How Many Years Can I Get for Assault on a Police Officer in Utah?

Facing criminal charges for assaulting a police officer in Utah can be devastating. The criminal consequences for a conviction can have lasting repercussions. Furthermore, knowing that all the weight of the law will work against you can be overwhelming. Many people fail to understand the implications of being charged with a serious crime in Utah. You may wonder how many years you can potentially face for an assault against a police officer in Utah. Our dedicated, skilled, and experienced Salt Lake City assault defense lawyer at Overson & Bugden, invites you to keep reading as we answer this critical question.

What Constitutes Assault on a Police Officer Under Utah Law?

A person can be charged with assault by threatening to cause, attempting to create, or causing injury to another person. In Utah, assault crimes are divided into simple and aggravated assault. Facing charges for either of these crimes can lead to severe penalties. According to Utah Code § 76-5-102, simple assault happens when a person attempts to inflict a physical injury to another through violence or unlawful use of force. Common examples of simple assault include battery and battery attempt.

Aggravated assault is defined under Utah Code § 76-5-103. According to this legal statute, a person commits aggravated assault when he or she intentionally causes or attempts to cause severe bodily injury or uses a weapon to inflict grave bodily injury or death of another person.

While both criminal offenses have similar elements, they are treated separately. Courts will generally look at the extent of the offense to determine whether it is a simple or aggravated assault case. Utah Code uses different terms to make such a distinction. For instance, the law uses terms such as “bodily injury” (physical pain, impairment, etc.) and “substantial injury” (long-term disfigurement, pain, or loss of body part, etc.) to distinguish between simple assault and aggravated assault respectively.

Is Assaulting a Cop in Utah a Felony Offense?

Many people may think these charges can only be committed against civilians. In reality, assault charges can also apply to cases where an individual inflicts harm against a police officer. Assault against a police officer can almost guarantee harsher penalties. Any attempt to inflict harm or actually harming a police officer can lead to aggravated assault.

Utah divides crimes into two main categories: felonies and misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are considered to be lesser offenses carrying minimum penalties. Felonies are more severe crimes, which can lead to longer sentences and steeper fines. Misdemeanors are subdivided into Class A (theft of property), B (furnishing alcohol to a minor), and C misdemeanors (driving on a suspended license). Class A misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanors, which often lead to longer jail sentences and fines.

In Utah, felonies are divided into degrees. Felonies of the third degree are the less severe type of felony carrying several years in prison and hefty fines. The most common example of this crime is promoting solicitation of prostitution. In contrast, first-degree felonies are the most severe crime any individual can be charged with. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, a defendant may face life in prison, among other potential penalties. The most common example of a first-degree offense is murder.

Police officers – along with other professionals such as healthcare providers – have additional protections under Utah law. Any offense against these protected classes can yield harsher penalties for convicted felons. An assault against a police officer resulting in serious bodily injury can lead to second-degree felony assault charges.

How Much Jail Time Can You Get for Assaulting a Police Officer in Utah?

The amount of time you can spend in prison or jail will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case, as well as any mitigating or aggravating factors present. In order to understand how much time you may spend behind bars, it is essential to understand the different criminal penalties in Utah.

People found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor can face up to 90 days in jail and up to $750 in criminal fines. On the other hand, those found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor can expect up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If you are charged with a Class A misdemeanor, you risk facing up to 364 days in jail and up to $2,500 in criminal fines. In addition to these penalties, your criminal conviction for any of these crimes will remain in your criminal background.

As stated above, felonies can lead to harsher criminal penalties. For instance, third-degree felonies can lead to up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. A conviction for a second-degree offense in Utah can lead to up to fifteen years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. First degree felonies are the most serious type of crimes in Utah, and a criminal conviction for this felony can lead to life in prison without parole and up to $10,000 in fines.

Aggravating factors that may influence the degree of your charges include whether the victim suffered substantial bodily injury, whether the offense was particularly cruel, or whether the defendant is a repeat offender. Mitigating factors may come into play and reduce the severity of your charges. For instance, a defendant may have developmental issues preventing him or her from knowing the consequences of their actions. According to Utah criminal law, and depending on your charges, you may be sentenced to many years in prison and pay a hefty criminal fine.

Salt Lake City Criminal Defense Attorney Offering Free Consultations

If you or a loved one was charged with assaulting a police officer in Utah, there is no time to waste. The prosecutors in your case will work hard to convict you. However, they need to prove all the elements of your alleged offense. Our dedicated Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys at Overson Law PLLC will fight tirelessly, aggressively, and strategically to make sure your rights as a defendant are upheld at all times.  We can also guide you through the entire process. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our skilled, dedicated attorneys, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.