What Are The Penalties For Assault Convictions In Utah?
The penalty for a Class B misdemeanor (simple assault) is up to $1,100 and six months in jail. Judges will often give some jail time depending on the assault and how bad the injury is. If the assault didn’t result in an injury (which might be the case with a simple shove or a slap), then it’s possible to avoid jail time and only have to pay a fine. The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor assault is up to $2,500 in fines and one year in jail. Aggravated assault is a third degree felony that carries up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Depending on the nature of the assault, the level of the injury and the age of the victim, things can escalate very quickly and easily. So, it’s very serious.
What Are The Possible Defenses That Can Be Used In Assault Cases?
The main type of defense for assault cases is that of self-defense, which makes the argument that the defendant was justified in their actions and what they did to protect themselves, their property or someone else. If this defense is going to be used, the other side must first be notified.
What Happens If The Alleged Victim Retracts Allegations Of Assault?
Sometimes a victim will recant his or her allegations. Oftentimes, by the time a case has worked its way through the court system, a couple of months will have passed since the alleged assault occurred. As a result, things have usually cooled off and the victim doesn’t want to go to court or take time off of work. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the charge will be dropped. The prosecutor is the one that has the discretion to proceed with the prosecution or not, and it makes it difficult for them if they don’t have a cooperative witness. Oftentimes, when assaults are initially being investigated, the police officer will have the victims write and sign witness statements about what happened. Those statements will be copied and made part of the file. That way, even if the alleged victim doesn’t want to deal with the prosecution later on, the prosecutor will still have that statement and the case can still proceed. It makes it more difficult for them, but it doesn’t mean that the case will be automatically dismissed.
Will Hiring An Attorney Early On Make Someone Look Guilty In an Assault Case?
No, hiring an attorney early on will not make someone look guilty. For the most part, I believe that the court, the prosecution and the people involved in the adjudication of these cases want the defendant to have an attorney due to the serious nature of the charges. They want to make sure that every angle and every defense is looked at. So, I don’t think the courts or the prosecutors will think you’re automatically guilty because you hire an attorney. In fact, attorneys can actually help cases run smoother and more efficiently. It’s definitely worth it to hire an attorney. The Constitution says that you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and that’s the way the prosecutors and courts look at it as well.
Due to the serious nature of the charges, I would highly recommend that someone at least get a consultation with an attorney, if not hire one. If convicted, the defendant will not only have to pay fines, but may also have to pay for any treatment that the victim needs, which can be thousands of dollars. You have to look beyond what the court fines are and consider the restitution needed in order to make that person whole again. Sometimes the attorney’s fees for handling a case for assault are nothing in comparison to the other costs that can accompany these charges.
Can Someone Handle An Assault Case On Their Own Without An Attorney?
It would be very difficult for someone to handle a case like this without an attorney. Once again, even our law has stated that in any type of case, a judge has to make sure that someone knowingly waives their right to an attorney. In that waiver, the decision to forego representation has to be knowingly and voluntarily made. The judge really has to advise them that if they are going to represent themselves, they are proceeding at great peril towards their case because they don’t have the experience that the prosecutor does. The simple fact that the US Supreme Court mandates that judges warn people of the consequences of representing themselves in criminal court is warning enough not to do it.
What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Handling Assault Cases?
In these types of cases, you need a criminal defense attorney who has experience in the jurisdiction that you live in and in the city where the assault took place. A criminal defense attorney that has worked with those prosecutors will know how to get the best outcome for you. In contrast, an attorney who primarily handles divorce, bankruptcy or personal injury cases will not have as much experience in the courtroom and will therefore not deal with those prosecutors as much.
Criminal cases are very different than civil cases; there is a completely different set of rules and different training. My firm mainly handles criminal defense DUI cases. I always make it known in my marketing that I primarily practice criminal defense, so I have that level of familiarity. I practice in all of the courthouses in this area of Utah. The day-to-day experience of being in the court and working with the judges, prosecutors and court clerks gives me an advantage over some of the other attorneys who might be in court one or two days a month. That’s why I think it’s beneficial to go with a straight criminal defense firm.
For more information on Penalties For Assault Convictions, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 309-6966 today.