Self-Defense Is A Viable Defense To A Charge Of Assault In Utah

Interviewer: In a fight, both parties are mutually attacking, but there are times where it’s more along the lines of self-defense, right?

Court Koehler: Yes. There’s self-defense. Self-defense would be a defense to a charge of assault. You, obviously, you have to prove that you were in danger. Under the law you have the right to defend yourself with like force. So, if someone comes at you and they’re going to punch you or hit you or something like that, then you have the right to defend yourself by punching or hitting them back. You can’t, necessarily, pull out a gun and shoot them. That’s deadly force and that’s not going to count as a defense of self-defense. There is that self-defense kind of a defense, and that is one of the most common sorts of defenses that you would use. A lot of times these cases will come down to a claim of self-defense based on mutual fight.

There are Cases of Assault Involving Women But It’s More Common to See Men Fighting Amongst Themselves

Interviewer: Is it more common to see a man versus another guy? Or are something women involved in the fray?

Court Koehler: You do see assaults with women, but yeah, most commonly it’s going to be men. Men tend to be more aggressive, just by their natures. They tend to resort to fighting more easily and more commonly than women, I guess. Not to stereotype anybody, but you do see it with women as well. Sometimes you’ll see it between women and men. Typically that would be a domestic violence situation. Long story short, it’s more common with men.

Possessing a Weapon During a Fight Can Lead to Aggravated Charges of Assault

Interviewer: Could I get into a problem or situation in my work to? Let’s say I get into a fight with someone. We both get arrested and they find that I have a gun or a knife in my pocket. Does that worsen the case?

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Court Koehler: Yeah. Typically, if you’ve got a situation where you have a gun in your pocket, then I think really what your more serious concern at that time is going to be a charge of having a weapon on you. If you have a permit for it than I suppose that’s okay. If you don’t, if you’re not using it in the assault, just because you happen to lawfully carrying a weapon, you’ll be okay. If you have something illegal on you, then you’re going to face charges for that. Obviously, if you’re using it in the assault, then as we already talked about, that’s going to be an aggravating factor.

Eye Witness Testimony Carries Considerable Weight In Cases Involving Assault

Interviewer: What are some examples of how people will unintentionally get themselves in trouble when it comes to stuff over the phone with threats and what not?

Court Koehler: The nature of the fault, just the nature of the crime is interesting because unless you have a police officer standing right there watching you, they don’t really know what happened. I kind of alluded to earlier, it depends a lot on what the witnesses say. Particularly when you have cases with domestic violence, there might not be any other witnesses other than the person that’s complaining or calling the police. If you have a history of problems with your significant other and the police have been to your house before. They’re going to give the benefit of the doubt to somebody that’s reporting you for a domestic violence situation, or even if just a regular assault, if it’s a neighborhood kind of a thing and they know who you are.

People May Exaggerate and Overstate their Complaints to the Authorities

A lot of times people will over state their complaints to the police, they’ll exaggerate. What is originally kind of an innocent fight and maybe somebody went a little too far by throwing a tantrum, or throwing something against the wall, or getting out of control and losing their temper, can turn into something that looks really bad. It looks like you threw a plate at somebody, or it looks like you threw a shoe at somebody, or you were going to hit somebody. Assault is kind of a scary crime that way, because it really does depend on what somebody’s going to say that you did.

By Court Koehler

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