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Bill would increase penalties for attacking police, corrections officers

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would increase the penalty for causing "substantial bodily injury" to a police officer or an employee of a correctional facility is headed to the Utah House for consideration.

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, presented HB477 Monday to the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. Causing "substantial bodily injury" to a peace officer or a correctional officer becomes a third-degree felony under the bill.

Throwing anything at an officer is a class A misdemeanor by default, except under certain circumstances when it becomes a third-degree felony and subject to one to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, according to current state law.

Existing law makes it a third-degree felony to assault an officer with any object or substance carrying blood, urine or fecal matter, or if it is saliva carrying an infectious agent such as HIV, and it hits an officer's face or makes contact with any open wound.

The committee voted 10-0 to advance the bill to the full House.