Will You Go to Jail after Being Arrested for Domestic Violence in Utah?
Domestic violence is unfortunately all too common in our society, especially when folks are cooped up together inside. Police take allegations of violence committed against a cohabitant, which is defined quite expansively under Utah law, extremely seriously. Even some non-violent offenses are considered domestic violence under the statute. Along with this broad definition come some fairly severe penalties for a conviction, including enhanced sentences in some cases. Below, our veteran Salt Lake City domestic violence defense lawyers at Overson Law, PLLC explain what will happen after you have been arrested for domestic violence and how we can help you get released and get your cases resolved in a satisfactory manner.
Do You Go to Jail after a Utah Domestic Violence Arrest?
After you are arrested for a domestic violence offense, you will likely spend at least a small amount of time behind bars. You will be transported to the local police station to be booked, which will involve you being photographed and fingerprinted and your biographical information being collected. After this, you will be kept in the station’s holding cell or at the local jail until your bail hearing can be held, usually within 72 hours at most. This hearing will determine whether or not you will have to stay in jail any longer.
The judge has three basic options at the bail hearing: release you on your own recognizance, meaning without bail, set bail, or rule that you cannot be released and much remain incarcerated until your underlying criminal charges are resolved. Usually, release on your own recognize is limited to situations where you are charged with a minor crime like vandalism, and no release in reserved for the most serious charges like murder.
Typically for domestic violence cases, the judge will set bail. They will first and foremost consider the amount suggested in the Utah Uniform Bail Schedule, a state-issued guideline giving suggested bail amounts for each crime. However, the judge does have discretion to raise or lower the suggested amount based on such factors as your criminal history, ties and contributions to the community, and whether you present a flight risk. Our experienced Utah bail hearing attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC know the most persuasive arguments to make to get the judge to release you on little to no jail.
If you cannot afford the amount set for bail, we can put you in touch with a licensed bail bondsman who can put up a surety bond in exchange for a fee. We can also make a motion for bail reconsideration. If you are released, you may have conditions to comply with, such as staying away from the alleged victim. If you fail to comply, the judge can revoke bail and hold you in jail until the case is finished. If you violate a protective order you can also face new charges and further penalties.
What Types of Crimes Can Lead to a Domestic Violence Arrest in Utah?
The definition of domestic violence is broad in the state of Utah, and can include not only physical violence but also some forms of emotional violence like stalking, harassment, and voyeurism. To qualify as a domestic violence offense, the crime must be committed against a cohabitant, but again, the definition of cohabitant under the statute is broad. It includes not only people you currently live with, but people you have formerly lived with as well as ex-romantic partners you never lived with and any family related by marriage or blood, whether you have ever loved them or not.
How Can a Lawyer Help Get My Utah Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed or Downgraded?
After our team has dealt with getting you released from jail after your initial arrest, we can turn our focus to trying to work out a potential deal with the prosecutor. If this is your first domestic violence offense, we may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to let you enter into what is known as a plea in abeyance. A plea in abeyance is a guilty plea, but the plea is held, or put in abeyance, for a period of time, usually no more than a year, while you must comply with certain conditions set by the court and stay out of further legal trouble. Such conditions can include mandatory counseling or anger management classes. If you fail to comply with these conditions, however, the judge can enter your guilty plea and you will be sentenced.
Other deals include the possibility of the charge being downgraded to something less serious, such as aggravated assault, a felony, being lowered to simple assault, a misdemeanor. The prosecutor can also agree to make a lenient sentencing recommendation, such as probation with no jail time, in exchange for you entering a guilty plea. If you do not wish to take a deal, our skilled trial attorneys at Overson Law, PLLC are always ready and able to defend you in the courtroom.
Penalties for Utah Domestic Violence Convictions
If you are convicted of or plead guilty to a domestic violence offense, you can face a wide range of penalties, including long jail sentences and high fines in some cases. Usually, the penalties for a domestic violence offense will be the same as for the underlying charge. For example, an act of harassment that qualifies as domestic violence will still be charged as a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fine. However, if you have a previous conviction for a domestic violence offense within the last ten years, the charge in some cases will be upped to whatever the next highest offense grade is. For example, a harassment charge after a previous domestic violence conviction will be upped to a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
If You or a Loved One is in Jail on a Domestic Violence Charge, Call Our Experienced Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
Domestic violence convictions can come with serious penalties, including length jail stays in many cases. At Overson Law, PLLC, our seasoned Salt Lake City criminal defense attorneys will work to get you released from custody and then fight to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For a free, confidential consultation, call our firm today at (801) 758-2287.