Assault charges can turn your life upside down in an instant. People convicted for this crime risk their freedom and will likely face thousands of dollars in fines. However, arrest for an alleged assault doesn’t necessarily mean you are guilty. There are defense strategies that can help you defend yourself against your charges. You may ask yourself whether causing bodily harm to another person will automatically send you to jail or prison. Our Salt Lake City, UT assault defense attorney, invites you to keep reading as we discuss whether you will go to jail for causing bodily harm or injury to another person in Utah.
Will I Spend Time in Jail for Assault Causing Bodily Injury in Utah?
Assault, in any of its forms, is a serious criminal charge. You will likely spend time behind bars if you are convicted of this offense. There are two different types of assault crimes in Utah: simple assault and aggravated assault. According to Utah Code § 76-5-102, you can be charged with simple assault if you attempt to cause physical injury upon another, either through violence or unlawful use of force.
Additionally, you can be charged with simple assault if you cause a physical injury or create a significant risk of bodily harm or injury. Simple assault, as you can extrapolate from the statute, doesn’t require you to assault or physically contact the other person. Attempting to injure another person physically is enough to be charged for this crime.
Utah Code § 76-5-103 defines aggravated assault, which is a more severe crime. According to the statute, you can be charged with aggravated assault in Utah if you show an immediate use of force or violence and use a dangerous weapon. You can also be charged with aggravated assault if you take action that may result in a serious injury or the other person’s death.
If you are charged and convicted of simple or aggravated assault in Utah, you will likely spend time in jail or prison. Additionally, you may face thousands of dollars in criminal fines. Thus, it is wise to hire an experienced Utah Layton criminal defense lawyer who can assist you and help you defend your rights.
What Happens if I Was Arrested for Simple or Aggravated Assault in Utah?
If you were arrested and charged with simple or aggravated assault, you would expose yourself to time in jail or prison and steep criminal fines. Utah divides crimes into infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Criminal assault charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances of each particular case.
Misdemeanors are classified as Class A, B, or C, in order of severity. For instance, you are likely to receive a harsher penalty for a class A misdemeanor compared to a penalty for a Class C. Simple assault is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
However, there may be aggravating factors that can bump the classification of your crime to a Class A misdemeanor. If you cause a substantial physical injury or deliberately assault a pregnant woman, you will face harsher penalties. Under Utah law, a Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines.
Aggravated assault is considered a felony under Utah law. Felonies are divided into third, second, and first-degree felonies. The lower the felony degree, the more serious the charge, and potential penalties. Typically, aggravated assault is classified as a third-degree felony. If convicted, you can face up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. However, if your actions led to permanent disfigurement, long-term impairment, or significant risk of death, your crime can be bumped to a second-degree felony. If convicted, you can face up to fifteen years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Can I Defend Myself Against My Assault Charges and Avoid Jail in Utah?
Under the U.S. criminal justice system, you are innocent until proven otherwise. You have the right to defend yourself against the allegations against you. Our Ogden assault defense lawyer can help you by providing evidence in your favor and challenging the evidence brought by the prosecutor.
One argument that may help you in your case is “self-defense.” According to Utah Code § 76-2-402, you may be justified to use force against another person if you reasonably believe that the use of force is necessary to defend yourself or another individual against imminent danger. You may also be justified to use force intended, or that is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent the death or serious bodily injury of yourself or another.
This strategic defense argument is possible under Utah Code § 76-5-402, although it is essential to tread carefully. The prosecution may likely argue that you initially provoked the plaintiff, attempted to assault him, or that you were the aggressor. Your criminal defense attorney can help you build a defense strategy aimed at countering this type of argument.
The prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the alleged crime. If the prosecutor in your case cannot prove every single element of your charges, you cannot be convicted of assault. This is something you can achieve by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you through your entire criminal process.
Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer Offering Free Consultations
Facing assault charges in Utah can be scary and overwhelmingly challenging. If you or a loved one was charged with simple or aggravated assault, we can help. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers from Overson Law, PLLC, understand how difficult facing your criminal charges can be, especially if you are a first offender. We will work tirelessly to build a strategic, persuasive criminal defense and help you fight against your alleged offense. To learn more about how we can assist you in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (801) 758-2287.