Crippen & Cline, LC
About Stephen HowardUtah attorney Stephen Howard is an experienced trial lawyer, negotiator, advocate, and legal adviser. His courtroom successes have included jury trials, appellate work, motion practice, and more. His abilities as a negotiator and problem solver have contributed to positive outcomes for clients outside the courtroom as well. Mr. Howard practices as a member of Salt Lake City law firm of Crippen & Cline, a firm known for providing high quality legal representation and personal service to clients throughout Utah.
Directory Practice Areas
- Appeals & Appellate
- Criminal Law
- Estate Planning
- Family Law
- Juvenile Law
- Real Estate Law
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
|Attorney at Law, Crippen & Cline, LC|
|Trial Attorney, Salt Lake Legal Defender Association|
|Brigham Young University||J.D.|
|Honors: Graduated Cum Laude; National Order of Barristers; American College of Trial Lawyers Medal for Excellence in Advocacy|
|Member, National Order of Barristers|
|Medal for Excellence in Advocacy, American College of Trial Lawyers|
|Member, Utah State Bar|
|Member, Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers|
|Member, National Association of Drug Court Professionals|
- Overall: 271st
- Overall: 4 Answers
Q. Can the owner of his own property be charged with trespassing when he enters his own lot or his own home?
A: Odd as it may sound, it is sometimes possible to be charged in Utah with trespassing on your own property. For most property offenses (theft, criminal mischief, etc.), the statutes refer to "property of another." Trespass, on the other hand, refers simply to entering or remaining "unlawfully" on "property," without any requirement that it be someone else's property. Usually, your presence on your own property is not "unlawful." But there can be situations where you are not legally allowed to be present on your own property. For example, if you lease a property to someone else, some leases give the tenant the exclusive right to possess the property. Under such circumstances, the owner's presence could be found to be "unlawful" and constitute a trespass. There are other possible examples as well. You should consult with an attorney about the specific details of your situation.
Q. Bob is accused of criminal mischeft for PURPOSLY breaking a window while intoxicated when he doesnt remember doing it
A: In Utah, criminal mischief is usually charged where a person person "intentionally damages . . . the property of another." Whether the damage was done "intentionally" can be up to a jury to decide. The fact that a defendant can't remember what happened could actually work against him, because he won't be able to rebut testimony from other witnesses. If other witnesses saw what happened, and if what they saw makes it look like the damage was done intentionally, he could be found guilty. If the damage occurred by accident, it would not normally be a criminal matter. If witnesses (including the defendant) can provide testimony that shows the damage occurred accidentally, he has a much better chance in court. He should definitely consult with an attorney before going into court on any criminal charge.
Q. I lent my sister certain items. when asked for said items she refused to return them. what should i do
A: Theoretically, you could sue her in small claims court (assuming these are not very valuable items), or you could call the police and report the items as stolen. Whether you succeed in court would depend in part on who a jury or judge believed. If the jury/judge believed her when she said that you had given the items to her, then she probably wins the case. If the jury/judge believed you, then you would probably win. The second part of the question is what "should" you do to get the items back. In the years I have practiced law, I have found that most legal questions have a non-legal component. The non-legal part of your question relates to how much your relationship with your sister is worth to you. Suing your sister or filing a police report against her runs a real risk of damaging that relationship, and potentially your relationship with the rest of your family. You will need to balance the value of those relationships against the value of the items you're trying to get back. Sometimes negotiations and compromise are a better solution to a problem than taking someone to court. But ultimately, it's your call to make.
Q. Should we fight a disorderly conduct charge?
A: Merely knowing about someone elses crime does not make you guilty of that crime. Based on what you have said, I think the only real risk would be if it turns out that she not only knew about the fight, but had somehow encouraged the fight, egged the other kids on, or was somehow involved more than just "knowing" about it. Under Utah law, that could make her responsible as a "party" to the offense. Normally, when charged under the State code (76-9-102), disorderly conduct is an infraction. If the person continues the "disorderly conduct" after being asked to stop, it can become a class C misdemeanor. A class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days jail plus a fine, but an infraction only carries a potential fine. As a juvenile, she could not be put in jail, but could theoretically be placed in a juvenile detention facility if it were charged as a misdemeanor. Based on what you have said, the risk of that happening is probably slim to none. As a defense attorney, I have to leave the ultimate question of whether to fight the charge up to my client. But with what you've said here, she doesn't run any great risks by fighting it. And if she's not guilty, fighting the charge makes sense.