Thursday, May 1, 2014

Domestic Violence Charges in Utah

What are the specific domestic violence charges that are in place in Utah? What are the laws that are specific to Utah? What are the effects of a domestic violence related conviction? 

Quoting directly from Schatz and Anderson and Associates: 

Under Utah law there is no such criminal offense entitled “Domestic Violence,” but many crimes can be considered a crime of “Domestic Violence,” pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 77-36-1, if the offender and the victim have a relationship included in the definition of cohabitant as set forth in Utah Code Ann. § 78B-7-102. These relationships include husband and wife, ex-husband or ex-wife, common law husband and wife, roommates, individuals who have a child together, or individuals related by blood or marriage. The most common criminal charges that are classified as “Domestic Violence” crimes include:
                -Criminal Mischief
                -Protective Order Violations
                -Telephone Harassment
                -Interruption of a Communication Device 

Effects of a Domestic Violence–Related Conviction

There is also no such thing in Utah as getting out of a domestic violence charge just because the alleged victim “drops the charges.” The prosecutor’s office may still choose to prosecute the crime even if the alleged victim no longer wants to press a complaint. If you are convicted or enter into a plea in abeyance agreement for a charge of a Domestic Violence–related crime, you face several potentially severe collateral consequences. 

First, anyone convicted of a crime of Domestic Violence loses the legal right to possess either a gun or ammunition of any kind, including hunting rifles and shotguns…There is also a public stigma attached to Domestic Violence crimes, and a conviction could interfere with your ability to obtain employment. Any crime classified as a Domestic Violence– related crime carries certain minimum mandatory penalties, such as completion of at least 16 hours of Domestic Violence counseling. A conviction for Domestic Violence can also be used against you as a basis for obtaining a protective order or in a divorce proceeding if the parties are having a custody dispute. 

This quote goes through what exactly will happen if convicted of this crime. Do not be one of those convicted of this crime and lose penalties for the rest of your life.

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