While assault sounds like a simple charge it is in fact very complicated and can include a lot of different things. Even when people use the phrase simple assault that still could mean two different possible actions. The baseline for this crime is an attempt to do bodily injury or an act that causes bodily injury or creates a risk of bodily injury. The important thing for most people to realize with this charge is that it doesn’t necessarily need to be the type of violence that is commonly associated with assault, like a punch or a kick. Actions like pushing, grabbing, or holding ones hand over another’s mouth, all are common actions that could result in being charged and/or convicted. The other big factors that come into play with assault cases are aggravated assault and domestic violence.
Agg Assault as it is often called is when an assault charge includes additionally elements that the legislature believes are so severe that the charge should be increased to a more serious crime. What this includes is an attempt, threat, or act that causes bodily injury that also involves a dangerous weapon or a force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury, including anything that impedes breathing or the circulation of blood, like choking. As previously stated an aggravated charge is a much more serious offense and can be charged as a second or third degree felony depending on the facts of the case.
While there is a lot of talk about domestic violence there isn’t actually a specific domestic violence crime in Utah. Instead in the criminal justice system here domestic violence is a special moniker that can be added to other charges. So for example an assault charge could just be a simple non DV related offense or it could be domestic violence related based on the alleged victim. In most cases a domestic violence offense is applied because the alleged victim is the defendant’s spouse or significant other, however domestic violence also applies to any cohabitant which includes current and former spouses/significant others; family members, and roommates.
Violent crimes like assault are serious offenses that carry steep penalties and increased fines. If you are facing a violent crime offense its very important you hire private counsel to represent you. This is a complicated area of the law that will have an in extremely negative impact on your life and because of that an experienced attorney is crucial to make sure you don’t suffer more than you have to.