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Utah Criminal Code 76-5-102.5

Utah Criminal Code 76-5-102.5

Utah Criminal Code 76-5-102.5: Assault By Prisoner

Any prisoner who commits assault, intending to cause bodily injury, is guilty of a felony of the third degree.


The threat or attempt to strike another, whether successful or not, provided the target is aware of the danger. The assaulter must be reasonably capable of carrying through the attack. In some states if the assault is with a deadly weapon, the intended victim does not need to know of the peril. Other state laws distinguish between different degrees (first or second) of assault depending on whether there is actual hitting, injury or just a threat. Includes the act of putting another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of an immediate battery by means of an act amounting to an attempt or threat to commit a battery.


The actual intentional striking of someone, with intent to harm, or in a “rude and insolent manner” even if the injury is slight. Negligent or careless unintentional contact is not battery no matter how great the harm.
Assault and Battery: Assault performed in conjunction with an actual battery.

Aggravated Assault

The crime of physically attacking another person, which results in serious bodily harm and/or is made with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Aggravated assault is usually a felony punishable by a term in state prison.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

An aggravated assault in which the defendant, controlling a deadly weapon, threatens the victim with death or serious bodily injury.

Sexual Assault

Sexual intercourse with another person without that person’s consent (rape); offensive sexual contact with another person, exclusive of rape.

Assault with Intent

Any assault that is carried out with an additional criminal purpose in mind.

Other types of Violent Crimes include: Mayhem, Domestic Violence, Murder, Vehicular Manslaughter, Kidnapping, Arson, Terrorist Threats, Child Abuse and Sexual Child Abuse, Carjacking, Hit & Run.

Consequences of a Conviction of Assault and Battery in Utah

Consequences for the conviction of Assault and Battery may potentially include:
• Imprisonment
• Probation or parole
• Anger management class
• Significant fines
• Loss of the right to own a deadly weapon
• Other

Determining Punishment for Assault and Battery in Utah

Likelihood of any of the above consequences depends upon the following factors:
• Prior similar convictions
• Any other prior convictions
• Currently on probation or parole
• Attitude of community and court toward this type of crime
• Degree of media attention on case
• Mitigating/aggravating circumstances
• Other

Defenses to Utah Assault and Battery Charges

Defenses for Assault and Battery may potentially include:
• Defense of others (loved ones)
• Insufficient evidence
• Factual innocence
• Self defense
• Defense of property
• Other

An assault charge in Utah can range in severity from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on factors like how seriously the victim was injured, whether the defendant used a gun or other dangerous weapon, and whether the victim was pregnant at the time of the alleged attack. Jail time is a sentencing possibility for defendants who are convicted of aggravated or simple assault. In addition to jail or prison time, the judge may also impose other penalties, such as fines and probation, where the defendant has to obey certain rules and restrictions for a set period of time. The defendant may also be required to pay restitution, which is compensation for the victim’s injuries and losses. Because of the harsh consequences an assault conviction can lead to including a criminal record and increased difficulty getting a job it is very important to be represented by an experienced Utah assault attorney who understands what sorts of defense strategies are most effective in cases involving violent crimes.

Jail Time For Simple Assault In Utah

There are two broad types of assault charges in Utah: “simple” assault, which is a misdemeanor, and the more serious crime of “aggravated” assault, which is a felony. Simple assault is prosecuted under Utah Code 76-5-102. This statute gives two definitions for simple assault:
• Injuring someone, or even creating a major risk of injury to someone, by using force or violence.
• Attempting to injure someone by acting with force or violence.
Merely creating a substantial risk of bodily injury can give rise to assault charges. However, it may be possible to beat the charges by showing that the defendant did not act unlawfully, acted in self-defense, acted in defense of their house or other property, or did not actually create a risk of injury. In most cases, simple assault is a Class B misdemeanor. While there is no mandatory sentence for simple assault in Utah, the judge can still sentence the defendant to as much as six months in jail not to mention up to $1,000 in fines. However, a skilled Utah criminal attorney may be able to persuade a sentencing judge that a lighter penalty for assault would be more appropriate, particularly in cases where it is the defendant’s first offense. Though typically a Class B misdemeanor, there are also a few situations where simple assault is a Class A misdemeanor, which has a longer maximum sentence. (For context, any crime more serious than a Class A misdemeanor is a felony.) Simple assault is a Class A misdemeanor if:
• The victim was pregnant when the alleged assault took place, and the defendant knew about it.
• The victim’s injuries are considered “substantial.” A “substantial bodily injury” is worse than an unclassified injury (simply described as “bodily injury”), but not as severe as a “serious bodily injury,” which will result in aggravated assault charges. Again, there is no mandatory sentence for assault under Utah Code 76-5-102, even when charged as a Class A misdemeanor. However, the defendant can potentially be sentenced to a full year in jail. The defendant can also be ordered to pay as much as $2,500 in fines.

