Domestic abuse charges in Lehi come with serious penalties. These are often some of the most difficult cases for individuals to go through since the parties know each other.
Thus, it is critical that you get help from our experienced domestic abuse defense lawyers. Domestic violence charges can impact not only your freedom but your relationships and reputation. Domestic abuse cases are complex since there are many forms of recognized abuse in Utah.
For a free case evaluation with our domestic abuse defense attorneys, contact Overson & Bugden today at (801) 758-2287.
Understanding Domestic Abuse Laws in Lehi, UT
Domestic abuse is a particular type of harm or violence perpetrated by one cohabitant on another in Lehi. Domestic abuse can be charged in addition to other crimes like assault but is defined in Utah as violence between those living with each other. Most domestic violence cases involve spouses, family members, roommates, and others that share the same home. Thus, it is common for a domestic abuse charge to accompany other charges underlying the incident, like harassment, battery, or assault.
Domestic violence does not have to be purely physical violence, either. A person can be charged with domestic abuse if they threaten someone they reside with or frighten them in a way that is illegal. This can make domestic abuse extremely messy. Fortunately, our domestic abuse defense attorneys can help you defend your rights and determine the next step in your defense. Domestic abuse can be attached to virtually any crime since the defining feature of the charge is that it is committed by cohabitants.
However, “cohabitants” has a broad definition under Utah Code § 78B-7-102. Most people that live together are considered cohabitants under the law. Still, domestic abuse charges can be applied in cases where the parties do not live together but share a close relationship. For instance, a person can be charged with domestic abuse if they commit a crime against a romantic partner, even if they do not reside together. A person could also be charged with domestic abuse if they commit a crime against the woman carrying their child, regardless of whether they live together or are involved romantically.
Other cohabitant relationships are not subject to domestic abuse charges. For instance, minor children and their parents are not considered cohabitants under Utah law, and domestic abuse charges would not apply. Instead, domestic abuse in these situations would typically be charged as child abuse, which carries its own specific penalties.
Types of Abuse that Can Be Charged as Domestic Abuse in Lehi, UT
As mentioned, domestic abuse in Lehi is not limited to just physical violence or harm but also includes other forms of abuse from a cohabitant, including emotional and sexual abuse. Defending against a domestic abuse charge can be difficult but even more challenging in cases where physical abuse is not the type of abuse being alleged. However, individuals can face serious life consequences regardless of the type of abuse being claimed.
Arguably the most common form of abuse in Lehi domestic violence cases is physical abuse. Physical abuse is any physical act that causes bodily harm or injury. This type of abuse often involves using force, like punching, slapping, grabbing, pushing, and any other physical contact meant to harm or intimidate.
However, not all physical abuse allegations are legitimate. Sometimes, a cohabitant might make charges of physical abuse against another to get back at them. In romantic relationships, a partner might make physical abuse allegations because they are jealous or wants to punish the cohabitant. If you have been falsely accused of physical violence, you can fight these charges since there will likely be no evidence to back up their claims.
Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior used to control, intimidate, or manipulate a cohabitant. Emotional abuse often includes verbal insults, intimidation, threats, and isolation. Emotional abuse can manifest in many forms manifested in different forms. For example, name-calling, controlling every aspect of a person’s life, destroying a cohabitant’s possessions, or punching walls could be considered emotional abuse.
Domestic abuse cases where emotional abuse is alleged can be extremely difficult on the party charged. Their behavior might not have risen to the level of emotional abuse. Determining the truth of the matter can be difficult since the crime is between people that are usually intimate with each other. Like physical abuse cases, some defendants might be the victims of a cohabitant attempting to get revenge by making false allegations against them.
Sexual abuse in domestic abuse cases occurs when someone forces a romantic partner or cohabitant to take part in unwanted sexual activity or makes a cohabitant feel like they are being forced to have sex. A cohabitant can face life-altering consequences if convicted of a domestic abuse crime involving sexual abuse. Proving innocence in these cases can be difficult without an experienced legal defense team. Many cases involve allegations by former spouses and romantic partners that they did not consent to their sexual encounters with the defendant. However, these allegations still need to be supported by evidence to be convicted of this most serious crime.
How Domestic Abuse is Penalized in Lehi, UT
The penalties for domestic abuse crimes can be severe and life-changing in Lehi. Because domestic abuse is defined as a crime committed between parties that know each other, it is considered very serious. Even first-time offenders can face serious consequences. However, if there are aggravating factors in a defendant’s case, they could face more significant penalties.
Domestic abuse can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the facts of the case. The least severe penalty for domestic abuse charges is a Class C misdemeanor. Class C misdemeanors can be punished by up to 90 days in jail and around $750 in fines. If the defendant already has a past conviction for domestic abuse, they could be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and fines of around $1,000. Class A misdemeanors will be charged for more serious domestic abuse cases and can be punished with up to one year of imprisonment and up to $2,500 in criminal fines.
If you have had other convictions or there are other aggravating circumstances, the charges could be upgraded to a third-degree felony. Felonies carry serious penalties, and a conviction for a third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and around $5,000 in fines.
Our Lehi, UT Domestic Abuse Defense Lawyers Can Help
Call Overson & Bugden today at (801) 758-2287 to receive a free case review with our domestic abuse defense attorneys.