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Reports: Utah Defensive Back Domonique Hatfield arrested

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Swirling rumors turned into a report that Dominique Hatfield was arrested on suspicion of aggravated robbery. Here's a quick look at what kind of crime we're talking about and what it might mean for Mr. Hatfield. If these reports are true, an indefinite suspension from the team is the least of his worries.

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It has been reported that Domonique Hatfield, Utah's projected starting cornerback, was arrested early this morning and booked on suspicion of aggravated robbery. It's important to remember through this process that individuals are innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law. The Constitution guarantees any defendant the benefit of the doubt, so we should grant Hatfield the same dignity as individuals and fans.

Aggravated robbery is an extremely serious violent crime. Robbery means to deprive a person of property by the use of force or fear. Aggravated means that the individual either used or threatened to use a weapon, or that the person inflicted serious bodily injury without the use of a weapon. Serious bodily injury includes knocking a person unconscious, depriving them of the use of a limb or eye, or other injuries.

Hatfield was reportedly charged with a first degree felony [UPDATE: Hatfield was arrested on suspicion of a first degree felony, no charges have formally been filed]. In Utah, this degree of offense carries a prison term of no less than five years and potentially as long as life in prison. It also carries a potential fine of $10,000, which the defendant would have to pay in addition to restitution(medical bills, lost wages, damaged property, etc.) and court surcharges.

The likely resolution for a case like this varies, and depends a great deal on the specific facts of the case and the defendant's record. There's a wide range of possible conduct that could constitute aggravated burglary, and judges, juries, and prosecutors tend to look carefully at cases like this. I don't know any of the specific facts about Hatfield's situation, but I have seen a few of these cases in my time as an attorney and law clerk.

In my experience, provided that charges are brought and that the case against the defendant is not dismissed and that he or she is eventually found guilty, resolutions for these kinds of offenses usually involve spending time in the Utah prison system and fines in excess of $10,000.