The definition of domestic violence is very broad in the state of Utah. Essentially, domestic violence isn’t its own crime, but a tag that gets attached to other crimes. Almost any crime, can have a domestic violence tag attached to it, such as assault, harassment, sexual offenses, stalking, violation of a protective order, child abuse, disorderly conduct, threatening and tampering with the witness, voyeurism, and more. If the co-inhabitant was involved, it can often be charged as a domestic violence charge. If someone gets more than one domestic violence conviction within a 10-year period, it’s enhanced and it becomes a more serious crime with more serious consequences.
I’ve Just Been Arrested On Charges Related To Domestic Violence, What Exactly Am I Being Charged With?
A domestic violence charge can mean many things. Even threats or harassment in the presence of a child can be charged as domestic violence.
Does An Alleged Physical Altercation Have To Have Taken Place In Order For An Arrest To Be Made Or Is A Threat Of Violence Enough?
A threat of violence is enough for a domestic violence charge. This can include harassment or actually making any sort of a threat, and there is no requirement that there be any physical altercation whatsoever.
Is An Order Of Protection Or A Restraining Order Automatically Put Into Place When Charges Related To Domestic Violence Have Been Filed?
There is no automatic restraining order. Requests for orders of protection or restraining orders usually take different paths. There are many ways for requests to become orders. For example, if the defendant is arrested, when they are released from jail, there is often what’s called the Jail Release Agreement, which typically consists of a no-contact order with the alleged victim, prohibiting conversation or physical vicinity to them. The Jail Release Agreement lasts 30 days, or until your first appearance in court. Often at that first appearance in court, the prosecutor or district attorney will ask for a pre-trial protective order that will continue those same provisions with no contact until the case is concluded.
If The Alleged Victim Changes His Or Her Story After Charges Are Filed Or Doesn’t Want Charges Pressed Against Me, Does That Mean The Case Will Go Away?
Rarely does the district attorney or prosecutor base decision on what the victim wants. Oftentimes, victims later decide that they don’t want charges pressed, but most of the time, the prosecutor will still pursue the case and not drop the charges. They will require the case to go to trial and they’ll subpoena the victim to come to trial and to testify.
While A Case Is Pending, Should Someone Facing Domestic Violence Charges Seek Any Counseling Or Anger Management Courses? Does That Show Guilt To The Court? Could It Help My Case?
Especially if you’re thinking of taking a plea deal, it can be very helpful to start counseling or anger management courses. It can show the prosecutor that you understand that what you’ve done was not appropriate and that you’re willing to take steps to avoid it happening again. Often, when prosecutors see proactive action by the defendant, they are more willing to offer them a deal, so it can be helpful to get a better deal. If you want to fight the charges, and you’re planning on taking the case to trial and forcing the state to prove that you did what you’re accused of, but you’re denying those accusations, then going to anger management courses or anything like that can be a sign that you’re admitting you’ve done something wrong.
What Strategies Could Be Used To Defend Clients In Domestic Violence Cases? Is Self-Defense Ever A Viable Defense?
There are different strategies that can be used to defend people in domestic violence cases. Certainly, self-defense is a major one. However, even in a situation of self-defense, if the person defending themselves is the man in the relationship or physically larger, they are often the ones that end up with the criminal charges. Prosecutors are not often willing to dismiss a case merely because the defendant was acting in self-defense. Some ways to fight these charges is to show inconsistencies in the victim’s stories.
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