About Utah Crime Aggravated Assault Under Code 76-5-103

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Aggravated assault is a felony in Utah.  If you are convicted of aggravated assault, you will face thousands of dollars in criminal fines, months or years of prison time, and the loss of your gun rights.  You will also be burdened with a permanent criminal record, which can create obstacles to finding employment and advancing your career.

When you’re up against such serious penalties, it’s vital to make sure an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney is there to defend your rights, guide you through the court system, and challenge the accusations against your good name.  With more than 16 years of experience working on thousands of misdemeanor and felony cases, Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Darwin Overson is firmly committed to representing adults and juveniles who are facing serious assault allegations.  Darwin handles cases throughout the state, and is available for emergency attorney jail visits.

To set up a free case evaluation, call Darwin at (801) 758-2287 right away.  He will keep your information confidential.

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How is Aggravated Assault Different From Simple Assault?

Simple assault and aggravated assault are criminal offenses which both involve causing or attempting to cause physical injury.  However, they are separate crimes and are charged under different circumstances.  In a nutshell, simple assault is charged for minor or moderate injuries, while aggravated assault may be charged if the victim sustains major injuries or if the defendant uses a weapon during the alleged assault.

Utah uses the terms “bodily injury,” “substantial bodily injury,” and “serious bodily injury” to distinguish between levels of injury caused by assault.  A defendant may be charged with simple assault, which is a misdemeanor, if he or she causes or attempts to cause:

  • Bodily Injury — Defined as “physical pain, illness, or any impairment.”
  • Substantial Injury — Defined as an injury that causes long-term pain, short-term disfigurement, or the short-term impairment or loss of an organ or body part.

However, if the victim sustains “serious bodily injury,” the defendant can be charged with aggravated assault, which is a felony.  Under Utah Code § 76-1-601, Utah defines serious bodily injury to mean any injury that either:

  • Creates a major risk of death.
  • Results in major, permanent disfigurement.
  • Results in long-term loss of function, or reduced function, in an organ or body part.

Under Utah § 76-5-103, a person can be charged with aggravated assault when he or she causes, attempts, or threatens to cause injury by using force or violence in addition to:

  • Using a dangerous weapon, which means “any item capable of causing death or serious bodily injury,” including, under certain circumstances, fake imitation weapons. Guns, knives, clubs, and brass knuckles are a few examples of dangerous weapons.
  • Using any other “means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury,” even if the object isn’t a weapon.

What Are the Criminal Penalties for a Felony in Utah?

There are two types of criminal offenses in Utah: misdemeanors, which are lesser offenses, and felonies, which are very serious crimes like rape and murder.

Simple assault is a misdemeanor, while aggravated assault is always charged as a felony.  However, the type (“degree”) of felony it is charged as depends on the circumstances of the alleged assault.  Aggravated assault may be charged as a third degree felony unless the victim sustains serious bodily injury, in which case it becomes a second degree felony, which carries greater penalties.  Utah’s criminal penalties for third and second felony offenses are listed below.

  • Third Degree Felony
    • Fine — Up to $5,000
    • Prison Sentence — Up to 5 years
  • Second Degree Felony
    • Fine — Up to $10,000
    • Prison Sentence – 1 to 15 years

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Aggravated assault is a first degree felony when it is committed by a prisoner and results in serious bodily injury.  The penalties for a first degree felony in Utah can include a fine of up to $10,000 and anywhere from five years to life in prison.

Several other forms of assault are also classified as felony offenses, including:

  • Assault against a peace officer or military servicemember in uniform.
  • Assault by a prisoner.
  • Propelling a substance or object at a correctional officer or peace officer, in some circumstances.

Our Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Lawyers are Ready to Help

In addition to receiving costly fines and being sentenced to prison, you will also receive a criminal record if convicted, which can create ongoing problems long after the sentence is served and the fines are paid.  Despite the many laws designed to prevent employment discrimination, many business owners look for other excuses not to hire former felons.  You could also be stripped of or lose eligibility for professional licenses and certifications you need for your career.  Additionally, you will lose your right to buy or own firearms.

The consequences of an aggravated assault conviction are devastating.  Don’t face the charges against you without making sure that your Constitutional rights are being protected by an aggressive and highly experienced aggravated assault lawyer.  To set up a free and confidential legal consultation, call criminal attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 right away.  Darwin is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


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