A defendant who is convicted of simple assault in Utah may face up to a year in jail and more than $2,000 in fines and fees. He or she will also receive a criminal record, which can interfere with financial opportunities and make it harder to find a job. When your freedom and your future are at stake, you need tough, knowledgeable legal support on your side.
Utah defense lawyer Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of legal experience handling thousands of criminal cases on behalf of adults and juveniles charged with assault and other violent crimes. Darwin has built a reputation for aggressively defending the Constitutional rights of Utahans facing serious criminal charges in Salt Lake County, Wasatch County, Davis County, Weber County, Summit County, and throughout the state.
If you or someone you love has been accused of committing assault, call Darwin right away at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free legal consultation. Your information will be kept confidential. Darwin is available around the clock and can make emergency attorney jail visits on short notice.
What is the Difference Between Simple and Aggravated Assault?
There are two types of assault a person can be charged with in Utah: simple assault, which is a misdemeanor, and aggravated assault, which is a felony. Simple assault and aggravated assault are not interchangeable terms. They are completely separate offenses with different definitions and different criminal penalties.
Aggravated assault is charged when the defendant allegedly uses a weapon, or when the victim suffers serious injuries. By comparison, simple assault involves minor injuries, such as those a person might sustain in a fistfight. Utah Code §
76-5-102 defines simple assault as:
- “An attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another.”
- “An act, committed with unlawful force or violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another.”
Under this law, a person can be charged with committing simple assault when he or she causes or attempts to cause physical injury. If the injury is deemed to be “substantial,” the penalties can be more serious if the defendant is convicted. Therefore, it’s important to understand how Utah defines “bodily injury” versus “substantial bodily injury,” a distinction explained under Utah Code § 76-1-601:
- Bodily Injury — A bodily injury is any injury resulting in “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.”
- Substantial Bodily Injury — A bodily injury becomes substantial when it causes or results in:
- Long-term/ongoing physical pain.
- Temporary disfigurement.
- Temporary loss of function, or reduced function, in any organ or body part.
If the defendant uses a weapon or if the victim’s injury is deemed “serious,” which is more extreme than substantial bodily injury, the defendant can be charged with felony aggravated assault instead of misdemeanor simple assault.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for a Misdemeanor in Utah?
Simple assault is always a misdemeanor, never a felony. However, it can be classified as a few different types of misdemeanors depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. Though generally charged as a Class B misdemeanor, simple assault can be a Class A misdemeanor, which carries tougher consequences, if:
- The victim suffers substantial bodily injury.
- The victim was pregnant at the time of the alleged assault, and the defendant was aware of the pregnancy.
A Class B misdemeanor can result in the following criminal penalties:
- Fine — Up to $1,000
- Jail Sentence — Up to 6 months
A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor a person can be charged with in Utah. Anything greater is a felony offense. Utah criminal penalties for a Class A misdemeanor can include:
- Fine — Up to $2,500
- Jail Sentence — Up to 1 year
Depending on the situation, it may be possible to get a probation sentence instead of being incarcerated in a correctional facility. A person who is on probation, called a probationer, follows court rules and reports to a probation officer while living in the outside community. Probation violations can result in incarceration.
Get the Help of an Experienced Assault Lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah
While the fines and sentencing for simple assault are serious consequences, they are not the only negative outcomes of being convicted. An assault conviction will also saddle the defendant with a criminal record, which can be a heavy burden to carry when seeking employment or even approval for certain types of loans.
When the consequences are this devastating, you need to take every step you can to protect your rights and fight the allegations against you. Don’t wait another day to seek help from an experienced criminal attorney. Call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free, completely confidential initial consultation. Darwin is here 24 hours a day, including nights and weekends, to help you understand your next steps.