Assault is one of the most common crimes charged in North Salt Lake. However, the consequences for an assault charge and conviction can be far-reaching.
Regardless of your assault charges, you deserve to have your rights defended. Utah has classifications for simple assault, and aggravated assaults for those involving serious injuries or weapons. However, assault cases are complex and it is possible that you were overcharged by the prosecution.
Contact Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287 today to get a free case evaluation from our assault defense lawyers.
Simple Assault Laws in North Salt Lake
Utah recognizes two forms of assault, ranging from simple assaults to serious aggravated assaults. Utah Code § 76-5-102 defines simple assault as occurring when someone attempts to cause bodily injury or threatens another person with imminent bodily harm. This can include pushing or shoving someone, punching them, or throwing an object at them. If you use violence or force that causes bodily injury or creates a substantial risk of harm, you can also be charged with simple assault under § 76-5-102(2)(b).
These types of simple assaults are usually charged as Class B misdemeanors. Class B misdemeanors can be punished by a maximum of six months in jail and up to $1,000 of potential fines.
However, simple assault can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor per Utah Code § 76-5-102(3)(b) if the assault results in substantial injuries to the victim. Suppose the individual assaulted a pregnant woman they knew to be pregnant or a school employee while performing their duties. In that case, they will also be charged with a Class A misdemeanor simple assault. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by 365 days in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Aggravated Assault Laws in North Salt Lake
If someone attempts to cause bodily harm by using force or violence against another person, they can be charged with aggravated assault under Utah Code § 76-5-103(2)(a) even if no one was actually injured during the incident. This is because there are aggravating factors in these types of assaults that make the situation especially dangerous or even deadly. Like simple assaults, aggravated assaults occur when someone attempts to or causes bodily injuries, but can also be charged if they threaten another person while making a show of force during the threat. An individual can still be charged with aggravated assault if they did not injure the other person but created a substantial risk of an injury occurring.
It takes more than this to qualify as an aggravated assault, though. To be charged with aggravated assault, Utah Code § 76-5-103(2)(b) requires that either a dangerous weapon be used during the assault or that the victim loses consciousness due to pressure on the neck or throat or from otherwise obstructing the victim’s airways. However, these charges could apply if the defendant used other means to assault the victim that are likely to produce serious injury or death.
Most aggravated assaults are charged as felonies that carry very serious penalties, which our assault defense attorneys can help you fight. If the victim was a law enforcement official and they suffered serious injuries from the assault, the assailant would likely be charged with a first-degree felony. A conviction for a first-degree felony carries a penalty of between five years to life imprisonment. For second-degree convictions, consequences range from one to 15 years in prison and potentially $10,000 in fines. Third-degree felonies are the least severe charges for aggravated assault but can still carry heavy penalties, including a maximum of five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Domestic Abuse Cases Involving Assault Charges in North Salt Lake
The most serious assault cases involve domestic abuse charges. In these situations, the punishment for an assault could be much more severe if the assault was perpetrated against a spouse, significant other, family member, or other cohabitants that you live with. In many cases, the assailant will face felony charges for an assault in a domestic abuse case that can cause them to lose certain rights and even custody of their children. If the court enters a protective order against the defendant, they might need to give up any weapons or guns they possess to the police and will be barred from obtaining new ones.
How Our North Salt Lake Defense Attorneys Can Fight Your Assault Charges
Our firm can help you fight your assault charges in a number of ways. Some of the strategies we use include filing motions to suppress evidence against you and arguing that the elements of assault have not been satisfied. However, assault cases are complex because the incidents are not often clear-cut. In some cases, an alleged assailant might have a valid defense for assaulting the other person.
The most common defense asserted in an assault case is self-defense. Officers do not always have all the facts when they make an arrest and might not be aware that the person they are arresting was defending themselves. However, evidence could show that the person reasonably believed they needed to use force to defend themselves and used the appropriate amount of force under the circumstances.
Another common defense against assault is mutual fighting. If both individuals chose to participate in a fight, it does not seem fair for one person to be charged with assault. Thus, assault charges could be downgraded if it can be shown that the assault occurred in the course of a mutual fight.
In rare cases, you might have assaulted another person while defending someone else, like a spouse or friend. If your actions called for the defense of another person, you could assert this as a valid defense. You might not be charged at all if the assault occurred while defending your property from a home invader.
Negotiating a Plea Bargain
If the prosecution’s evidence against you is strong, you might be considering a plea bargain to reduce your charges. While you should always get legal advice before agreeing to a plea bargain, sometimes it is the best chance of avoiding serious jail time. In a plea bargain, a prosecutor agrees to reduce the charges against the defendant in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty, thus avoiding the need for a trial. Most prosecutors have many cases to manage and are willing to negotiate in most situations, especially if the evidence against you is weak.
Our North Salt Lake Assault Defense Attorneys Can Help
You can receive a free review of your case with our experienced assault defense lawyers today by calling Overson & Bugden at (801) 758-2287.