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Utah Criminal Defense Law Blog

Can a person be not guilty of illegal drug possession even though he’s found with illegal drugs?

People often mistakenly think they are automatically guilty of possession of cocaine, marijuana, or another drug, simply because they are "found with them." However, such is not always the case. So, before you plead guilty for a scenario such as this, call Greg Smith and associates now at 801-651-1512, so you can find out if the State can even convict you (the case against you may have to be dismissed). The State must prove that you intended to use the drugs as your own.

For example, a mother may find drugs in a child’s room, and pick them up. She clearly has them in her hands, but is she innocent? Let’s assume he has no intent to dominate and control them for their illegal purpose. Cops seize drugs off people every day, yet they don’t get charged with illegal drug possession, why? This is a difficult concept, but the Utah Supreme Court has done a great job breaking this down in State v. Fox, 709 P.2d 316.

Tags: drug possession, constructive possession

An altercation in a doorway becomes first degree felony burglary assault

Marcy, the wife of a landlord, calls up Tony, one of their tenants, to remind Tony his rent is past due. Tony is fed up with Marcy’s phone calls, and thinks he should not have to pay rent at all because the apartment’s heating has not been working properly.

Tony and Marcy raise their voices at each other, and finally, Tony calls Marcy a "stuck up bitch" that lives in an "ivory tower." He also tells her she can "drop dead," and he’s not going to pay her any "damned rent" until the f***ing heater is fixed. He also tells her that she’s married to a slumlord.

Tags: assault, criminal law, burglary

Protect your reputation, defend against rape charges

Few charges are as devastating to a person's reputation as charges for sex crimes. People are often quick to side with an alleged victim and punish a person before that person has even been convicted. Not only do rape and sexual assault charges have strict sentences, they can result in years and years of police scrutiny if a person is placed on the sex offender registry. Registration can limit a person's employment, housing and social opportunities.

Our firm understands these devastating effects of these punishments. We also know just how hard it can be for a person to change his or her reputation once they have been convicted as a sex offender. Therefore, it is important to potentially avoid conviction altogether through the use of an aggressive criminal defense.

Continue reading Protect your reputation, defend against rape charges

Tags: Rape, Sexual Assault

Utah County man accused of raping 15-year-old

Romantic relationships can be complicated and there can be a lot of he said-she said when things go wrong. Sometimes accusations of criminal activity can result from private interactions. However, being in a relationship does not shelter people from criminal consequences should people cross a line.

Recently, a 26-year-old man from Utah County was arrested after a 15-year-old girl claims she was raped. According to police, the girl reported at the end of November that she had been raped by the man. The alleged attack took place weeks before at the man's home.

Tags: Rape, Sexual Assault

What is drug trafficking?

In a recent blog post, this blog discussed the Controlled Substances Act. In that post, we explained that the federal government had broken down the types of drugs into schedules which dictated the seriousness of drug possession charges. Utah residents should know that these schedules are not the only factor that goes into determining the type of drug charges that a person can face. The amount of drugs that people are found with and their intent can also play a role in whether people face charges for drug possession or drug trafficking charges.

Many may wonder -- what exactly is drug trafficking? Drug trafficking occurs when people sell or distribute controlled substances. These drug crimes occur when people have large quantities of the illegal drugs listed in the Controlled Substances Act. In these cases, people often intend to distribute the drugs they have in their possession instead of just having them for their own personal use.

Continue reading What is drug trafficking?

Tags: Drug Crimes, Drug Possession, Drug Trafficking

The Controlled Substances Act and drug charges

Many Utah residents likely understand that it is illegal to use certain types of substances. The use of illegal drugs, for example, is not permitted under any circumstances. Prescription drug use is also highly regulated and can lead to criminal charges for drug crimes when abused. These rules are likely in place because of a federal regulation called the Controlled Substances Act.

The Controlled Substances Act was created in 1970 as a way to consolidate a series of complicated drug laws in the United States. Prior to this law, more than 200 laws were in effect that made it difficult for states' and law enforcement officials to enforce drug laws.

Continue reading The Controlled Substances Act and drug charges

Tags: Drug Crimes

Focus on DUI charges with our help

When people think of driving under the influence, they likely think about driving after having too much alcohol to drink. The image of an irresponsible adult leaving a bar or party may come to mind. However, DUIs are often more complicated than that. Sometimes, people have taken prescription medication and end up facing charges. Or, even some over-the-counter medications can cause issues. Suddenly, these individuals face very serious penalties without even realizing what they have done wrong.

In Utah, if a person is intoxicated it doesn't matter if the person had taken illegal drugs, used alcohol or was taking prescription drugs -- the penalties are the same. This can come as a huge shock to those facing charges for prescription drug use. These people can be good law abiding citizens that never intended to harm anyone or put others at risk.

Continue reading Focus on DUI charges with our help

Tags: DUI, Evidence

Halloween patrols lead to extra DUI charges

For many Halloween is known for costumes and trick-or-treating. However, for law enforcement it is known as a popular time to catch people driving under the influence. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more people are killed by drunk drivers on Halloween than on New Year's Eve. In fact, three times as many fatal accidents occur. These number increase, says the NHTSA, when Halloween is on a weekend night -- like it was this year.

