criminal case and will not affect license suspension as the result of a conviction.
Call our law firm at (801) 829-9783 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.
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