Utah Domestic Violence Charges Defense Lawyer
If a person is charged with domestic violence, they can face a number of severe penalties if they are convicted of those offenses. In some cases, being charged with domestic violence could lead to other issues for the defendant. For example, the alleged victim could file for a restraining order that could lead to other complications for the defendant if they cohabitate with the alleged victim. If you were arrested for domestic violence, contact an experienced Utah domestic violence defense lawyer.
Overson Law, PLLC, is committed to working with you to help pursue a desirable outcome for your domestic violence case. Our firm understands the stress and uncertainty that can accompany being charged with a serious offense like domestic violence, and we are here for you in your time of need. To discuss your domestic violence claim, contact Overson Law, PLLC, at (801) 758-2287. You may also contact the firm online using our short submission form.
Utah Domestic Violence Laws
The State of Utah defines domestic violence as physical harm or a threat of violence made by a cohabitant against another cohabitant. Domestic violence is different from other claims like assault and battery because domestic violence typically occurs between family members, spouses, or other parties that reside in the same household. Utah also criminalizes the attempt, conspiracy, or the solicitation of a domestic violence crime.
Domestic violence can be charged as part of a number of other crimes. For example, harassment is often charged in conjunction with domestic violence. An individual can be charged with harassment if they frighten or attempt to intimidate another person using a written or recorded message. Harassment is often added to a defendant’s list of domestic violence-related offenses if the defendant contacts the victim after being arrested for domestic violence.
In some cases, a court may issue a restraining order against a defendant after an incident of domestic violence. The purpose of this restraining order is typically to prevent the defendant from abusing the alleged victim any further. However, this is not the only reason that a court may issue a restraining order. Other reasons for a restraining order include the following:
Preventing the defendant from contacting the alleged victim
When a judge grants a restraining order in a domestic violence case, they expect it to be followed. A person to whom a protective order is issued cannot contact the alleged victim. This prohibition extends to all forms of communication. The court will expect the alleged abuser to refrain from sending letters, e-mails, text messages, or voicemails. If a person violates their restraining orders, they may face severe consequences.
If you received a restraining order, it would be best to follow it. There have been countless cases where the recipient of a restraining order decides to confront the alleged victim. Many times, contacting the alleged victim under these circumstances – even if you believe you are right – can work against you. For example, a judge may find you in contempt for breaching your restraining order, which can lead to devastating consequences. Our Utah domestic violence charges defense lawyers can help you understand what to expect from your restraining order and avoid costly mistakes.
Prohibiting the defendant from visiting any place frequented by the alleged victim
Part of a restraining order may require you to refrain from visiting any place frequented by the alleged victim. Most of the time, the restraining order’s recipient will be asked to stop visiting the alleged victim’s house, workplace, favorite supermarket, and any other place they may frequently visit.
This may be challenging for most people under a restraining order. This is especially true if their spouse filed the restraining order. There have been many instances where couples frequent the same places and may run into each other by accident. The alleged victim may see this as an attempt to make contact, which they can report. In these circumstances, you may run into trouble with the law.
Over our many years of practice in Utah, we have seen cases where a defendant may get in significant trouble for something that is out of their control. If you run into your ex-spouse or a domestic partner, it is essential to contact a lawyer immediately, especially if your restraining order is still on. Darwin Overson can help you fight off any allegation that may put your freedom at risk while under a restraining order in Utah.
Petitioning an Emergency Child Custody Order
The court may grant emergency child custody orders when a minor is under imminent danger or risk of harm. This is especially true in situations involving potential sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect – among other situations. Petitioning an emergency custody order can make it look like you are or have put your children’s life or safety at risk. While this is a serious matter, the petitioner cannot just show up to court and argue that they need an emergency child custody order.
Typically, the party asking for an emergency child custody order has to prove their allegations. In other words, they need to make sure they have enough evidence to support their claim. If the other party cannot show, through evidence, that you are in any way a danger to your children, the emergency child custody order cannot be granted. However, it is always in your best interests to hire an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney who can challenge the other party’s evidence and fight against your alleged offenses.
Ex Parte Orders
If a court issues a pre-trial restraining order, the defendant will be charged with additional offenses if they violate the order before their trial.
Additionally, a court may also issue an ex parte order even when a person has not been formally charged with domestic violence. This may occur if a victim has been abused or believe they will face abuse petitions the court for protection. An ex parte order can result in the following circumstances:
- Prohibiting a defendant from owning a firearm or another dangerous weapon
- Awarding the petitioner of temporary custody of children
- Preventing a defendant from committing domestic violence
This is not an exhaustive list. To learn more about the penalties for domestic violence, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Utah domestic violence defense lawyer. With your criminal defense attorney’s assistance, you can fight to make your case against the other party’s ex-parte petition. Our experienced domestic violence charges defense lawyers can help defend you against your ex’s petition and uphold your rights at all times.