Law enforcement officials in Utah are aware of these statistics and recently took to the streets to arrest suspected drunken drivers. According to reports, 160 extra troopers from the Utah Highway Patrol were on the streets on Halloween. These troopers made many arrests and those individuals are now facing drunk driving charges.

Continue reading Halloween patrols lead to extra DUI charges

Tags: DUI

How long is a person on the sex offender registry in Utah?

Those accused of sex crimes in Utah may be worried about the sex offender registry. The sex offender registry requires those convicted of certain sex crimes to register themselves. This registry contains information about the person and the person's criminal history and releases that information to the public.

Additionally, those on the registry have restricted freedom. If you are on Utah's sex offender registry, then you can live, work or socialize. In particular, if you have been convicted of a sex crime against a child, you are not allowed to visit a park or playground that is open to the public, any primary or secondary school, preschools or daycares or public swimming pools. There are also certain requirements about how often you must update information on the registry.

Continue reading How long is a person on the sex offender registry in Utah?

Tags: Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Battery

Factors that contribute to aggravated murder in Utah

People may not realize just how important criminal classifications are. People may think all felonies are treated alike, or that misdemeanors are all the same. However, the specific charges can make a really big difference when it comes to penalties. In Utah, the most serious penalty a person can be sentenced to is the death penalty. The death penalty is an available option for prosecutors to pursue if a person is charged with aggravated murder.

Under section 46-5-202 of the Utah criminal code, a person can be charged with aggravated murder in a number of circumstances. If a death occurs and these other circumstances are present, the person could also face the death penalty. These circumstances include various sexual crimes including rape, forcible sexual abuse, forcible sodomy or object rape. A murder that occurs during the commission of other crimes including arson, robbery, kidnapping or burglary is also considered aggravated murder.

Continue reading Factors that contribute to aggravated murder in Utah

Tags: Homicide, Murder, Rape

Juvenile arrested in Utah murder case

Criminal charges have the potential to change a person's life forever. This is particularly true when the charges are felonies. If the accused is a young person, the affects can be even greater since they have so much of their life ahead of them.

A 17-year-old boy was recently arrested in connection with a murder in Utah. According to reports, the teenager was arrested while at school in another state. Prosecutors claim that he was connected with the death of a 15-year-old girl. The girl's body was found near Draper, Utah in a river in March 2012. She had been badly beaten and died of apparent blunt force trauma to the head.

Continue reading Juvenile arrested in Utah murder case

Tags: Homicide, Murder, Rape

Marijuana possession can be a big deal

Many people don't see marijuana use as all that big of a problem. Many people just consider it to be a harmless recreational drug. However, despite the social acceptance of the drug, it is still illegal under the Utah and federal criminal codes. Therefore, people can face serious penalties for marijuana possession.

In fact, people can face charges for drug possession in a variety of situations. In other words, people don't just have to be caught using the drug to be convicted on these types of drug charges. Police have charged people after finding trace amounts of marijuana in a bag, for example. Or, people can face criminal charges if police find them with a friend's marijuana. In many cases, police aren't looking at intent, just possession. In some cases, police will intentionally bring higher charges -- such as possession with intent to sell -- in order to get people to plead guilty to lesser charges.

Continue reading Marijuana possession can be a big deal

Tags: Drug Possession, Marijuana Possession

Clients with disabilities or impairments
Access to our office is available to clients and their family members at all times. Special equipment and communication devices are available upon request for our clients with visual, hearing, speech and physical impairment. In addition, arrangements can be made for verbal or sign language interpreters if needed to communicate between our attorneys and the client and family. Please notify our law office if any additional accommodations related to your disability or impairment are necessary to make your consultation more comfortable.

I understand that I am contacting a corporation, not an individual, and that if I do business with the law firm, it will be with that corporation, not any individual(s). I understand that Greg Smith and Associates is not the legal name of the law firm, rather, it is "Affordable Legal Advocates, PC." I also understand that whatever may relate to, or arise out of, any communication with the law firm, which results in any type of legal action, such must be brought in the Third District Court of Utah, West Jordan Department, and that this is mandatory not permissive.

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Feedback From Satisfied Clients

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8813 South Redwood Road
West Jordan, UT 84088

Telephone: 801-651-1512
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Richfield, UT 84701

Telephone: 435-633-5918
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Park City, UT 84060

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Tooele, UT 84074

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Greg Smith and Associates, Attorneys & Lawyers, Salt Lake City, UT

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Greg Smith and Associates, Criminal Law Attorneys, located in Salt Lake City (SLC), also represents clients from communities such as Provo, Orem, Ogden, Park City, Sandy, Draper, West Valley City, Tooele, Bountiful, Murray, West Jordan, Taylorsville, Farmington, Alta, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Herriman, Holladay, Midvale, Murray, Riverton, Sandy, South Jordan, South Salt Lake, Taylorsville, West Jordan and West Valley City; and counties including Salt Lake County, Tooele County and Davis County, Utah.

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