Do I Need a Lawyer for Domestic Violence Charges in Utah?
Facing criminal charges for a felony, misdemeanor, or infraction can be an overwhelming experience. This is especially true for those who have never been exposed to Utah’s criminal justice system. Domestic violence charges can be particularly challenging because they can lead to a criminal conviction and steep fines. The best thing you or your loved one can do in such circumstances is contacting a Salt Lake City domestic violence defense lawyer from Overson Law, PLLC. We invite you to keep reading as we discuss why you need a lawyer for domestic violence charges in Utah and possible defenses against such charges.
Should I Contact a Lawyer for My Domestic Violence Charges in Utah?
Facing a criminal charge for a domestic violence offense in Utah is a serious matter. If you were charged with domestic abuse by your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or another cohabitant in Utah, you need to contact a criminal defense lawyer right away. Domestic violence laws in Utah are stringent and can turn your life upside down if an experienced attorney does not assist you.
According to Utah law, domestic violence can encompass a wide range of situations that might involve different people. For instance, you can be accused of domestic violence by any person who is at least 16 years old, lives with you, is related by blood or marriage, or is your child’s biological parent. Therefore, you can face domestic violence charges in a vast number of situations.
In addition to the many scenarios that can lead to your domestic violence charges, you may be exposed to suffer harsh criminal penalties. Having a criminal conviction on your record can lead to many difficulties in the future. It is always in your best interest to immediately hire a Utah criminal defense after being charged with domestic violence.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence in Utah and How Can a Lawyer Help?
Utah divides crimes into different categories. These categories are known as misdemeanors, felonies, and infractions. The extent and severity of your criminal penalties will depend on the classification of your charges.
Infractions are the lesser type of criminal charges. These criminal offenses are less severe than a misdemeanor and can lead to more lenient penalties. An excellent example of an infraction is a traffic violation. In Utah, an infraction can be punishable with up to $750. You may also be ordered to perform compensatory service, including working for a state or local government agency, nonprofit organization, or any other institution the court deems necessary. While infractions are relatively mild compared to different types of crimes, they still carry potentially devastating consequences. If your infraction is based on a violation of Utah’s criminal code, your conviction may appear on your criminal record.
Misdemeanors are the second type of criminal offense with which you can be charged. This type of criminal offense is higher than an infraction but lower than a felony. Utah divides misdemeanors into Class A, B, and C. Class C misdemeanors can be punished with up to 90 days in jail and up to $750 in criminal fines. Class B misdemeanors are punishable with up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Class A misdemeanors – the most severe type of misdemeanor – can be punishable with up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in criminal fines. A criminal conviction for any of these offenses will remain in your criminal history.
Felonies are the most severe types of criminal charges you can face. Utah divides felonies into first, second, and third-degree. The lower the degree, the more severe your penalties. For instance, if you are convicted of a third-degree felony, you can face up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Conversely, if you are convicted of a first-degree felony, you can get up to life in prison and up to $10,000 in criminal fines.
If you are charged and convicted for domestic violence in Utah, your criminal penalties can vary depending on your case’s circumstances. For instance, contacting an alleged victim before you are released on your domestic violence charges is considered a class B misdemeanor. As mentioned, you can face up to six months in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. However, your situation can worsen if you were arrested for a felony and contacted the alleged victim in violation of a protective order; your charges can elevate to a third-degree felony, which carries more severe penalties. It is always in your best interest to hire an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney.
Can I Defend Myself Against My Domestic Violence Charges in Utah?
Facing criminal charges for domestic violence doesn’t mean everything is lost. As a defendant, you have the right to challenge the other party’s allegations against you and provide evidence to defend yourself against your charges. There is a generalized misconception; an alleged victim is right on their arguments because they are “victims.” However, our experience has told us otherwise.
The following are some of the defenses you can use in your domestic violence case:
The Victim Lied
There have been countless cases where the plaintiff accuses the defendant out of spite or anger. Our St. George criminal defense attorney can analyze your specific situation and determine whether there are inconsistencies that may expose the truth behind the plaintiff’s allegations.
You can argue the whole situation was an accident. Yes, the victim’s injuries may be evident and readily determined, but accidents happen, and the alleged victim’s injuries may be the result of an unforeseen situation. The prosecutor has the challenging task of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to hurt the alleged victim. If they cannot prove intent, you cannot face a domestic violence conviction.
