Everything you need to know about assault charges in Utah
Being charged with “simple” assault can be a terrifying experience, especially if you have no knowledge of criminal procedures and if you don’t know how to defend yourself against such accusations.
The good news is that you don’t have to face your assault charges alone. At Hoyer Law, we have extensive experience in providing clients with legal advice and defending them against assault charges. If you have been arrested or are being investigated by law enforcement for assault, keep reading to learn more about our services.
Different Levels of Assault in Utah
First, it may be worth discussing the different levels of assault in Utah. In Utah, an assault charge can generally range from a Class B Misdemeanor to a 2nd Degree Felony.
Class B Misdemeanor
For an assault to be a Misdemeanor B, one of the following elements should be present:
An attempt to do bodily harm or injury to another person with unlawful force or violence,
A threat to do bodily harm to another together with a demonstration of immediate force or violence, or
An act of unlawful force or violence that causes bodily harm or the substantial risk of bodily injury to another.
Class A Misdemeanor
Misdemeanor B assault can be enhanced to a Misdemeanor A assault if your action resulted in the substantial bodily injury of another or if the victim was pregnant and you knew about the pregnancy.
3rd Degree Felony
Misdemeanor A assault can become a 3rd-degree felony and aggravated assault if you used a dangerous weapon or force likely to cause death or serious bodily injury .
2nd Degree Felony
An assault is classified as a 2nd-degree felony and aggravated assault if the act actually results in serious bodily injury. There are also various “specific” types of 2nd-degree felony assaults against “protected victims,” such as school employees, law enforcement officers, uniformed members of the military, paramedics, etc.
Note: according to Utah Law, there is no provision for “battery” (except for sexual battery), because the assault statute now includes things that were considered a “battery.”
If you are found guilty of assault, you may receive a jail or prison sentence and a fine, depending on the severity of the assault and the surrounding circumstances. The possible maximum penalties for assault are as follows:
For 2nd degree felonies, 1 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
For 3rd degree felonies, 0 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
For class A misdemeanor, 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
For class B misdemeanor, 6 months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
In addition, the court may order you to do community service and/or attend anger management classes.
As you can see the punishment for assault is quite severe. Even a threat of assaulting someone can land you in jail for as long as six months – long enough to do your career and family life considerable damage.
If you claim that you acted in self-defense, including defense of property and/or home, the fundamental question before the court will be whether your subjective belief that you had to take action to defend yourself was “reasonable.”
There are several factors that the judge or jury will consider to answer this question. Factors that the court will take into account to determine if your belief was reasonable include:
The nature of the threat or danger,
The immediacy of the threat,
The other party’s history of violence,
History of abuse or violence between the parties,
The probability that the unlawful force would result in death or serious bodily harm.
If you were the “initial aggressor,” or provoked the other party to act violently, successfully claiming self-defense can be a challenge. This determination depends on the facts, the evidence gathered (e.g., from security cameras), etc. and must be argued at trial, so it helps to have an experienced and skilled assault attorney to tell your side of the story and preserve evidence.
Threats and Attempts
It is clear that pushing or punching a person, e.g., in a domestic argument, bar fight or in a road rage incident, can constitute a simple assault. But, even just getting in someone’s face and threatening to beat them up or throwing an object at them but missing can qualify as assault.
Expert legal help and defense in Utah
The average person may think that a run-in with the law as the result of a mere threat is not a big deal. However, it can be enough to land you in jail, especially if there were aggravating circumstances
When you become aware that there is a police investigation against you for assault, the first thing you should do is to contact Hoyer Law. Our criminal law expert is a reputable attorney with an excellent
track record and extensive experience.
Hoyer Law will communicate with the authorities on your behalf and represent you during court hearings and other procedures.