Domestic violence is not a specific crime. It is an element of other crimes. Assault, stalking, harassment, rape, kidnapping, and many other offenses are all considered acts of domestic violence if they are committed against a person you live with, like a child or a spouse. Committing an act of domestic violence in a child’s presence is a crime, separate from and in addition to the underlying act of domestic violence.
Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with A Utah Criminal Defense Attorney
Domestic violence crimes involving children are prosecuted very aggressively. If you are convicted, you could lose your freedom, your career, your reputation, and all that you have worked so hard to build and achieve in life. You will also be burdened with a criminal record, which can make it all but impossible to find employment.
If you or one of your loved ones was arrested for committing domestic violence in the presence of a child, you need a compassionate but aggressive criminal defense lawyer to stand behind you and fight for your freedom. Salt Lake City domestic violence attorney Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience representing defendants charged with violent crimes in Utah, and knows what strategies to use in these complex, challenging cases. He may be able to have your charges dropped, or have the case dismissed altogether.
Don’t wait another day to start reviewing your legal options with an experienced criminal attorney in Utah. Call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 right away for a free and confidential legal consultation.
When Can You Be Arrested for Domestic Violence in Front of a Child in Utah?
A person can be charged with commission of domestic violence in the presence of a child in Utah under Utah Code § 76-5-109.1 when he or she allegedly:
- Commits, or attempts to commit, a criminal homicide offense. Criminal homicide offenses include:
- Aggravated Murder
- Child Abuse Homicide
- Homicide by Assault
- Negligent Homicide
- Deliberately and seriously injures a person he or she lives with (called a “cohabitant”), or uses a weapon, such as a handgun, shotgun, or knife.
- Otherwise commits any act of domestic violence in a child’s presence.
Police can arrest a person if they obtain an arrest warrant from a judge, if they observe an apparent crime in progress, or if they have probable cause to believe that a crime was committed.
However, the police do not have final say on whether probable cause actually existed. If the court does not find probable cause, the case must be dismissed. Darwin will aggressively dissect and dispute every scrap of evidence against you in the fight to have your case thrown out. He will also challenge the circumstances under which you were arrested to determine whether the police violated any of your legal rights.
Penalties for Felonies and Misdemeanors in Utah: Fines and Sentencing
Commission of domestic violence in a child’s presence can be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the alleged incident.
While misdemeanors carry lighter penalties than felonies, defendants charged with misdemeanors must not be lulled into a false sense of security. Despite being a lesser offense than a felony, a misdemeanor conviction can still result in your incarceration, expensive fines, and a criminal record. A felony conviction will also result in a criminal record, paired with even longer sentences and costlier fines than a misdemeanor.
Utah separates misdemeanors and felonies into three groups each. For misdemeanors, these groups are called Class A, Class B, and Class C. Felonies are described as first degree, second degree, or third degree. A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor. A first degree felony is the most serious type of felony.
Domestic violence in the presence of a child can be charged as a Class B misdemeanor or a third degree felony. Inflicting serious injuries, using a dangerous weapon, or committing or attempting to commit criminal homicide are all third degree felonies. Otherwise, it is a Class B misdemeanor.
If convicted, the defendant may face the following criminal penalties:
- Class B Misdemeanor
- Sentence – Up to 6 months in jail
- Fine – Up to $1,000
- Third Degree Felony
- Sentence – Up to 5 years in prison
- Fine – Up to $5,000
If the defendant was charged with the commission of domestic violence in the presence of a child on the basis of causing a serious injury, using a weapon, or committing or attempting to commit criminal homicide, he or she will also be charged with that offense. For example, intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury is grounds for an assault charge. Using a dangerous weapon could be grounds for various weapons charges, such as possession of deadly weapon with criminal intent.
To set up a free legal consultation with an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Salt Lake City, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 758-2287. We will keep your information confidential.