Ogden Assault Attorney
Being accused of committing a serious violent crime is an extremely isolating and stressful experience. Too often, mere allegations have the power to interfere with the personal and the professional alike, while an actual conviction can be devastating and completely life-altering.
Utah enforces tough penalties for criminal convictions, and if you have been charged with assault or aggravated assault in Weber County, you could be facing years of incarceration and thousands of dollars in fines. Not only are there immediate consequences like prison time and restitution, you could also be burdened by a criminal record which can continue to create obstacles long after your sentence has been served.
The bottom line is that the allegations against you cannot be taken lightly. If you are facing criminal charges, it is absolutely critical that you contact an experienced Utah assault defense attorney as soon as you possibly can. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation, call Darwin Overson right away at (801) 758-2287. Let’s start exploring your options for the future.
How the Post-Arrest Process Works for an Ogden Assault Case
Many times in assault cases, if the police personally witness the assault or have probable cause based on eyewitness testimony or something else to believe you committed it, they will arrest you on the spot. In other cases where the details are murkier and the officers are unsure whether probable cause exists, they may conduct an investigation into the matter, interviewing witnesses, reviewing physical evidence, and searching for any video footage that might exist. Once they believe they have enough information to prove that you have committed the crime, they will apply to the judge for an arrest warrant. If the warrant is granted, they will come to your home, place of business, or wherever you are right away to execute the warrant and place you under arrest.
After you are arrested, you will be transported to the local police station for the booking process. This process involves the police fingerprinting you, photographing you, and inventorying your items for safekeeping, as well as collecting your biographical information for their records. After booking, you will be kept in the station’s holding cell or transported to the local detention center to await your initial appearance and bail hearing, which will occur no more than 72 hours after booking, but usually sooner unless it is a weekend or holiday. This is why it is so vital that you or a loved one reach out to a skilled Ogden criminal defense attorney like those at Overson Law, PLLC as soon after your arrest as possible, so we can be prepared to represent you at these important early events in the case.
At the first appearance, the judge will read the charges against you and advise you of your rights during a criminal case, including the right to an attorney if you have not already retained one. In misdemeanor cases, your arraignment, where you are asked to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty, also occurs at this appearance. In most cases, our experienced attorneys for a Utah criminal arraignment will advise you to plead not guilty so we have time assess the particulars of your case and request all the prosecutor’s evidence. Your plea can be easily changed to guilty later if you are offered a deal you would like to take.
The bail hearing will occur at or around the same time as your first appearance. At the bail hearing, the judge will decide if you can be released from jail or if you must remain behind bars until the charges against you are resolved. If they choose to release you, they will often set cash bail, which you much either pay or have a bail bondsman bond you out in order to get out of jail. Our experienced Ogden bail hearing attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC know the factors that judges find most persuasive in deciding whether or not you can be released after an assault charge, and what amount of bail to set. These factors can include the nature and severity of the charge against you, including whether it is simple or aggravated assault, your criminal record, your ties to the local community, and whether you are considered a threat to public safety. We can make the most effective argument for you to be released on little to no bail.
About Utah Assault: Fines and Penalties
This offense is divided into two basic categories: “simple” and “aggravated,” with the former referring to incidents classified as non-aggravated. The latter charge is more serious, and comes with harsher penalties as a result.
Assault is addressed by 76-5-102, which defines this offense as any of the following:
- An attempt or threat to cause bodily injury.
- Causing bodily injury.
- Creating “a substantial risk” of bodily injury.
Aggravated assault is addressed by 76-5-103, which defines this offense as simple assault accompanied by:
- A dangerous weapon (which can be “any item capable of causing death or serious bodily injury,” or even an imitation of a real weapon, under 76-1-601).
- “Other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.”
Simple assault can be graded in one of two ways, depending on the severity of the injuries:
- Class B Misdemeanor: Up to 6 months in jail, maximum fine of $1,000.
