With the slow economy, states across the nation have slashed funding to important services, including law enforcement and public safety, leaving residents nervous about their health and safety. Surprisingly, the rates of violent crimes have dropped in the country, with an average national decrease of six percent nationwide according to an FBI report. This FBI report includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault in the definition of “violent crime.”
This FBI study has also found that Utah experienced a drop of two percent in violent crimes during 2010, compared to the previous year. Most astonishing is the sharp decrease in violent crime statistics in cities such as St. George, located in Williamson County, which saw a 26% decrease. All of this, despite fewer resources available to law enforcement agencies!
However, the sluggish violent crime rates in Utah do not mean that the state is lenient to convicted offenders. In fact, Utah’s statutes contain harsh penalties for violent crime offenders, which may contribute to the comparatively low rates in the studies conducted by the FBI.
Among the types of violent crimes, assault is probably the most commonplace in Utah and across the country. Assault can even be considered a crime of passion in many cases as the alleged action is often the result of a strong impulse of rage or betrayal. While a first time assault offense in Utah can potentially be classified as a Class B misdemeanor (up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines), it can still appear on background checks. Given the frequent use of background checks by potential employers, a person convicted of a violent crime in Utah may find many opportunities closed to them. In this economy, the threat of this fate can serve as a strong deterrence.
Robbery crime rates in Utah are also among the lowest in the nation. Under Utah Criminal Code Section 76-6-301, an adult arrested for robbery in Salt Lake City can find him or herself facing steep penalties. Even a first robbery offense by a person with no prior criminal record can be punished a second degree felony. This is punishable by a prison sentence of one to 15 years and a fine of up to $10,000. The penalty for aggravated robbery (in which a dangerous weapon is used or injury is caused) is even more severe as a first degree felony offense, potentially leading to life imprisonment and a hefty fine.
If you have been charged with a violent crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, it’s important to closely examine all of your legal options. Even if the odds appear stacked against you, you do have rights and an experienced assault attorney in Salt Lake City can help weaken the prosecution’s case against you. Regardless of the circumstances of your alleged offense, there are multiple paths which an attorney can use to pursue dismissed charges, minimized sentencing, and other favorable outcomes.