Because of the potential danger to the accused victim, domestic violence cases are handled more carefully by the courts. Criminal sanctions are typically more severe after a conviction.
The term “domestic violence” encompasses not just one crime but several that have common characteristics. When an alleged violent offense is committed against a household member, the defendant may face domestic violence charges. Although it is not always the case, a cohabitant is someone who shares living quarters with you and with whom you have some sort of romantic or sexual relationship. Because of the gravity of the crime, domestic violence convictions can result in harsher sentencing and enhanced punishments from the court. In some cases, negotiating with the prosecution can help you avoid receiving domestic violence enhancements.
Where Can I Find a List of Domestic Violence Offenses in Utah?
If one partner in a relationship uses physical force against their partner, it is commonly assumed that domestic violence has occurred. This is accurate, however domestic violence includes much more than just abuse between spouses. If you’re being accused of domestic abuse in Utah, a Sandy domestic violence lawyer can help you figure out whether or not the charges are warranted.
Any criminal act involving bodily harm, violence, or threats of violence perpetrated by one cohabitant against another is considered domestic violence in Utah under Utah Code 77-36-1(4). The threat or commission of a violent offense against a household member, whether by way of attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation, also constitutes domestic violence. Such a broad definition may encompass a wide range of violent acts, so long as they were perpetrated by one household member against another.
This raises the crucial question, what exactly is a cohabitant? Cohabitants in Utah must meet the criteria of Utah Code 78B-7-102(5), which includes the following:
- Defendant’s current or past spouse
- Assuming the lifestyle of a parent, grandparent, brother, or another second-degree family of the defendant by blood or marriage
- Produced offspring with the accused (including unborn children)
- cohabits or cohabited with the accused
- Has or had sexual contact with the accused on mutual consent terms
Note that domestic violence does not cover abuse of a kid by a biological, adoptive, or stepparent, nor does it encompass abuse between children younger than 18 years old.