- Class A Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail, maximum fine of $2,500.
Simple assault can also be classed as an A misdemeanor if the victim is a pregnant woman whose pregnancy is known to the alleged offender.
Aggravated assault can also vary in severity, but regardless of grading it is classified as a felony. If you are convicted of a felony, in addition to the heavy fines and prison time, you will also lose your firearm privileges and your right to vote.
- 3rd Degree Felony: Up to 5 years in prison, maximum fine of $5,000.
- 2nd Degree Felony: Up to 15 years in prison, maximum fine of $10,000.
These charges can be classed as second degree if the result of the alleged incident is “serious bodily injury.”
Because the extent of injury is a key factor in how the charges are categorized, it is important to distinguish between injury and serious injury. Under 76-1-601:
- “‘Bodily injury’ means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.”
- “‘Serious bodily injury’ means bodily injury that creates or causes serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or creates a substantial risk of death.”
If you or someone you love is facing these charges, it is extremely important that you contact an attorney right away. To arrange for a private case evaluation free of charge, call Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287, or contact us online today.
How a Skilled Ogden Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Resolve Your Case
After we have helped get you out of jail, our battle-tested Ogden criminal defense attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC will turn our attentions to filing any necessary motions in your defense, like a motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure and to begin negotiations with the prosecutor about a potential deal for your charges to be downgraded or dismissed. In cases where assault is charged as a class A misdemeanor or a felony, there will be an optional preliminary hearing where the prosecutor must show the judge that probable cause exists for the case to continue. It is optional only in the sense that you, as the defendant, are permitted to waive it, and though the prosecutor will often request you to do so, you should not make any such choice until you have spoken with an attorney. In some cases, even if we do not believe we will get the charges dismissed at the preliminary hearing, we may still wish to hold it anyway to get a “preview” of how the prosecutor’s evidence and witnesses hold up in court.
If you are a first-time offender and the assault charge is relatively minor, you may be eligible for a pre-trial intervention program or to enter a plea in abeyance. In either case, if you successfully complete the requirements of the court and allow the necessary amount of time to pass, your charges will be dropped and you will not have any criminal record related to this incident. Another possible deal is the prosecutor agreeing to downgrade the charge to something less serious, like from aggravated assault to simple assault, in exchange for you entering a guilty plea and saving the government the time and cost of putting on a trial. Yet another possibility is the prosecutor agreeing to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge in exchange for a guilty plea. The judge will almost always follow the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation.
Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal or are not satisfied with the deal offered, our veteran trial attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC are always ready and able to fight for your innocence in the courtroom. Anyone charged with a class A misdemeanor or a felony in Utah has a right to a trial by a jury of their peers, which those charged with lesser misdemeanors have only the right to a bench trial before a single judge. However, even in felony assault cases, you have the option of electing to go with a bench trial if you want. This is a decision that is very dependent on the specifics of your case and one that should only be made in consultation with a skilled trial attorney like those at our firm.
Our Ogden Assault Attorneys Offer Free Consultations
During such a difficult time, it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed, helpless, and lost. But you don’t have to fight your charges or navigate through the complex criminal justice system on your own: attorney Darwin Overson may be able help you seek justice. With over 15 years of dedicated experience defending the people of Utah and Salt Lake City, Darwin Overson is committed to aggressive legal advocacy for both adult and juvenile clients. When you need the support of an experienced attorney, you can call on our firm.
These charges are comparatively common in Utah, including Salt Lake City. According to the 2012 Crime in Utah Report released by the Utah Department of Public Safety, an aggravated assault takes place every 2.36 hours, while simple assault allegations are even more commonplace. That year, the Salt Lake City Police Department reported 844 aggravated assault arrests, while the state of Utah as a whole documented nearly 9,000 adult arrests for simple assault, in addition to another 1,763 juvenile arrests. While anyone can be charged, the documented arrestees were primarily male.