The Fine Line Between Self Defense and Violent Crimes in Utah | Criminal Lawyer
criminal defense attorney Catherine Cleveland has successfully represented many men and women accused of various violent crimes.
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The Fine Line Between Self Defense and Violent Crimes in Utah


Salt Lake City Criminal Law Blog

The Fine Line Between Self Defense and Violent Crimes in Utah

It’s not always easy to accept. But you don’t have to live in a bad neighborhood to become the victim of a violent crime. Whether it is owning a gun or taking self-defense classes, countless people across Utah have taken the initiative to protect themselves against attackers. However, there can often be a fine line between self-defense and committing a violent crime. One of the most famous examples was the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Although a jury found George Zimmerman innocent of murder due to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, there are many who believe he crossed that delicate line. But when it self-defense justified?

Knowing The Law

Utah’s code 76-2-402 gives citizens the right to use force if they feel the reasonable need to defend themselves an attacker or someone using unlawful force. But there are some grey areas. For example, a person can only use deadly force if they have reasonable suspicion they are preventing serious bodily harm or a death to themselves or others. The use of deadly force must be a result of any unlawful physical action by the attack to commit a felony.

Utah’s Sex Offender Prison Population Explodes

There is a growing trend in Utah’s prisons. Many of the state’s correctional facilities are filling up at an alarming rate with sex offenders. Consider this alarming statistic. According to a study conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, convicted sex offenders fill up 42 percent more prison beds than a decade ago. Even more troubling is the trend does not seem to be slowing down. It has gotten to the point where nearly one-third of the state’s prison population is now made up of those who have convicted sex crimes–the largest group of offenders in Utah’s prison system. It brings up some serious issues. Why is there a boom of convicted sex offenders? What can be done?

Utah’s Tougher Sex Crime Laws

Utah has some of toughest sex crime laws in the nation. Five years ago, state lawmakers passed a series of new sex crime legislation requiring convicted criminals to serve at least 25 years to life for child rape along with sex crimes committed against children. The new laws have already made a huge impact. The two most common types of offenses committed by convicted sex offenders are sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse of a child. To put it into perspective, these types of convictions have increased by 21 percent and 87 percent respectively. Criminal experts do not expect this trend to end anytime soon. It is getting to point where certain prisons will be designed specifically for only convicted sex offenders and those who have committed violent crimes.

West Valley City Rated The Third Most Dangerous Place to Live in Utah

When it comes to violent crime statistics in Utah, it is important to place these numbers in proper perspective. Although violent crime is one of the biggest problems facing many states, Utah ranks relatively low nationally. However, the Beehive State does have its share of problems. Recently, a website known as ranked the most dangerous places to live in Utah. Based on violent crime rates, West Valley City ranked third in the entire with 4.47 violent crime cases per 1,000 resident, ranking only behind South Salt Lake City and Salt Lake City. Conclusion: the city does rank very high for violent crime in Utah, but low for the remainder of the country.

Solutions for Violent Crime in West Valley City

When ranking dangerous cities in Utah, it is also important to understand West Valley City is the second largest city in the state. Logically, crime numbers will be larger than most towns. To help keep crime numbers down, the city’s police department has been ahead of the curve when it comes to the use of technology. Back in 2013, the West Valley City Police Department introduced an app called RAIDS Online created by Bair Analytics Inc. The app is essentially a city crime map designed to inform users what crimes have been committed in their area. It also allows police to inform the public about crimes in progress.

The Challenges of Defending an Identity Thief

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Utah. As technology continues to advance, more people are becoming victims. Whether it is someone using your credit card information from a skimmer or another person gaining to your email password, identity thieves can ruin the lives of their victims in unlimited ways. But there is another overlooked problem. What about people who are wrongly accused of identity theft? Unfortunately, it is also becoming a far too frequent problem. While seeking representation from an experienced and knowledgeable Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney is the first step to resolving the problem, there are many more challenges ahead.

The Consequences of Identity Theft Crimes

Just about everyone in Utah has access to a digital device. Personal computers, smartphones, tablets, and notebooks are as common as cups of coffee at a local Starbucks. But there are many hidden dangers for anyone who goes online. At any given time, an identity thief can easily steal all of your most vital personal information including:

The Rise of Juvenile Sexortation Cases in Utah

Smartphones have forever changed the way we live our lives. Between social media and a multitude of apps, there are unlimited options to connect with friends, family, and people all over the world at your fingertips. But these devices are not just used by adults. Countless children from preteens all the way through high school students use smartphones to send text messages, engage in social media or play games. With proper parental supervision, most kids use their phones and digital devices responsibly. Unfortunately, regardless of how responsible your child is on their phone, more young people throughout Utah are falling victim to sexortation-one of the most devious types of sex crimes committed against children.

