If you are charged with multiple assault charges in Utah, you can face several years in prison for a single incident. Some people may think that because they only got into one altercation that they will only be charged with one crime. Unfortunately, that is not how the law works. If you get into a fight with multiple people at once, you can be charged with assault for each person you hurt or each person you attempted to hurt. If you or a family member was arrested for assault, you should consult with an experienced Salt Lake City assault defense lawyer. Darwin Overson can help you build your defense against multiple charges of assault. Overson Law is here to explain what happens if you are charged with multiple violent crimes in Utah. Call today at (801) 515-0883.
Utah Assault Laws
Utah has two different statutes that pertain to assault, also known as simple assault, and aggravated assault. An offender commits simple assault if they use force to attempt to injure another person or use force and cause someone to suffer an injury. Charges can also be filed for this offense for simply creating the likelihood of another person being injured.
Aggravated assault has most of the same elements of assault, except it requires that the offender use a dangerous weapon or cause the victim a serious injury. Utah defines a dangerous weapon very broadly, stating that it is an item that may cause death or serious injury. A dangerous weapon can also be an object that the victim believes will cause them serious injury. Additionally, you can also be charged with aggravated assault if you commit some action that restricts a victim’s breathing or blood flow.
An offender is typically charged with multiple counts of assault if they engage in a fight with multiple people. For example, if you injure or nearly injure multiple people in a single incident, you will be charged with assault for each of those actions.
To learn more about assault laws in Utah, you should speak with an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer.
Penalties for Multiple Counts of Assault in Utah
Just because you are charged with multiple counts of assault does not mean that you will be convicted of every single charge. Some charges may be supported by weak evidence and could be dropped, or you could be acquitted of them at trial. However, even two counts of assault can land you serious time in jail or prison.
Generally, simple assault is charged as a class B misdemeanor. However, if the offender causes the victim “substantial bodily injury” or attacks a victim that they know is pregnant, the crime will be upgraded to a class A misdemeanor. There are three types of misdemeanors that you can be charged with in Utah:
- Class C misdemeanors – Maximum jail time of 90 days and criminal fines up to $750
- Class B misdemeanors – Maximum jail time of six months and criminal fines up to $1,000
- Class A misdemeanors – Maximum jail time of one year and criminal fines up to $2,5000
This means if you are involved in a fistfight, and you cause mild or moderate injuries to three people, you can serve over a year in prison on three counts of assault for an event that may have lasted only a few seconds.
Aggravated assault is typically charged as a third degree felony. Like misdemeanors, felonies have a grading system that ranges from third degree to first degree (not including capital felonies). Third degree felonies are the least severe type of felony but still carry a maximum prison sentence of five years and $5,000 in fines. If you commit aggravated assault and you cause someone to lose consciousness or cause a serious injury, you can be charged with a second degree felony. Second degree felonies carry a possible prison term of 15 years and up to $10,000 in fines.
Aggravated assault can also be a first felony if you seriously injure a police officer or other law enforcement officer. First degree felonies can be punished with a life sentence.
Now imagine if you engage in a fist fight and knock out one person, slightly injure another, and use a weapon against a third person. You can be charged with a class B misdemeanor, a second degree felony, and third degree felony. That scenario can get you over 20 years in prison. Even if you are acquitted of the most serious charge, you can still be in prison for over five years.
Consult with an Experienced Utah Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you or a family member was charged with multiple counts of assault, you should contact an experienced Layton criminal defense attorney immediately. With over 16 years of criminal law experience, Darwin Overson is prepared to represent you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your case, contact Overson Law at (801) 515-0883.