Any criminal charge is a serious criminal charge. But when you are accused of hurting or attempting to hurt another person, the stakes are high. An assault conviction can carry very harsh penalties, not to mention a permanent criminal record. If you are accused of assaulting someone, a local criminal defense lawyer may be able to help.
Maybe you were defending yourself from an attack or perhaps you let your temper get the best of you. Regardless of the circumstances, an assault charge could carry several years in prison, not to mention fines. Such a conviction on your record could also make it difficult to find work and even a place to live.
Utah Assault Laws
There are several different assault laws in the state of Utah. Here you’ll find the general descriptions of assault and aggravated assault.
Under Utah statutes (76-5-102), the crime of assault is defined as doing one of the following:
- Attempting to do bodily injury to another with force or violence,
- Threatening with a show of immediate force or violence, to do injury to someone, or
- Acting with force or violence and causing bodily injury to another or creating substantial risk of such injury.
In general, this offense is considered a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in jail. However, it can be a Class A Misdemeanor if the victim is pregnant or if the act causes substantial bodily injury to the victim. A Class A Misdemeanor carries up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines.
Other situations may warrant elevated charges. If the victim is a school employee or a police officer, for instance, the charge can be elevated to a Class A Misdemeanor. If you are a prisoner, it will be classified as a felony.
Utah Aggravated Assault Laws & Penalties
Aggravated assault is considered even graver than assault. Under Utah criminal laws (76-5-703), this offense is defined as committing assault as defined above and:
- Using a dangerous weapon, or
- Using other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.
If the offense results in serious bodily injury, it is charged as a 2nd Degree Felony and punishable by one to 15 years in prison and fines of $10,000. However, if no such injury results, the charge is a 3rd Degree Felony and results in up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Consensual altercation is sometimes referred to as assault by mutual consent. It refers to your typical fight—where both parties enter into the altercation with knowledge and consent. Under Utah law, consensual altercation is not a valid legal defense. This means, it doesn’t matter if both parties entered the fight willingly, if your actions amount to assault as defined above, you could be tried and convicted.
Understanding the laws surrounding assault crimes can be difficult and confusing. Contact us to talk with a Utah criminal defense lawyer today who can help make sense of the case against you.