If you face simple or misdemeanor assault charges, a lawyer is the most powerful advocate you can have to protect your future.
In Utah, any criminal charge can carry the potential for heavy fines and jail time. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly innocuous “misdemeanor” classification.
What Is Misdemeanor Assault?
Legally, at least in most jurisdictions, a misdemeanor designation simply refers to those crimes for which the potential jail sentence is one year or less.
Assault is defined in Utah as threating, attempting to cause or actually causing bodily harm to another person, or using (or attempting to use) unjustified force or violence.
Bodily injury is defined by Utah statute as illness, pain or impairment, but even cuts and contusions (bruises) are typically regarded as bodily injury for the purpose of filing assault charges.
Potential Penalties for Utah Misdemeanor Assault
When filing assault charges in Utah, the incident is designated either a class A or class B misdemeanor.
Class B charges can carry a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. Class A charges, reserved for special cases including attacks on protected victims and those that cause significant bodily harm, are punishable by up to $2,500 in fines and one year in jail.
Protected victims include pregnant women, members of the military, law enforcement officers, medical personnel and school employees or volunteers.
Consulting a Lawyer for Assault Charges
If you are accused of committing assault, you may face life-changing consequences if found guilty in court. In addition to hefty fines and jail time, you face the potential of a criminal conviction on your permanent record.
This can hinder your ability to get a job in the future, and you become vulnerable to civil charges and liability for punitive damages. If the event involved a family member, roommate or significant other, the charges even can be elevated to domestic violence.
The most effective strategy for protecting yourself against a conviction is to engage a lawyer experienced with assault charges who also is familiar with state and local statutes.
You may have several options for mounting a defense against the charges, including self-defense, the defense of property or other people, the lack of intent or the intent to prevent a crime. Only an attorney who truly understands your rights can help you determine the best course for your case.
In St. George and Salt Lake City, Utah, criminal defense attorney David Paul White has the knowledge and experience to assist you with your case. Contact the Law Offices of David Paul White today, or whenever you need northern Utah’s best assault charges lawyer on your side.