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  • Understanding The Role Of Criminal Defense Attorneys In Utah

    January 23, 2017 | Blog Criminal Charges
  • Best Utah Criminal Defense AttorneyWhat many people know about the criminal process comes from legal dramas on television or in the movies. There are many additional steps in the criminal trial process, though.

    Here is what to expect in the felony criminal trial process and what the role of the criminal defense attorney is:

    First appearance

    The defendant is notified of the charges and of his or her rights. He or she does not enter any type of plea.

    Preliminary hearing

    The purpose of this hearing is for the court to determine if there is probable cause to determine that the crime occurred and the defendant committed it.


    The accused will enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, no contest or an Alford plea.

    Pre-trial motion, pre-trial conference and plea bargain

    Both the prosecution and defense can file motions, which will require the judge to issue a ruling. A pre-trial conference is similar to a settlement hearing. A plea bargain may or may not be accepted by the judge.

    Trial by judge or jury selection

    The defense has a right to have a judge rule on the case or to have a jury. If he or she chooses a jury, the selection process takes place.

    Opening statements

    The prosecution makes his or her opening statement to the judge and/or jury.


    The prosecution will present evidence and witnesses. The defense attorney will have a chance to cross-examine the witnesses. The defense will then present evidence and witnesses, with the prosecution cross-examining them.

    Jury instructions

    The judge will give the jury instructions on the laws that must be followed while deliberating and reaching a decision.

    Closing arguments

    The prosecution and the defense attorneys will give their closing arguments to the jury. The prosecution can also give a rebuttal closing argument once the defense attorney is done.

    Jury deliberations

    The jury will deliberate on the case, notifying the judge when they have reached a decision.

    The verdict

    A unanimous verdict is required for a conviction. There are four types of verdicts, not guilty, guilty, guilty and mentally ill or not guilty by reason of insanity.


    If found guilty, the accused will be sentenced between two and 45 days after the conviction.

    If you are facing felony criminal charges, it’s best to secure experienced representation in an effort to mitigate the possible consequences.

    Call The Best  Utah Criminal Defense Attorney Today.

    We understand the criminal court structure and can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire litigation process. To schedule a free consultation with a Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney, call 801-261-6228 or contact us with a brief e-mail message. We offer free initial consultations, and are available for evening and weekend appointments. We also accept major credit cards.