Unlike simple assault, which is a misdemeanor, aggravated assault is always a felony. Not only are the punishments worse so is the damage to the defendant’s reputation. While some employers may be willing to overlook misdemeanor offenses, having a violent felony attached to your name can pose serious problems when you’re trying to find a job or move upward in your career. State law also prohibits former felons from owning or buying guns under penalty of additional criminal charges. There are several situations where simple assault turns into aggravated assault – for example, if the defendant uses a dangerous weapon (like a knife or firearm), or uses enough force that death or serious injury become “likely.” Depending on how badly the victim is hurt, aggravated assault is either a second degree felony or third degree felony. The sentence for third degree felony aggravated assault ranges anywhere from no prison time at all (probation) to five years in prison, with a possible fine of $5,000. There is a minimum sentence of one year in prison for second degree felony aggravated assault, though the maximum sentence can be as long as 15 years. The defendant can also be ordered to pay fines as high as $10,000.

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.

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. 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.

Everyone is entitled to their civil rights, including prisoners. Unfortunately, many forms of civil rights abuses do occur in prisons. Common prisoner rights violations include:
 Holding prisoners in outdated prisons that are unsanitary or unsafe
 The sexual harassment or assault of prisoners by prison guards
 Preventing a prisoner from complaining about prison conditions to outside parties, such as the courts
 Punishing a prisoner for complaining about the prison to outside parties
 Subjecting a prisoner to torture or other forms of cruel and unusual punishment
 Denying a prisoner medical attention, or providing inadequate medical attention or facilities

Disabled Prisoners’ Rights

Disabled prisoners’ rights are protected under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Rehabilitation Act is applicable to facilities managed by federal agencies and to state or local agencies that are funded by the federal government. The ADA supervises the facilities managed by state and local agencies, whether or not they receive monies from the federal government. Disabled prisoners have filed lawsuits in order to obtain access to such things as facilities, programs, and services. For instance, prisoners have sued to gain the ability to use prison bathroom facilities as well as to be safeguarded from injury. Prisoners who are deaf or hearing-impaired have filed suit to have sign language interpreters present at disciplinary hearings; they have also sued to obtain classification decisions, counseling on HIV-AIDS, and programs concerning their education and vocation.

Prisoner Privileges

Rights are guaranteed to all prisoners, but access to many prison privileges is based on behavior. Inmates with a history of infractions may be confined to their cells for longer periods of time during the day, or they may be forced to wear prison uniforms while other inmates can wear their own clothes. Other common privileges include access to entertainment, work, and money. Many prisons have televisions in common areas, but some inmates may have one in their cells to pass the time. Depending on the status of their imprisonment, they may also be allowed to work. Generally, prisoners cannot choose their assignments or refuse an assignment, and the wages they earn for work are well below the minimum wage. Most work occurs in the prison or jail, though some inmates may be granted work release, which allows them to do work such as trash collection outside the facility. Another common privilege is access to personal money that can be used to purchase items from prison commissaries such as cigarettes. Markups on commissary items are usually significant, and this privilege is often one of the first to be revoked for behavior infractions.

Will Hiring An Attorney Early On Make Someone Look Guilty In an Assault Case?

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. 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.

Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you need legal help with a criminal case in Utah, please call the defense attorneys at Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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