Being charged with assault in Lehi can seriously impact a person’s life. Assault cases are often complex and not as straightforward as they seem at first.
Fortunately, our assault defense lawyers can help you prepare a defense that is right for your situation. Even minor charges for simple assaults can have far-reaching consequences for an individual convicted. For more serious cases, individuals could be charged with aggravated assault and potentially receive time in prison.
To receive a free evaluation of your case with our assault defense attorneys, call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 today.
Understanding the Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault in Lehi, UT
Assault is a crime that many people are familiar with and typically understand that it involves some form of violence or harm being done to a victim. While many assaults involve bodily injuries, a person can be charged with assault even if physical contact is not made. Threatening someone with harm is enough to constitute assault. Fortunately, our assault defense attorneys can help you defend your case regardless of the nature of your assault charges. If you have had prior convictions or serious bodily harm was caused, your assault charges could be upgraded to aggravated assault.
Simple Assault Laws
According to Utah Code § 76-5-102(1), a person is guilty of simple assault in Lehi if they cause bodily injury to another person or threaten to cause bodily injury to another person with the intent to terrorize them. This offense is typically charged as a misdemeanor. Still, it could be upgraded to a felony, depending on the severity of the allegations or if the defendant has a prior conviction for assault. Simple assault charges are often brought in conjunction with other criminal offenses, such as domestic violence or harassment.
Charges for simple assault can also be upgraded depending on the victim. For instance, if the person assaulted was pregnant or a school employee, the defendant could face more serious charges. In situations involving aggravating factors like these, the charges could be increased to aggravated assault, which can carry much more severe consequences if convicted.
Aggravated Assault Laws
An assault that causes serious bodily injury may be charged as aggravated assault under Utah Code § 76-5-103(2). An individual is guilty of aggravated assault if they attempt to cause or cause serious bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce harm or “serious bodily injury.” For purposes of this law, “serious bodily injury” means an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any member or organ of the body.
If there is a threat, it must be accompanied by an immediate show of force to constitute aggravated assault. However, to be charged with aggravated assault, the state must prove that either a dangerous weapon was used, the defendant used force that cut off blood flow or oxygen, or some other form of force likely to result in serious harm or death was used.
Penalties for Assault Convictions in Lehi, UT
Because assault is broadly defined, it carries a wide range of criminal penalties if convicted. The level of the charges can range from low-grade misdemeanors for simple assaults to first-degree felonies for aggravated ones. Your penalties will depend on the circumstances surrounding your case and whether you already have a criminal record. Charges will likely be increased in assault cases involving domestic abuse.
Misdemeanors and Felonies
Simple assault is typically charged as a class B misdemeanor and can be punished with up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Simple assault can also be charged as a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by one year in jail and $2,500 in fines.
Aggravated assaults are usually charged as felonies and can range from third-degree felonies to first-degree. Third-degree felony aggravated assaults are punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000. If convicted of second-degree felony aggravated assault, a defendant could face between one and 15 years in prison, depending on their criminal history and the circumstances surrounding their case. For first-degree felony convictions, the most serious, individuals can face a minimum of five years in prison and around $10,000 in criminal fines.
Upgraded Penalties for Assaults Involving Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse in Utah is defined as harm or violence committed by one cohabitant against another. Cohabitants are widely defined and include spouses, roommates, family members, and others living together. The term also covers intimate partners and co-parents, even if they do not live together. If an individual is charged with assaulting a cohabitant, the charges could be upgraded to aggravated assault, a felony in most cases.
How Our Assault Defense Attorneys Can Fight Your Assault Charges in Lehi, UT
Assault cases can be challenging since there might have been underlying reasons for the assault. If you had a legally valid reason for committing the assault, you could use this as a defense to the charges. Officers responding to the scene of an assault might not take the time to investigate the claims thoroughly and make an arrest of the accused party. However, evidence might show that you needed to defend yourself in the altercation. In this situation, you could claim self-defense if you reasonably believed you were about to be harmed or killed. Self-defense is an affirmative defense that you must raise at trial to be considered by the jury.
If someone else was threatened with imminent harm or death at the hands of another person and your use of force was necessary to prevent them from being harmed, then you could use the claim of defense of others. Like self-defense, this must also be raised by you at trial in order for it to be considered by the jury. However, you must have had a reasonable belief that the other person needed defense in order for the jury to accept your defense as valid.
You could also claim that the assault occurred in mutual combat (a fight) or that the other party consented to the assault beforehand, like in a sparring match or martial arts competition. Your charges might not be dismissed if the assault occurred during a fight. Still, that fact could help mitigate the charges against you, potentially lessening the penalties against you if convicted.
Our Lehi, UT Assault Defense Attorneys Can Help
Contact Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 to get your free case consultation from our assault defense attorneys.