The crime of assault can be unpredictable. In some cases, assault charges are minor misdemeanors. In other cases, defendants are charged with serious felonies.
There are numerous ways in which assault charges can be assessed. Generally, assault may be classified as either simple or aggravated. Simple assault tends to involve less serious force and injuries, and aggravated assault is often more dangerous and may involve a weapon. Depending on your circumstances and the evidence in your case, you might be able to negotiate a plea deal for simple assault charges and avoid the harsher consequences of felony aggravated assault. If the alleged victim in your case was a cohabitant, like a spouse or a partner, there might be additional consequences.
Assault charges frequently lead to jail or prison time for defendants if convicted. Our Park City, UT assault defense lawyers can help you fight your charges. For a free case review, contact Overson Law, PLLC. Call us at (801) 758-2287 for assistance.
How Assault Offenses Are Charged in Park City, UT
Assault generally includes some act of unlawful force or violence or an attempted act, but the surrounding factors will determine the nature of the charges. In general, more serious injuries or the presence of a weapon is associated with harsher charges and penalties. Similarly, if the alleged victim is a certain protected person, the charges might be greater.
Assault is typically charged as either simple or aggravated. While there are many distinctions between these charges, they both involve unlawful uses or attempted uses of force. Assault charges also depend on who the victim is and how the assault happened. Our Park City, UT assault defense attorneys can go over the details of your case and figure out the most effective defense tactics.
For example, while simple assault is ordinarily charged as a Class B misdemeanor, it may be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor if the victim was a school employee acting within the scope of their job.
Similarly, if the alleged victim is a peace officer or military service member in uniform, the charges will be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor. However, depending on how the assault allegedly occurred and the injuries sustained by the peace officer or military service member, you may face charges as high third or second-degree felonies.
The Difference Between Assault and Aggravated Assault in Park City, UT
As we now know, assault charges may be classified as simple assault or aggravated assault. While simple assault is typically charged as a misdemeanor, aggravated assault may be a serious felony. Our Park City, UT assault defense lawyers can help you advocate for lesser assault charges if the evidence does not warrant aggravated assault charges.
Simple assault is defined under Utah Code § 76-5-102(a) and includes any attempt to cause someone bodily injury by use of unlawful force. It can also include any use of unlawful force that actually causes bodily harm or creates a risk of substantial bodily harm.
Simple assault is ordinarily a Class B misdemeanor but may be upgraded to a Class A misdemeanor under certain circumstances. For example, by assaulting a school employee or a pregnant person, your simple assault charges may be upgraded.
Simple assault can quickly become aggravated assault when certain elements are present, like using a weapon. Our Park City, UT assault defense attorneys can help you work to prevent your charges from being upgraded.
Aggravated assault includes the same elements of simple assault with a few more criteria. Aggravated assault may include the attempted use of force, actual use of force, or threats followed by an immediate show of force in addition to the elements of simple assault. On top of that, aggravated assault must involve a dangerous weapon, an act that causes strangulation or restricted blood flow in the victim, or some other means of force likely to cause death or serious injury.
While simple assault is usually a misdemeanor offense, aggravated assault is often a felony. Aggravated assault charges typically begin at third-degree felonies and may be upgraded depending on the circumstances. In some cases, second or first-degree felonies are possible.
Negotiating Plea Bargains for Assault Charges in Park City, UT
A plea bargain, sometimes called a plea deal or plea agreement, is a deal made between defendants and prosecutors. The prosecutor agrees to reduce the charges, and the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the new reduced charges instead of the initial, more serious charges. Plea bargains must be negotiated and may take some time to work out, and our Park City, UT assault defense lawyers can help you.
In many assault cases, defendants can work with prosecutors to reduce charges or prevent charges from being upgraded through a plea bargain. For example, aggravated assault charges for third-degree felonies could be reduced to simple assault if the defendant agrees to plead guilty and waive their right to a trial.
Prosecutors are often willing to make these deals because they have very large caseloads, and a plea bargain is one less trail to worry about. Defendants often prefer plea bargains because they avoid more serious penalties.
If prosecutors have a weak case, we are in a better position to negotiate. For example, if you are charged with aggravated assault, but prosecutors have no evidence of a gun or dangerous weapon, we can try to persuade them to reduce your charges to simple assault in exchange for a guilty plea.
Assault and Domestic Violence Charges in Park City, UT
Assault can be charged as domestic violence if the alleged victim is a cohabitant. A cohabitant is often someone you live with, usually a family member, spouse, or romantic partner. Domestic violence charges can lead to additional consequences, like losing gun rights or child custody.
Defendants charged with assault as part of a domestic violence case may be subject to protective orders that bar them from seeing the alleged victim and any children they have with the victim. Not only that, but a protective order may require the defendant to surrender any weapons or firearms they have to law enforcement.
Our Park City, UT assault defense attorneys can help you fight your charges and get your rights back. Domestic violence convictions may have ripple effects across other areas of your life. You could even lose custody of your kids.
Contact Our Park City, UT Assault Defense Lawyers
Assault charges are sometimes hard to predict and understand. Reach out to our Park City, UT assault defense lawyers for a free case review to get started. Call Overson Law, PLLC. Call us at (801) 758-2287.