Consequences of Assault Charges

Assault charges on a legal book with a gavel.

Assault charges involve intentional acts that place another person in fear of immediate harm or cause harm to another person.

  • Assault is the crime of threatening another person with bodily harm. You could be charged with assault even if you did not make actual physical contact with the victim. Rather, it is the threat of harm that can result in an assault charge. The victim must believe the threat is credible.

Elements of Assault Charges

To convict someone of assault, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant:

  • Attempted to inflict bodily harm upon another individual; or
  • Committed an act that caused bodily injury to another individual or created a substantial risk of injury to another individual.

In most cases, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant took action and had the apparent ability to carry out the threat, and that the threat would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of bodily harm.

Examples of Assault

Actions that are likely to place a reasonable person in fear of immediate bodily harm include:

  • Menacingly raising a fist toward the victim;
  • Moving toward the victim with a bat;
  • Throwing an object toward the victim; or
  • Attempting to grab the victim.

Examples of actions that result in unwanted physical conduct include:

  • Pushing or hitting a victim;
  • Pulling the victim’s hair;
  • Groping a victim without their consent;
  • Slapping someone;
  • Throwing a large object and hitting the victim with it.

Penalties for Assault

In Utah, simple assault is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

If you cause substantial injury to the victim or know that the victim is pregnant, assault is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

If weapons were used or the assault was committed against a protected class of people, charges of assault and battery can quickly escalate to felony charges.

Aggravated Assault

Assault will be charged as a felony when it results in substantial bodily harm to the victim, is committed against a law enforcement officer, is made with a deadly or dangerous weapon, or when a person acts to impede the breathing or circulation of blood in the victim.

Aggravated assault charges are a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

If the defendant’s actions result in serious bodily injury or cause the victim to lose consciousness, assault is a second-degree felony, punishable by between one and 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Defenses to Assault

If you have been charged with assault, various defenses may be available. Common defenses to and assault charges include:

  • Self-defense;
  • Defense of others;
  • Lack of intent;
  • Lack of apparent ability to carry out the threat;
  • The victim’s fear was not reasonable;
  • You were provoked;
  • The threats were vague;
  • Insufficient evidence;
  • Defense or property; or
  • Your conduct was not threatening.

Charged with Assault? Contact Douglas D. Terry & Associates Today

If you were charged with assault in Utah, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.

Douglas D. Terry & Associates has been defending people accused of crimes in Utah for more than 40 years. We know Utah law, we know area judges and prosecutors, and we know how to get results.

Don’t let the police intimidate you during questioning, and don’t let the prosecutor convince you that pleading guilty is your only option.

When you work with Douglas D. Terry & Associates, we will carefully analyze your situation, explain your options, and protect your rights. In many cases, we negotiate favorable results for our clients. But when trial is the only option, you need a lawyer with courtroom experience who isn’t afraid to go the distance.

To learn more, contact us today by calling (435)628-4411 or completing our online contact form.

Categories: Assault