It Was an Accident
You may argue that you were present on the date of the alleged domestic violence episode. However, you can also say that the result of the alleged abuse was unintentional, and it was an accident. It is essential to let your Orem criminal defense lawyer know about this critical fact. Your attorney can take a more proactive approach and shift all their efforts into confirming that your domestic violence incident was nothing more than the product of an accident. To this effect, your lawyer can gather all the necessary evidence to establish a strategic and compelling defense to confirm your allegations.
Your Case Cannot Be Proven Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
In our criminal justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty. This is the principle that governs the way all defendants are treated as a principle of law. It is up to the prosecution to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime for which you were charged. The prosecutor has to find all the evidence needed to get you convicted. However, this doesn’t mean you have to sit complacently waiting for them to build their strategy. With your criminal defense attorney’s assistance, you can challenge the evidence gathered and presented in court, attack any weakness in the prosecutor’s case, cross-examine any “witnesses” to your alleged domestic violence and fight aggressively to defend your rights. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can assist you with all of these legal matters.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney for Domestic Violence in Utah
One of the critical aspects in your case is hiring the right Utah criminal defense attorney to handle it. Typically, a defendant has two choices when it comes to managing their case. Generally, a defendant can select a public defender to handle their case. Many defendants opt for a public defender because their services are free. There’s no denying that public defenders are well-prepared, and most of them are experienced in different fields. However, the fact that they can provide you with free services doesn’t mean you will get the quality services you need.
Public defenders are often swamped with a high load of cases and have to juggle their time and spread it across all their cases. In other words, a public defender may not have the time or focus required to take over your case. Instead, you’d have to settle with whatever defense they can build around their own time. Many times, this may not work in your favor.
The other option available to defendants is a private criminal defense attorney. Unlike public defenders, private attorneys can dedicate all their time, effort, and resources to your case, focusing on what matters; your defense. When an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney takes over your case, you can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, counter their evidence, and fight more aggressively than you otherwise would with a public defender.
What to Look for When Hiring a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney for Your Domestic Violence Charges
As a defendant in a domestic violence case in Utah, it is critical to make sure to take the right steps towards hiring a criminal defense attorney who can assist you. The last thing you want is to hire a criminal defense lawyer that cannot provide you with the quality legal representation you deserve. Over our many years of experience, we have identified some of the most important characteristics to look for in a criminal defense attorney:
Criminal law is broad, and it encompasses a wide range of crimes and offenses. When you select your criminal defense attorney, it would be best to check whether they specialize in an area related to your charges. All criminal defense attorneys have a general understanding of the criminal process and how the rules of criminal procedure work. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean all lawyers specialize in domestic violence. This particular type of case can be complicated, intricate, and nuanced. For this reason, you should select an attorney who dedicates a lot of their time working on cases similar to yours and understands how they work. Our Utah domestic violence lawyers can assist you.
One of the best characteristics of a good attorney is their responsiveness and willingness to work with their client. This can apply to any legal practice. However, responsiveness is essential in criminal cases because defendants are exposed to life-altering experiences, and they need someone to keep them in the loop at all times. It is critical to hire a criminal defense lawyer who is willing to guide you and help you understand what you can expect from your case. Our Utah criminal defense lawyers understand this principle and can guide you and keep you informed about your case’s details at all times.
Experience is paramount in criminal cases. Having a clear understanding of how criminal court works and what to look for in your particular case is essential. Having confidence in the courtroom, aggressively defending your rights, and ardently challenging the prosecution’s case is something you can only get through experience. Experience in court is something that cannot be overlooked, especially in a domestic violence case, where your freedom and future are at stake. Call our Utah domestic violence today, and let us put our experience to work for you.
When hiring a criminal defense attorney, it would be wise to do some research. Don’t be afraid to look at your lawyer’s record. Ask yourself whether “X” lawyer is the best one for your case. The more extensive your research, the better for you. It is critical that your criminal defense attorney is in good standing and doesn’t have a track record for being irresponsible, negligent, or lazy when handling their cases. Our West Valley City criminal defense lawyers have a track record for being aggressive, strategic, and persuasive in every case we handle. Call our law offices today for your free, confidential consultation.
Criminal Defense Attorney for Domestic Violence Charges in Utah
If you or a loved one was charged with domestic violence in Utah, we can help. Facing this type of charge can lead to devastating consequences. Our Salt Lake City, criminal defense lawyers from Overson Law, PLLC, can help you fight off your charges. We will put our legal experience to defend you or your loved one against the life-changing consequences of a criminal conviction in Utah. Call our law offices today and schedule your free, confidential consultation. Our phone number is (801) 758-2287.