Threat of violence is a misdemeanor under Utah’s criminal code. If the threat results in an injury, the defendant could also be charged with committing assault, another serious crime.
If you or one of your family members was arrested for threatening violence in Utah, it is vital that you act quickly to review your legal options and confront the charges against you. Call Utah criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson immediately at (801) 758-2287 for a free, completely confidential legal consultation.
What is the Difference Between Threat of Violence and Assault Charges?
Assault and threat of violence are related crimes that are both classified as offenses against the person. However, while it is possible to be charged with committing both offenses, there is a crucial difference between these two crimes.
A person is charged with assault under Utah Code § 76-5-102 when he or she allegedly causes injury. By comparison, threat of violence is charged under Utah Code § 76-5-107 when the person allegedly:
- Threatens to cause injury. The threat must be “accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence.”
- Threatens to commit any crime leading to injury, death, or property damage. Additionally, the defendant must have acted with intent to make the victim fear immediate injury or immediate death.
- Acting with intent to make the victim solely fear property damage does not meet the description of the charge defined by the statute, which provides, “[The defendant] acts with intent to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, substantial bodily injury, or death.”
Put simply, assault involves actual violence, while threats of violence are purely that: threats. If the threat is accompanied by actions resulting in physical injury, the person can be charged with simple assault or, depending on the severity of the injury and other factors, aggravated assault. Unsuccessful attempts to cause injury can also result in assault charges.
The statute contains a few more important points for defendants to be aware of:
- Both express (explicit) and implied threats are considered threats of violence under the state’s definition.
- It is not a valid defense to claim that the defendant:
- Did not try to carry out the threat.
- Was not able to carry out the threat.
- If you are convicted, you may be required to reimburse any person or agency that responded to the threat. This reimbursement is in addition to your other fees and fines. It may be possible to avoid reimbursement if you can demonstrate financial hardship.
- If you are separately charged with and convicted of simple assault or aggravated assault, you will face additional penalties for that conviction.
Utah Criminal Penalties: Fines and Jail for Class B Misdemeanors
There are two types of crimes in the state of Utah: felonies and misdemeanors. While misdemeanors have lighter maximum penalties than felonies, a conviction is still capable of resulting in expensive fines, many months in jail, and the creation of a criminal record. It is critically important to take misdemeanor charges just as seriously as you would a felony. The sooner and more aggressively you approach the situation by contacting an experienced Salt Lake threat of violence lawyer, the better the chance of a favorable outcome will be.
Utah Code § 76-5-107(2) makes threat of violence a Class B misdemeanor, which is less serious than a Class A misdemeanor but more serious than a Class C misdemeanor. For context, offenses below a Class C misdemeanor are non-criminal violations, while offenses above a Class A misdemeanor are felonies.
A defendant who is convicted of a Class B misdemeanor can receive fines, jail time, or both. Depending on the details of the situation, it may be possible to receive alternative sentencing such as probation or community service. The maximum fine for a Class B misdemeanor in Utah is $1,000, and the maximum sentence is six months in jail.
Free Consultation with a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer
Utah criminal attorney Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience handling assault charges, threats of violence, domestic violence, and other violent crimes. During his many years representing adult and juvenile defendants, Darwin has earned a reputation as a tough, innovative courtroom opponent who fights fiercely to defend his clients and uphold the Constitution.
While the law offices of Overson Law are located in Salt Lake City, Darwin handles cases arising throughout Salt Lake County, including Draper, Sandy, South Jordan, West Jordan, West Valley City, Riverton, Midvale, Herriman, and Cottonwood Heights. Darwin also handles cases in Wasatch County, Summit County, Davis County, Cache County, Weber County, Morgan County, and counties throughout Utah.
To set up a free legal consultation with Darwin, call Overson Law right away at (801) 758-2287. We will keep your information confidential.