An arrest for domestic violence is extremely serious. In Utah and across the United States, specific procedures and rules are in place to address domestic violence allegations and arrests, which may include mandatory arrests and even overnight jail stays. In Utah, when a police officer is called to the scene of an alleged domestic dispute, he or she must make an arrest without a warrant or issue a citation if there is probable (reasonable) cause to believe that violence has occurred. Once an arrest is made, the arrestee is prohibited from contacting the alleged victim before their release from jail, and sometimes may not be released from jail prior to their first court appearance.
The most important thing you can do in the aftermath of a domestic violence arrest is to exercise your right to an attorney. Remain silent and seek legal counsel from one of our skilled Utah criminal defense lawyer who can protect your interests, freedom, and constitutional rights. A domestic violence arrest does not mean you are guilty. You have the right to have your side of the story heard.
Utah Code § 77-36: Cohabitant Abuse Procedures Act
Domestic violence is defined in Utah Code § 77-36, also known as the Cohabitant Abuse Procedures Act. This covers any type of violent act or attempt of violence against a cohabitant. Domestic Violence is not a separate crime in Utah. Rather, certain crimes can be designated as crimes involving domestic violence when the perpetrator and victim are cohabitants.
Cohabitants may include:
- Family members (like adult siblings)
- Persons in current/former romantic relationships
- Parents of a shared child
- People who currently live together or used to live together
The following are examples of acts that may be designated as crimes involving domestic violence:
- Aggravated assault
- Kidnapping or false imprisonment
- Possession of a weapon with deadly intent
- Sexual offenses
- Disorderly conduct
- Certain incidents of child abuse
- Protective order violation
- Unlawful distribution of an intimate image
- Threatening violence
- Threatening to use a deadly weapon
- Retaliation against a victim or witness
- Criminal homicide
Domestic violence crimes may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances, such as prior convictions and the severity of the alleged offense. Do not risk your freedom by defending these charges alone. Seek competent legal representation immediately. We understand that these matters are important to you and we understand your rights.
To learn more, call the Utah domestic violence defense attorneys at Pearson Butler at (800) 265-2314.