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Threatening or Using a Dangerous Weapon - Utah Criminal Attorney

Threatening or using a dangerous weapon during a fight can result in up to a year in jail and nearly $5,000 in fines and surcharge. Stephen Howard has successfully represented clients in literally thousands of serious criminal cases, achieving dismissals or not guilty verdicts for violent offenses including weapons charges, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, and more. If you are facing prosecution for a weapons charge or other criminal offense, you need an attorney with real experience on your side. Based in Salt Lake City, criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard has the experience, skill, and determination to help you get the results you need. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

Elements of a Criminal Charge for Threatening or Using a Dangerous Weapon

Threatening or using a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel (sometimes referred to as a "brandishing" charge) is considered a crime under Utah law if a person "draws or exhibits" a dangerous weapon "in an angry and threatening manner" or "unlawfully uses" a dangerous weapon in a "fight or quarrel," and does so in the presence of two or more persons.

Self Defense as an Affirmative Legal Defense in Utah

Threatening to use a dangerous weapon is not always a criminal act. Under Utah criminal law, a a person is allowed to threaten or even use a dangerous weapon in self defense or in order to prevent another person from committing an assault or otherwise using unlawful force. But the use of force in self defense or defending another person must be "reasonable" based on all surrounding circumstances. If you are charged with threatening to use a dangerous weapon, you should speak immediately to an experienced criminal defense attorney to determine what defenses may be available to you.

Other Related Utah Criminal Offenses

There can be a fine line between a misdemeanor charge of "threatening or using a dangerous weapon" and a felony charge of aggravated assault. The difference can sometimes be based on very subtle differences in the facts of an individual case. A prosecutor may even, under some circumstances, amend the misdemeanor "threatening" charge to become a felony aggravated assault. If the weapon has been concealed, an additional criminal charge can be filed carrying a concealed weapon. If a threat is made that does not involve a weapon, a lesser charge of making a "threat of violence" can be charged.

Contacting a Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City

Courts and prosecutors take weapons charges very seriously. If you have been accused of threatening or using a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel, contact us to schedule an initial consultation. Find out what an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer can do for you.


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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.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah Expungement Lawyer Expunged - Client with prior conviction for violent felony was ineligible for expungement through the courts. A successful 2-step reduction restored expungement eligibility and ultimately led to the court's decision to grant the requested expungement.
  • 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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