If you have been charged with domestic violence in Salt Lake City or other areas of Utah, or if someone you know was recently arrested on domestic violence charges in Utah, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately for strategic and aggressive legal help.
Don’t wait to start discussing your legal options with a skilled defense lawyer who has handled thousands of felony and misdemeanor domestic abuse cases over more than 16 years practicing criminal law. Contact the law offices of Overson & Sheen at (801) 895-3143 today for a free and confidential legal consultation.
Were You Arrested and Charged with Domestic Violence in Utah?
Domestic violence is not a specific criminal charge like aggravated assault or drug possession. Instead, domestic violence is a broad term that applies to many different crimes which, under certain circumstances, are all considered to involve an element of domestic violence. Therefore, two defendants can be charged with very different types of offenses, and both be charged with domestic violence crimes.
Under Utah Code § 77-36-1(4), state law defines domestic violence as “any criminal offense involving violence or physical harm or threat of violence or physical harm, or any attempt… to commit a criminal offense involving violence or physical harm, when committed by one cohabitant against another.” In other words, domestic violence is a violent crime or attempted violent crime against a person the defendant lives with (cohabitates with).
Salt Lake domestic abuse attorney Darwin Overson represents defendants charged with a broad range of misdemeanor and felony offenses in all counties of Utah. Types of domestic violence charges that Darwin Overson handles in Utah include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Disorderly Conduct
- Electronic Communication Harassment
- Aggravated Murder
- Child Abuse Homicide
- Homicide by Assault
- Negligent Homicide
- Vehicular Homicide
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Child Kidnapping
- Possession of a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Assault
- Restraining Order Violations (Violating a Protective Order)
- Sex Crimes
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Child Pornography (Sexual Exploitation of a Minor)
- Forcible Sexual Abuse
- Sexual Abuse of a Child
- Sexual Abuse of a Minor
- Simple Assault
If you have been charged with any of these offenses, or if one of your family members has been arrested for domestic violence in Salt Lake City or other areas of Utah, you need Darwin’s help right away to begin planning a legal strategy.
Can a Domestic Assault Charge Be Dropped?
Movies and TV shows often make it seem as though crime victims can drop charges at will. In reality, however, this is not the case.
Though it is common for spouses, romantic partners, and family members to try to drop charges after alleging domestic abuse, the ultimate decision about filing charges is up to the prosecutor after the police have been notified about the alleged crime. If the prosecutor cannot gather enough evidence, the case may be dismissed.
Utah Domestic Violence Punishment
The punishment for domestic violence can be severe, especially if it is the defendant’s second or third offense. Under Utah Code § 77-36-1.1, state law establishes enhanced penalties for multiple domestic violence convictions.
If someone has a domestic violence conviction in their past, and is later convicted of a domestic abuse crime that is normally a Class C misdemeanor, the crime will be treated like a Class B misdemeanor, which is more serious, if the second offense was committed within five years of the first. Under the same circumstances, a Class B misdemeanor will become a Class A misdemeanor, and a Class A misdemeanor will become a third degree felony.
Jail Time and Fines for Domestic Abuse
Jail time or prison time and criminal fines for domestic violence depend on factors like:
- How the offense is categorized (e.g. Class C misdemeanor, Class B misdemeanor).
- Whether it is the defendant’s first domestic violence offense or a subsequent offense.
- Whether there were any aggravating factors.
Utah’s justice courts (Class C and B misdemeanors) and district courts (Class A misdemeanors and felonies) have the authority to impose the following fines and sentences for domestic violence convictions:
- Class C Misdemeanor
- Jail Time — Up to 90 days
- Fine — Up to $750
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Jail Time — Up to 6 months
- Fine — Up to $1,000
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Jail Time — Up to 1 year
- Fine — Up to $2,500
- Third Degree Felony
- Prison Sentence —Up to 5 years
- Fine — Up to $5,000
- Second Degree Felony
- Prison Sentence —1 to 15 years
- Fine — Up to $10,000
- First Degree Felony
- Prison Sentence —5 years to life in prison
- Fine — Up to $10,000
Restraining Order Violations in Utah
The Utah Code contains laws that create unique conditions for domestic violence charges. Under Utah Code § 77-36-2.7(3)(a), “[W]hen any defendant is charged with a crime involving domestic violence, the court may, during any court hearing where the defendant is present, issue a pretrial protective order,” or restraining order, which the defendant is bound to follow.
It is a serious crime to violate a restraining order issued in response to a domestic violence charge. If the underlying charge was a misdemeanor, violating the resulting restraining order is a Class A misdemeanor. If the underlying charge was a felony, violating the resulting restraining order is a third degree felony.
Salt Lake City Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Offering Free Consultations
Based in Salt Lake City, domestic violence defense lawyer Darwin Overson handles cases throughout Salt Lake County and the state of Utah, including Layton, Lehi, Logan, Millcreek, Orem, Provo, Sandy, South Jordan, Taylorsville, West Jordan, West Valley City, and other communities throughout Summit County, Wasatch County, Utah County, Rich County, Cache County, Box Elder County, Tooele County, and more. Darwin is also available to make attorney visits to detention centers and county jails throughout the state.
You deserve quality legal representation. Call the law offices of Overson & Sheen at (801) 895-3143 for a free and confidential consultation.