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Domestic Violence in the Presence of a Child

Domestic Violence in the Presence of a Child

Domestic violence affects everyone involved. An aggressor may face legal repercussions as well as a social stigma. In addition, victims may suffer physical and emotional harm. However, there is a third party that may also be affected by domestic violence—children.

Many individuals fail to consider the long-lasting emotional damage that can befall children who have witnessed domestic violence. Children who have witnessed violent acts in the home are more likely to show behavioral problems in school and in the home.

In Utah, acts of domestic violence committed in the presence of children are taken especially seriously. Penalties accompanied with this offense are severe and can put a defendant’s freedom in question. Overcoming these cases requires the knowledge of a skilled attorney.

Domestic Violence in the Presence of a Child Information Center

  • What constitutes domestic violence in the presence of a child?
  • Can this offense be combined with a domestic violence offense?
  • What are the legal consequences of a conviction?

What constitutes domestic violence in the presence of a child?

Utah Code §76-5-1-109.1 states an individual commits domestic violence in the presence of a child when he or she does any of the following:

  • Commits or attempts to commit criminal homicide against a cohabitant in the presence of a child;
  • Intentionally causes serious bodily injury to a cohabitant or uses a dangerous weapon or other means or force likely to produce death of serious bodily injury against a cohabitant, in the presence of a child; or
  • Under circumstances not amounting to a violation of the aforementioned acts, commits an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child.

Can this offense be combined with a domestic violence offense?

As of May 12, 2009, Utah Code §76-5-109.1 was amended to charge domestic violence in the presence of a child as a separate crime in addition to a domestic violence charge where the victim is a cohabitant. A prosecutor may choose to file one charge or two separate charges.

In addition, if an individual commits domestic violence in the presence of more than one child, separate charges may be filed for each child present during the act.

What are the legal consequences of a conviction?

Domestic violence committed in the presence of a child carries serious consequences. Utah penalizes those convicted of this offense with a third-degree felony if it results in homicide or serious bodily injury or with a class B misdemeanor if circumstances do not amount to homicide or serious bodily injury.

For offenses categorized as third-degree felonies, penalties for a conviction are up to five years imprisonment, and/or up to $5,000. For class B misdemeanors, punishment is up to six months jail time, and/or up to $1,000 in fines.

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is commonly associated with public intoxication; however, intoxication is not required to be charged with this offense. A disorderly conduct charge focuses more on inappropriate behaviors conducted in a public place.

This type of offense is typically considered a minor infraction; however, it is still wise to seek legal counsel to determine the proper solution to your problem.

Disorderly Conduct Information Center

  • Disorderly Conduct Defined
  • Penalties for Disorderly Conduct
  • Notable Facts about Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly Conduct Defined- §76-9-102

Utah code defines disorderly conduct as:

  • A refusal to comply with a lawful order of law enforcement to move from a public place; or knowingly creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition which serves no legitimate purpose; or
  • While intending to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, a person:
    • Engages in a fight or threatening behavior;
    • Makes unreasonable noise in public;
    • Makes unreasonable noise in a private place which can be heard in public; or
    • Obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic in public.

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct carries somewhat minor consequences; however, it can still serve as a hindrance to employment opportunities. Some of these penalties include fines, forfeiture, disqualification, or any combination.

Notable Facts about Disorderly Conduct

  • Disorderly conduct does not have to involve alcohol;
  • Domestic violent can sometimes be categorized as disorderly conduct; and
  • Individuals convicted of disorderly conduct (domestic violence) may not possess firearms for life.

Free Consultation with Criminal Defense Attoreny

Call Ascent Law today for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you fix any Domestic Violence in the Presence of a Child charges.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506