Being charged with assault in Bountiful can be extremely stressful, especially if you are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system.
Fortunately, our assault defense attorneys can provide the defense you deserve if you are facing charges for assault. Whether you have been charged with simple or aggravated assault, we can review your case to determine if the correct charges were applied. Depending on the facts, it might be possible to argue that your actions were justified to defend yourself.
Call (801) 758-2287 today to get your free case review with our skilled assault defense attorneys at Overson Law.
Types of Assault that Can Be Charged in Bountiful, UT
The definition of assault under the law is more complex than most people realize. Assault charges are divided into two classes based on the severity of the assault. More minor assaults will typically be charged as “simple” assaults, while assaults involving severe injuries or other factors will usually be charged as “aggravated” assaults.
The least severe form of assault charges that our assault defense lawyers can help defend against is known as simple assault. According to Utah Code § 76-5-102, a person commits assault if they attempt to cause harm or injure another person. Simple assault also occurs when a person uses force or violence to cause a person harm or greatly increases the chances of an injury occurring.
In most cases, a simple assault will typically be charged as a Class B misdemeanor. However, a Class A misdemeanor could be charged under Utah Code § 76-5-102(3)(b) when the defendant causes substantial bodily harm to a person or if the person assaulted is pregnant and the assailant knows it. If the assault was perpetrated on a school worker while they were on the job, the offense will usually be classified as a Class A misdemeanor.
The crime of aggravated assault contains virtually the same elements as simple assault but with additional factors to account for more serious incidents. Per Utah Code § 76-5-103, aggravated assault is committed in a few different ways. Aggravated assault can be charged when a person attempts bodily harm through the use of violence, force, or by actually causing bodily injuries. Aggravated assault will also apply if the assailant makes a threat to cause bodily injury accompanied by an immediate show of violence or force. Creating a serious risk of bodily harm to another person can also result in aggravated assault charges.
However, one of the following factors must also be present in the case for these charges to apply. If the incident included the use of a deadly weapon, like a gun or a knife, it will likely be sufficient to constitute aggravated assault. However, almost any object could be dangerous if it is capable of causing serious injuries under the circumstances. If the assault causes a person’s breathing or circulation to be impeded and is likely to cause the loss of consciousness in the victim, aggravated assault charges will usually apply. This can be done by applying pressure to the victim’s neck and windpipe or by obstructing their mouth, nose, or airway.
The least severe penalty for aggravated assault is still a third-degree felony. However, the charges will be upgraded to a second-degree felony if the assault causes serious bodily injuries or the victim loses consciousness. An individual will be charged with a first-degree felony if the assault was perpetrated against a law enforcement officer and caused serious bodily harm.
How Assaults are Penalized in Bountiful, UT
As mentioned, the penalties for an assault charge can range from low-grade misdemeanors to serious felonies. The consequences a defendant faces will depend on several circumstances, including the facts leading up to the incident, the presence of any aggravating factors, and whether the defendant already has a criminal record. Simple assaults are typically charged as Class B misdemeanors, which can carry a sentence of up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. For a Class A simple assault, individuals could face up to one year in jail and fines of around $2,500.
The penalties for an aggravated assault conviction can be much more severe. Convictions for third-degree felonies can be punishable with up to five years imprisonment and fines of no more than $5,000. Second-degree felonies can be punished with prison sentences between one and 15 years and fines up to $10,000. First-degree felonies carry the harshest penalties, as those convicted could be imprisoned for at least five years to life and be required to pay fines of not less than $10,000.
The consequences do not stop there, even after your sentence has been served and your debt to society paid. An assault conviction will remain on an individual’s criminal record, which will turn up on a background check. This can cause serious issues when applying for jobs, searching for an apartment, or attempting to obtain a firearm. Many rights are limited or restricted after a felony conviction. For instance, if you have a felony conviction for assault, you will not be able to pass a background check to obtain a permit for a firearm. You will also be in danger of deportation if you are an undocumented alien in Utah convicted of assault.
Defending Against Assault Charges in Bountiful, UT
There are several strategies for fighting an assault charge in Bountiful. The most common ways are to try and suppress evidence seized in your case and argue that the victim’s injuries are not serious enough to justify an aggravated assault charge.
You can also assert an affirmative defense for your actions. For instance, you might have been charged with assault, but the facts support the claim that you were acting in self-defense and had the right to use appropriate and necessary force. However, you can only use force equal to that being used against you to claim self-defense. You can also claim defense if you were acting to defend others or were defending your home from a burglar. In other cases, you might have been involved in a fight you and the other party mutually consented to. In these situations, it might be possible to have an assault charge reduced to a mutual fighting charge or a disorderly conduct charge.
Our Bountiful, UT Assault Defense Lawyers Can Help
For a free case consultation with our assault defense attorneys, contact Overson Law, PLLC today at (801) 758-2287.