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Utah Aggravated Assault Defense Attorney - Salt Lake Criminal Defense

A Utah aggravated assault conviction can leave you labeled as a convicted felon and result in substantial prison time. If you are facing prosecution for aggravated assault, you need an experienced criminal lawyer on your side. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has a proven record of achieving real results for his clients. He successfully protected his clients' rights in thousands of serious criminal cases, ranging from homicide to domestic violence. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Elements of a Utah Aggravated Assault Charge

Under Utah law, an aggravated assault charge consists of a simple assault charge, plus an aggravating factor. The aggravating factors that can turn a misdemeanor assault charge into a felony aggravated assault include use of a dangerous weapon, or the use of "other means or force likely to cause death or serious bodily injury." (Utah Code Ann. 76-5-103.) An aggravated assault charge can also be supported by evidence that the assault resulted in a "serious" bodily injury.

The term "serious" bodily injury is specifically defined by statute as meaning any bodily injury that "creates or causes serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or creates a substantial risk of death."

(A "substantial" bodily injury is less serious than a "serious" injury, and is defined as including any "bodily injury, not amounting to serious bodily injury, that creates or causes protracted physical pain, temporary disfigurement, or temporary loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ." An assault that results in a "substantial" bodily injury can result in a simple assault charge enhanced to the class A misdemeanor level.)

Penalties for an Aggravated Assault Conviction in Utah

A Utah aggravated assault charge begins at a third degree felony level, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. A third degree felony may be charged if the aggravated assault involves a weapon or a "substantial" bodily injury. In cases where a more "serious" injury occurs as a result of the assault, then the charge can be increased to a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A conviction for an aggravated assault charge is also considered a "violent felony." Absent a 402 reduction, a violent felony is an offense that cannot be expunged from your record.

Self Defense in a Utah Aggravated Assault Case

As an affirmative defense, self defense serves as a complete defense to a charge of aggravated assault. A "complete defense" means that even if you committed the acts alleged by the prosecutor, you may not be guilty of any crime. Applying Utah's self defense statute to your case can involve a complicated analysis. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and help you determine whether a self defense claim may be the best way to defend your case.

Other Related Charges Criminal Charges in Utah

A charge related to aggravated assault, but less serious, is "threatening or using a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel" (sometimes referred to as a "brandishing" charge). Although the differences between a "threatening" charge and an aggravated assault are sometimes subtle, your attorney may be able to convince a prosecutor that the case has been overcharged, and that the misdemeanor charge is more appropriate.

Another related criminal charge can be filed for simply possessing a weapon with the intent to commit an assault. This charge does not require to prove that an assault was committed or that any threats were made. But the prosecutor is required that the person had the actual intent to commit at assault.

Finding an Experienced Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing aggravated assault charges or other crimes in Utah, you should contact an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Stephen Howard has successfully protected his clients' rights in cases including homicide, aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and many more. Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation on your case.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense Trial AttorneyNot Guilty - Client was charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing handgun at and threatening another driver during a road rage incident. Defense investigation and analysis, combined with effective cross-examination at trial indicated the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and suported client's self-defense claim. Jury acquitted client at trial.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Expungement - Worked to restore client's expungement eligibility through 402 reduction process, then filed successful expungement petitions in multiple courts obtaining expungement orders and clearing client's official criminal history.
  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahProbation - Client charged with aggravated robbery based on allegations he entered a store with a gun and mask and demanded cash. Client confessed to police before hiring a defense attorney. Defense mitigation efforts resulted in a negotiated resolution that removed life in prison as a possibility, and secured a probation sentence from the court.
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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