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Criminal Defense Attorney Stephen Howard
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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 alleged attack using broken bottle as a weapon. Despite the testimony of numerous prosecution witnesses, thorough defense investigation to support a self-defense claim resulted in acquittal by jury at trial.
  • Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony drug distribution charge and potential life in prison. Charges were based on allegations that client had sold drugs to an undercover police officer, then made a full confession. Successful mitigation work resulted in negotiated offer of misdemeanor plea-in-abeyance and ultimate dismissal of case.
  • Utah Expungement Attorney Salt Lake Davis 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.
  • Utah Burglary Attorney Not Guilty - Client was charged with residential felony burglary and theft charges. Effective cross-examination of alleged victim at preliminary hearing resulted in an admission by the alleged victim that the charges were based on a false report to police, made for the purpose of getting revenge against the defendant. Case was dismissed outright.
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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

The materials in this website are intended for informational purposes only, and are not legal advice. Viewing or responding to materials in this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. Read Full Disclaimer.