What is a Domestic Violence Charge?
Under Utah statutory law, “domestic violence” means any criminal offense involving violence or physical harm or threat of violence or physical harm…when committed by one cohabitant against another. Thus, violent offenses committed between boyfriends and girlfriends, parents and children, husbands and wives, roommates, grandparents, and anyone else who lives together or has lived together constitutes domestic violence.
How Does a Domestic Violence Charge Work Differently Than Other Charges?
Domestic violence charges are different in many respects from other criminal charges. One of the first things that makes a DV charge different is the court procedure. In nearly ever DV case, the court can issue a pretrial protective order which prohibits the defendant from contacting the victim. Such orders are usually entered upon releasing the defendant from jail. The defendant is then given a date to make an initial appearance in court. At the initial appearance the court will determine whether the pretrial protective order should stay in place. In most other criminal misdemeanor cases not involving violence there is no pretrial protective order entered. Additionally, if the defendant hires a lawyer they can typically waive the initial appearance and schedule the case for a pretrial conference.
Another significant difference with DV cases is that a conviction to a DV charge will result in the defendant losing his privilege to have firearms under federal law. It also trumps a concealed carry permit.
Domestic violence cases also have a significant impact on family law matter, specifically divorce and child custody matters. Evidence from the domestic violence case can be admitted into evidence against the perpetrator and can affect whether the defendant will be able to have custody of his or her children.
Domestic violence charges present a rocky road and you should not try to go down it alone. Our Southern Utah Domestic Violence Lawyer can help. Call us at (435) 215-1101 for a free consultation