What Are The Common Types Of Criminal Cases In Utah?
Besides DUI cases, we practice many drug charges. This can consist of possession of controlled substances whether that is an illegal controlled substance, or if you have a controlled prescription. It can be drug paraphernalia, such as transporting or ingesting controlled substances. It can be distribution of controlled substances, which is when someone is assisting, and distributing the selling of controlled substances, cultivation, and manufacture. There are a lot of drug charges and areas that fit under that particular category of criminal offenses.
Another big one is theft and fraud. Theft can range from retail theft, like stealing from a store. Theft of services from cable TV to natural gas is big in our state; people rig their natural gas meters or power meters sometimes. The funny thing that happens often is taking property from a construction site; we see a lot of that. Fraud is rampant, we see people using any kind of scam, scheme, or gimmick to actually force people into giving them money or possessions, and not returning the items. Any theft or fraud related charge is considered criminal.
We see a lot of domestic violence related charges. That can be anything from domestic violence assault to domestic violence criminal mischief. That is usually between family members, and or spouses. This is where these people can get in to an argument and attempt to hurt each other, or destroy marital property. Those are some of the big ones, but we handle all types of criminal cases whether it is in the Utah state justice court, which are typically city courts, or the Utah district courts. We even practice in the Federal district courts, whatever it is, and I typically will handle it, and take care of it with a good outcome.
What Are The Top Misconceptions About Being Arrested For A Crime?
The most common misconceptions I see are people thinking that after an arrest that their life is over, they feel like they are without hope. They think that they are presumed guilty until they are proven innocent, but it is actually the other way around. The state has the burden to prove that they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Some people think that just because they have been arrested that they are guilty. They should accept what is going to happen to them, and they can move on from this. Some people think there is nothing that can be done on their behalf because they made a mistake, they said too much to the police, or did not assert their rights.
Another misconception is that they act like there is nothing that can be done for them, when in fact it is just the opposite. They are presumed innocent. There are lots of legal defenses, or legal reasons to have their case thrown out of court. Even the charge can be severely reduced down in worst-case scenarios.
What Are The Common Mistakes Committed In A Criminal Case?
Many times people will be approached by law enforcement personal, and they think that they have to speak to every one of them, which is a huge mistake. In reality, they do not. When a police officer or an investigator approaches someone, the first thing that you should ask him or her is, “Am I being detained?” this way they know whether they can simply walk away from the officer, or if they are detained. This is when their constitutional rights will come into play. At that point, there are a couple of issues that people should know and understand. That is the right to remain silent. The Fifth Amendment right to remain silent means they do not have to answer any questions that law enforcement asks of them.
The reason why it is important not talk to the officers is because they will try to deceive you. They will try to trick a person, and coerce them into something that might not have happened, and it might not have happened the way that the officers wanted them to believe it happened. People are led down this path because all of a sudden what really happened has now changed to what makes them guilty of that offense. That is one of the ways that I see people jeopardize their cases both before, and after an arrest. They do not exercise their constitutional right to remain silent. I advise people not to do that. The first thing I always tell my clients is to clarify what their legal status is. Are they being detained or are they free to leave?
Another thing I noticed, this happens with many of these criminal charges, which is the right to counsel. They have the right to have an attorney present during any questioning. Many times people will invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. The officer might back off for maybe an hour or forty-five minutes after they have been arrested, and things have calmed down a bit. They are going to drive the suspect to jail and the officer might ask a couple of little questions, and try to build some rapport with the suspect. Then they may ask them another question about the alleged offense or alleged crime, and this is when the client will start talking, and end up incriminating himself or herself.
However, if they invoke their right to counsel along with their right to remain silent, then in my opinion, the officer absolutely must stop asking questions. You may exercise your right to remain silent, and then half an hour later you may want to start talking or holding a conversation with the officer. He can then try to trick you into answering his questions. Nevertheless, if you exercise your right to counsel, the officer absolutely should not ask any questions whatsoever once that has been invoked. I advise my clients if they have been detained to immediately say, “I want to exercise my right to remain silent, and I want an attorney present before I say or do anything else.
About fifty percent of the time, the cops will put their handcuffs on you, and take you to jail, or they will have to save themselves. Some officers will just turn, walk away, and say, “Have a nice day. We will finish our investigations through other means.” That is how I mainly see people incriminating themselves, and if they are exercising their constitutional rights, many times they are afraid to invoke their rights, because they think they are going to upset the officer, and the officer is going to be mean to them, and arrest them anyway. Sometimes they feel if they talk, and they do not exercise their constitutional rights, maybe they will let them go.
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