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Utah Man Loses Rights to Attorney

 

In a shocking landmark decision, the Utah Supreme Court has decided to strip a man of his right to counsel on Appeal. Curtis Allgier, a man who accepted a plea in the killing of a Utah State Corrections officer while serving time for the parole violation of possession of a firearm, is currently in the process of appealing said plea agreement. However, Allgier is now having to face his appeal without an attorney present. For what has been described as “threatening behavior” the Utah Supreme Court has decided that this situation creates special circumstances that calls for the forfeiture of Allgier’s right to counsel. The threatening behavior alluded to are statements made in Allgier’s attempts to make to remove his attorney by filing a bar complaint. In said complaint Allgier was quoted stating, “trying to be nice, but [would] resort to other means of removal if [the attorney thought] he could sell [Mr. Allgier] out. . . . he don’t want to learn how much I don’t give a damn.” Read More→

Brigham Young University Law Lecture Series

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the Brigham Young University Law Lecture Series.  Of all the speaking engagements I do each year, this is my favorite.  Essentially, prelaw students get to hear from attorneys from all different types of practices and they have an opportunity to learn about our day-to-day lives, our salaries and the costs and benefits of our particular career.  This year, the students were super engaging.  I spoke for about 15 minutes and then fielded questions for about the next 40 minutes.  So, what were some of their questions?

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Utah Police Shootings

In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the lack of an indictment for Police Officer Darren Wilson, have caused many in the country to question the actions of police officers and their use, or in some cases overuse of deadly force. Nowhere is this concern more prevalent than in Utah. In the past five years Police Officers have lead to more deaths than Gang members, drug dealers, or child abusers. Read More→

Happy and Safe New Year’s Eve

Wishing you a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

 

During the New Year’s Eve holiday the Utah Highway Patrol and other local police agencies have a heightened presence, including DUI checkpoints throughout the state.    Read More→

Possession of Controlled Substances in Utah

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency conducted a surprise investigation on numerous NFL franchises including the defending Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks. An anonymous source told ESPN, “the inspections were motivated by allegations raised in a May 2014 federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of several prominent NFL players, who allege team physicians and trainers routinely gave them painkillers in an illegal manner to mask injuries and keep them on the field.” Law enforcement officials have stated that the focus of this investigation is determining if there has been any improper practice on the part of the medical staff of all 32 NFL teams, specifically distributing medications without prescriptions, medications without labels, and the dispensation of prescription drugs by trainers instead of doctors. This investigation is proof that no matter how rich and powerful a person or institution is, they are not above the law.

 

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Halloween DUI

Halloween is a few days away, and the spooky spirit is descending upon the Salt Lake Valley. It’s a time for scary movies, costumes, and nights out on the town. All of this fun and excitement does carry a sinister weight with it, though. With Halloween being a night of festivities, for all ages, and given that most of the fun takes place after the sun goes down, there is an increase in DUIs. According to the NHTSA, impaired driver’s account for nearly 60 percent of Halloween highway fatalities nationally. Read More→

Video Evidence

It has to be addressed at some point, that times have changed drastically in the last few years. I’m speaking, of course, about the digital age, and how our every action is being recorded in some sense. Seeing is believing, we have always been told, and with our unfiltered access to the internet it has become much easier for us to “see” all sorts of film from around the world, ranging from candid funny home videos, to damning evidence of criminal activity or exculpatory evidence.

 

In a legal sense, video evidence is an important and pivotal form of evidence that we see in cases. In criminal cases video evidence is an important tool for lawyers. That kind of direct visual evidence is often irrefutable, but there are issues that this type of evidence raises. First, many of the images that we typically see from cameras often come from cell phones and security cameras, which are often grainy or blurry in quality. This makes the evidence rather unreliable. Crime labs have been able to run software to clean up the ”noise”, so to speak, in videos. The increase in these video editing technologies have led many to question the validity of film evidence in the first place, seeing as how it is so easy to modify.

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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence and the NFL

When we see hard hits, and big plays on the field during football games, we celebrate. Football has become almost a religion in America, with millions of people tuning in for hours every Sunday. It is a staple of American culture. But what happens when the hard hitting, competitive, and overall violent nature of the sport bleeds into the off the field lives of the players and those around them? Recently the NFL has come under fire for numerous domestic assault arrests that have happened in a very short amount of time. Many are left to wonder what has bred such a violent culture in the NFL and what can be done to put an end to it.

The Problem Recently

In the last few months the NFL has seen the arrests of Ray Rice, Jonathon Dwyer, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy, all for violence against women and/or children. Domestic violence is not something new in the NFL, although, despite public perception, the NFL still has a lower rate of domestic violence than the general population. Still, it is undeniable that there is pervasive violence in the NFL. Since 2011 the NFL has seen 20 players arrested for charges involving domestic violence. The most recent suspension handed down upon any of these players is the yearlong suspension of Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice, which is currently being appealed. Read More→

The High Cost of DUI in Utah

You may have heard that a DUI in Utah can cost around $10.000.00. That is probably not a bad estimate when you consider paying in lost time from work and paying for all the consequences that come with a DUI arrest. Of course, the cost of a DUI in one specific case will greatly depend on the circumstances of the DUI.

Is this a First Offense, Second Offense or Third Offense?

All fines and fees depend on how many times you have been arrested into consideration along with any extenuating circumstances like your blood alcohol content and who was in the car with you at the time of your arrest.

Photo by Penn Waggener

Photo by Penn Waggener

First Offense: At least $2150.00 if you are on the good side of the law.

Fines of at least $700.00 plus a surcharge making your fine about $1,400.00. Depending on the circumstances your fine could be as high as $2000.00.
Courts will generally allow you to pay a fine off over the period of probation which is usually 12 months.
Jail time of at least 48 hrs. Lets say the the average person loses $200.00 for 2 days of lost work time. Read More→

Should I Refuse a Field Sobriety Test In Utah?

As a Utah DUI Defense Attorney, I am often asked if a person should refuse to take the Field Sobriety Tests (FST). Because Field Sobriety Tests in Utah are not mandatory it is a very good question. So let me give you some facts that will help you make up your mind.

testsUtah DUI Laws allow for 4 Field Sobriety Tests

The first 3 field sobriety tests have been approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA has formulated particular procedures for officers to follow when administrating these tests. Read More→