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 incredibly strict 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, which may include 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 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 serious 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 serious 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.
One of the arguments you can use as a defense against your alleged crime is that the victim is lying about the abuse. There have been countless cases where the plaintiff accuses the defendant out of spite or anger. Our criminal defense attorney can analyze your specific situation and see if 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.
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.