Causing A Catastrophe
In Utah, it is illegal to cause a catastrophe, whether someone uses a weapon of mass destruction or causes an explosion, fire, flood, building collapse, or other harmful, destructive force or substance that does not constitute a weapon of mass destruction.
Causing a catastrophe may result in serious penalties from a misdemeanor to a felony. If you have been arrested for causing a catastrophe, its best to secure the experienced legal representation of a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Utah Causing A Catastrophe Attorney
The penalties for causing a catastrophe are incredibly severe and could uproot your life completely. You could be sentenced to time behind bars and steep fines. Thankfully, a skilled criminal defense attorney at Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law can provide the guidance you need to navigate the court system while building a formidable defense to ensure you receive the best possible result for your case.
Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law accepts cases in Salt Lake County, UT, Weber County, Utah County, Wasatch County, Summit County, Morgan County, Davis County, Cache County, Tooele County, and Box Elder County. Call (801) 243-2814 to schedule a free consultation.
- What Are The Penalties For Causing A Catastrophe?
- DNA Specimen
- Examples Of Catastrophe
- What Are Some Defenses To Causing A Catastrophe?
- Additional Resources
Under Utah law, causing a catastrophe may result in a first-degree felony, a second-degree felony, or a misdemeanor.
First Degree Felony
In Utah, it is a first-degree felony if someone knowingly causes a catastrophe by using a weapon of mass destruction. A weapon of mass destruction is a chemical, biological or radioactive weapon capable of causing widespread destruction.
A first-degree felony may result in an indeterminate term of five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. An indeterminate term means that the amount of time served may be less than the sentence itself. For example, suppose the offender is convicted and receives a sentence of ten years. In that case, the sentence may be reduced with good behavior, and the offender may go on parole instead of finishing the full ten-year sentence.
Second Degree Felony
In Utah, it is a second-degree felony if someone knowingly causes a catastrophe without using a weapon of mass destruction. A second-degree felony may result in an indeterminate term of one to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
It is a class A misdemeanor in Utah for an individual to recklessly cause a catastrophe. Conviction of class A misdemeanor will result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
In addition to a prison or jail sentence and fines, the court may require the defendant to pay restitution. Additionally, the court may order reimbursement to any federal, state, or local governmental unit for expenses incurred while responding to the catastrophe.
In addition to the above penalties, the defendant may be required to provide a DNA specimen if convicted of a felony. The DNA specimen will go on file so that if future crimes are committed, they can more easily be linked back to the alleged offender.
A catastrophic event is one that causes great or sudden damage. For example, if someone blows a hole into a mountainside and causes an avalanche, that would be considered “causing a catastrophe.” However, a large catastrophe is not necessary to be charged under Utah law. For example, in 2015, an individual was charged with causing a catastrophe because she drove her daughter and her daughter’s friends around while they egged homes. One reason used as to why the woman was charged with causing a catastrophe was because they intended to use the egg’s biological agent as a weapon.
Therefore, a minor incident may result in a charge of causing a catastrophe; it does not require a major event with hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
In Utah, there are a variety of defenses that may be used to defend individuals who are charged with causing a catastrophe. For example, causing a catastrophe is a specific intent crime that requires someone to act intentionally. As a result, the following defenses may be used:
- Lack of Intent
- Lack of Evidence
- Mistaken Identity
Lack Of Intent
As discussed above, if the defendant did not intentionally cause the catastrophe, it is unlikely that the defendant will be convicted of a felony. Therefore, an experienced attorney will review the facts of the case and determine whether the intent is in question to use it as a defense.
Lack Of Evidence
Additionally, an experienced attorney will review the facts of the case to determine if any evidence required to convict a defendant is lacking. For example, if there is no evidence that a weapon of mass destruction was used in the catastrophe, the defendant will likely be unable to be convicted of a first-degree felony.
Mistaken identity may sometimes be used to get a case dismissed if the defendant is wrongfully accused of a crime. For example, in the case of causing a catastrophe, if the eyewitness wrongfully identifies someone as the perpetrator because they were under distress during the event and did not correctly recall the prominent features of the actual perpetrator, the case may be dismissed.
Utah’s Criminal Code – The website of the Utah State Legislature has information to learn more about offenses against property. Utah Criminal Code 76-6-105 provides the requirements for being charged with causing a catastrophe.
Area Vibes Website – This website provides criminal statistics for Park City, Utah. For example, there are currently 2,850 property crimes for every 100,000 people in Park City.
Utah Causing A Catastrophe Lawyer | Salt Lake County, UT
Have you been accused of causing a catastrophe in Salt Lake County, UT? If so, we urge you to contact the experienced attorneys at Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law for legal representation. Our legal team has represented numerous people of violent crimes and can obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law accepts clients in Utah including Salt Lake County, Alta, Mount Olympus, Cottonwood West, East Millcreek, Herriman, East Layton, West Bountiful, Fruit Heights, Cottonwood Heights, West Valley City, West Jordan, Sandy, and South Jordan. Call (801) 243-2814 to secure a free consultation with Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law today.