Criminal Offenses that Can Be Domestic Violence in Utah
Domestic violence in Utah can take many different forms. There are multiple ways in which a person can be charged with this severe crime, which can – and many times will – lead to devastating consequences. An individual can get a restraining order in scenarios involving one or more of the following:
Physical abuse is one of the most common types of domestic violence. Typically, it involves things such as hitting, slapping, punching, and shoving – among many other violent actions. In short, any physical action inflicted upon a victim can be classified as physical abuse. If you have been charged with domestic violence for allegedly physically abusing another cohabitant, it is essential to get experienced legal representation.
There have been many circumstances where one cohabitant alleges physical abuse to get back at the other cohabitant. Many times, things like jealousy play a significant role in this type of allegation. However, with your criminal defense attorney’s assistance, you can fight these allegations by challenging the petitioner’s claims or alleged evidence. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can assist you if you were charged with physical abuse.
Domestic violence can also take the form of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse happens when one cohabitant forces or coerces a cohabitant into having unwanted sex. This type of allegation can lead to devastating criminal consequences if you are convicted. Moreover, many of these cases can also involve the use of physical violence, which can aggravate any existing charges.
However, like with physical abuse cases, the alleged victim has to prove you forced or coerced them into having sex without their consent. This is critical in your defense. We have seen multiple cases where an estranged ex-spouse or domestic partner tries to make it look like sexual relations between you were not consensual. Proving you are innocent in these cases can be challenging. However, we can fight against your alleged sexual abuse charges and help protect your rights. No matter how big or small your sexual abuse case may be, it is essential to call our Utah domestic violence charges defense.
Domestic violence can also be emotional. There have been countless cases where victims have been placed in an emotional abuse pattern that has caused extensive trauma. Common examples of emotional abuse in a domestic relationship include invalidating the alleged victim’s sense of self-esteem and self-worth, and the value of their existence. People charged with domestic violence involving emotional abuse can face severe penalties. However, like the two previous examples, these allegations must be proven and supported by evidence. A mere allegation may not be enough to charge you with domestic violence based on emotional abuse. Our domestic violence charges defense lawyers can help.
These are some examples of what may constitute domestic violence in Utah. Being charged with domestic violence in any of these scenarios can lead to criminal charges and devastating consequences if convicted. No matter how big or small your situation may seem, it is essential to hire a competent criminal defense attorney. Over our years of practice with Utah’s criminal law, we have learned how crucial defending against your charges can be. It is in your best interest to let our domestic violence charges defense lawyers take over your case, so you can avoid any mistakes that may cost you your freedom.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction in Utah
The criminal penalties imposed for a domestic violence offense will vary depending on the circumstances of a case. For example, if a defendant was previously convicted of domestic violence, the prosecutor in the case may cite this as an aggravating factor to increase the possible penalties if a defendant is convicted.
An offense for domestic violence can range from Class C misdemeanor to a third degree felony. Misdemeanors are offenses that do not impose more than a year of jail time for a criminal conviction. Felonies carry penalties of at least one year.
In Utah, if a defendant is convicted of a Class C misdemeanor for domestic violence, they can be sentenced to a maximum of 90 days in jail and up to $750 in criminal fines. As Class C misdemeanors are the least severe type of misdemeanor, they carry the least number of penalties.
If a defendant is charged with domestic violence after being convicted of domestic violence within the past 10 years, the grade of the offense can be increased to a Class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors have a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and $1,000 of criminal fines.
As mentioned, domestic violence can also be graded as a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are the most severe type of misdemeanor. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, a defendant can be sentenced to up to 364 days in jail and owe up to $2,500 in fines.
A third degree felony is typically the highest grade of felony imposed for domestic violence. When a defendant is convicted of a third degree felony, they can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and may owe up to $5,000 in criminal fines.
Work with Our Committed Utah Domestic Violence Charges Defense Attorney
If you were charged with domestic violence, you should consult with an experienced Utah domestic violence charges defense attorney. Criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson has represented defendants in complex criminal cases for over 16 years, and he would be honored to work with you. Our firm recognizes how a domestic violence claim can affect a defendant’s life, and we are here to help weigh your legal options. To schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your charges, contact Overson Law, PLLC, at (801) 758-2287.