What is Sexortation?

Sexortation is a form of online blackmail typically targeting teens or preteens. Perpetrators are often adults posing as kids. Many young people are tricked into thinking they are texting someone their own age. But in reality, they may be communicating with a 40 or 50-year-old adult. Many of these adults use social media and apps geared to towards children to make sexually explicit requests. For example, once they gain the trust of a child, the perpetrator will often ask their potential victim to send a nude photo of themselves. Once the adult gains access to the photo, they will use it to extort teens. Because many victims are often embarrassed or feel great shame, they don’t discuss these issues with their parents and problem continues to get worse.

How Your Criminal Records May Keep You From Working

Finding a job these days is a difficult task, and even more so if you have criminal records. Remember that most employers require a criminal background before hiring a new candidate. If you are currently looking for employment but don’t know your rights under these circumstances, hiring a Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney can be very helpful as you may be able to get your criminal records expunged and avoid this shameful scenario.

Depending on the class of your offense you are able to either reduce or expunge your criminal records in Utah and put your past behind you. In some cases, you can do both. All expunge cases are different. This is why the assistance of a qualified legal advocate is often essential. However, some offenses may not be eligible for expungement. Juveniles with expunged records are lucky as these cases are considered like they never occurred. This allows young people make an easy transition into adulthood and pursue both educational and employment opportunities without the detrimental effects of criminal records.

Utah Gun Laws Aren’t That Bad

Utah allows visitors as well as locals to carry guns. However, there are some complex laws in the state you may need to be familiar with otherwise you may end up in jail. A Salt Lake city gun possession attorney can explain in more details how these laws may benefit your case.

Who can own a gun in Utah?

Anybody can own a gun in Utah as long as you are a citizen or legal alien. Also, you should not be required to have a permit or license to carry your guns. But there are some exceptions. You will be disqualified if you are a convicted felon, drug user, mentally unstable individual, were discharged from the armed forces, or if you intent to assault somebody.

Possession of Meth Can Mean Prison For Life

Methamphetamine, popularly known as meth, spice, crystal, and other street names, can have severe legal consequences for the accused as it violates both state and federal laws. It is an extremely dangerous drug and its possession, whether large or small, can lead to serious charges and severe penalties if the accused is found guilty. Chemicals used to produce the drug are also considered when investigating your case.

If you have been charged for possession of meth, it is best you seek the legal advice of an experienced Salt Lake City meth possession attorney.

Accused of issuing a bad check

Check fraud is a crime that involves the use of fraudulent checks to access funds that are not available in your account. Many people across our nation are facing these unique legal challenges. Whether you have been accused of a felony or misdemeanor, it is crucial you hire a Salt Lake City check fraud attorney to protect your interests. Depending on the circumstances that led to the alleged crime, you may be able to prove your innocence and have the charges against you dropped.

Misdemeanor or felony

Banks generally press charges against individuals committing check fraud. Many check fraud cases involve a lot of money, therefore, they may be considered felonies. Even first-time offenders without criminal history can sometimes receive harsh sentences. This is a punishable offense that requires the legal expertise of a Salt Lake City check fraud attorney. Passing a few bad checks may not constitute a felony but with time it may easily escalate to that level.

How to Legally Handle a High School Hangover

After attending one of those busted underage drinking parties, some teens may get away with it while others may hear the not so friendly sound of police sirens. What’s the worst that could happen? You might think. Ask your Salt Lake City underage drinking attorney before the merrymaking ends badly.

The problem with social media

While it is great being social, some websites allow teens to spread the word about a house party faster. Also, some films promote the wrong concept of a hangover, as they tend to show only the fun aspects of it. Remember that virtual peer pressure is real and it can make you kids do things they are not accustomed to do. Keep your eyes and ears open and check your kids whereabouts.

Contact a Salt Lake City Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to seek representation from an experienced Salt Lake City defense attorney with an extensive track record for protecting the rights of each client. To learn more, call my law office for a free initial consultation. I am available by phone at 801-783-3488 or toll free at 877-753-1247.

Catherine Cleveland, P.C.
5 S. 500 W., Suite 501
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Toll Free: 877-753-1247

Phone: 801-783-3488

Fax: 801-936-0890

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