karatelyle wrote:This bill would make some current Class A Misdemeanors 3rd degree felonies.
-Assaulting a uniformed police officer while preforming their lawful duties
-Assaulting a uniformed military personnel while preforming lawful duties or under orders to preform duties
-Assaulting medical personnel while preforming their duties (includes emergency medical personnel)
-Assaults an employee of a public or private school with knowledge that the individual is an employee, and when the employee is acting within the scope of the employee's authority
This is classic felony creep. Remember that conviction for any
felony results in lifetime loss of RKBA as well as a host of other rights and privileges including the ability to work many jobs.
Also, bear in mind that while "assault" sounds very serious, under State code it includes some very minor acts.
(1) Assault is:
(a) an attempt, with unlawful force or violence, to do bodily injury to another;
(b) a threat, accompanied by a show of immediate force or violence, to do bodily injury to another; or
(c) an act, committed with unlawful force or violence, that causes bodily injury to another or creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to another.
(2) Assault is a class B misdemeanor.
(3) Assault is a class A misdemeanor if:
(a) the person causes substantial bodily injury to another; or
(b) the victim is pregnant and the person has knowledge of the pregnancy.
(4) It is not a defense against assault, that the accused caused serious bodily injury to another.
So everything from actually causing bodily injury down through attempting to do bodily injury (not serious injury mind you all the way down to merely making a credible
threat to cause injury (not serious injury mind you, just "injury") are all treated the same under Utah code.
Other States tend to separate out "assault" (the credible threat of injury) from "battery" (unwanted or offensive touching or contact).
The situation the OP described of wresting away from a teacher and deflecting further attempts by the teacher to grab an arm would qualify as "assault" in Utah. The guy who is emotionally distraught and considering suicide who threatens to "take you out with me if you get any closer" has committed assault if he has any credible way to actually effect that threat including any weapon in hand or even the ability to grab a person and force them off the bridge with him.
Consider also the guy whose house is burning down who forces his way past a cop to go back inside to try to save his wife or kids? If the cop is injured, at all, in the process the guy has committed assault. Ditto the victim of a car crash or other injury who instinctively kicks or swings an arm in pain and injures a paramedic.
Should any of these relatively minor offenses become lifetime bans on RKBA? Of course not.
Furthermore, because of the lifetime implications of a felony conviction, all a prosecutor has to do is charge you with any felony and every lawyer out there will tell you that if you can possibly get a plea deal for a misdemeanor you better take it; doubly so if the plea does not involve jail time. The cost to defend against a felony and the risk if you lose are just too high. Simply put, prosecutors LOVE to have felonies available; they make their jobs really easy. Charge with a felony, accept a plea for misdemeanor. It is a lot easier than charging with a misdemeanor and actually having to win a conviction. Bear in mind, most misdemeanor crimes also have felony counterparts that exist today. So, if you cause serious
bodily injury, or use a weapon, Utah has aggravated assault that can carry felony charges. It is appropriate and necessary that there be felony and misdemeanor versions of crimes that are similar in conduct so that an appropriate charge can be brought and some sense of justice done.
A bill very similar to this was introduced a couple of years ago and GOUtah! opposed it and helped defeat it. This bill, likewise needs to be defeated.
If an assault is serious enough to warrant felony charges, that law already exists. If an "assault" is not that serious today, it does not need to carry felony penalties simply because the victim belonged to some special group. Not to mention the fact that cops, soldiers, and even medical pros are actually trained in how to protect and defend themselves from the conduct of others. All else being equal, they are less likely to be seriously injured by someone's momentary mistake than say a 90 year old woman.