Utah Code § 76-5-109.1 makes it a crime to commit an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child. If you were arrested for any type of domestic violence offense, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah, or one of the surrounding areas in the Salt Lake City-Ogden metropolitan area, which includes Salt Lake County, Davis County, and Weber County, Utah.
Salt Lake City Defense Lawyer for Charges of Domestic Violence in Presence of Child
Call Darren Levitt to discuss the particular facts of your case. Often hiring an experienced and aggressive attorney to fight for you early in the case leads to the best possible results. If your case is under investigation, never speak to any law enforcement officer until after you have spoken to an attorney.
History of Utah Code Section 76-5-109.1 Domestic Violence in Presence of a Child
The current version of section 76–5–109.1, was amended effective May 12, 2009. The crime can be charged as a separate and distinct crime from, and is in addition to, a charge of domestic violence where the victim is the cohabitant. Either or both charges may be filed by the prosecutor.
Furthermore, a separate charge can be brought if it is alleged that the person who commits a violation of this section when more than one child is present is guilty of one offense of domestic violence in the presence of a child regarding each child present when the violation occurred.
Misdemeanor Charge of Domestic Violence in Presence of a Child
The misdemeanor version of the commission of an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child is a class B misdemeanor requires proof that a person commits an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child.
The term “domestic violence” is defined to mean “any criminal offense involving violence or physical harm or threat of violence or physical harm …, when committed by one cohabitant against another,” or the commission or attempted commission of several listed crimes, including assault.
The term “In the presence of a child” is defined to mean either in the physical presence of a child; or having knowledge that a child is present and may see or hear an act of domestic violence.
Felony Charge of Domestic Violence in Presence of a Child
The felony version of the commission of an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child is a third degree felony under Utah law. Under Utah Code Section 76-5-109.1, a person commits domestic violence in the presence of a child if the person:
- commits or attempts to commit criminal homicide, as defined in Section 76-5-201, against a cohabitant in the presence of a child; or
- intentionally causes serious bodily injury to a cohabitant or uses a dangerous weapon, as defined in Section 76-1-601, or other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury against a cohabitant, in the presence of a child.
Under Utah law, the term “cohabitant” is defined in Section 78B-7-102 to mean an emancipated person pursuant to Section 15-2-1 or a person who is 16 years of age or older who:
- is or was a spouse of the other party;
- is or was living as if a spouse of the other party;
- is related by blood or marriage to the other party;
- has one or more children in common with the other party;
- is the biological parent of the other party’s unborn child; or
- resides or has resided in the same residence as the other party.
The term “cohabitant” is defined not to include:
- the relationship of natural parent, adoptive parent, or step-parent to a minor; or
- the relationship between natural, adoptive, step, or foster siblings who are under 18 years of age.
The term “domestic violence” means commission or attempt to commit, any of the following offenses by one cohabitant against another:
- stalking, as described in Section 76-5-106.5;
- electronic communication harassment (also known as cyberstalking), as described in Section 76-9-201;
- harassment, as described in Section 76-5-106;
- violation of a protective order or ex parte protective order, as described in Section 76-5-108;
- aggravated assault, as described in Section 76-5-103;
- assault, as described in Section 76-5-102;
- possession of a deadly weapon with intent to assault, as described in Section 76-10-507;
- mayhem, as described in Section 76-5-105;
- kidnapping, child kidnapping, or aggravated kidnapping, as described in Sections 76-5-301, 76-5-301.1, and 76-5-302;
- criminal homicide, as described in Section 76-5-201;
- discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, near a highway, or in the direction of any person, building, or vehicle, as described in Section 76-10-508;
- sexual offenses, as described in Title 76, Chapter 5, Part 4, Sexual Offenses, and Section 76-5b-201, Sexual Exploitation of a Minor;
- child abuse as described in Section 76-5-109.1.
Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City, Utah
After an arrested for any type of domestic violence offense, including an allegation that the crime occurred in the presence of a child, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Obtaining the best results requires experienced and aggressive representation and an attorney fighting to protect your family and good name.
Darren Levitt represents clients charged with a variety of domestic violence charges in the Salt Lake City-Ogden metropolitan area including Salt Lake City, Murray, West Jordan, South Jordan, Midvale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Taylorsville, Riverton, West Valley City, Weber County for Ogden and Roy, Wasatch County for Heber City, Morgan County for Morgan, Davis County for Bountiful and Layton, Utah County for Provo, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Springville, Spanish Fork, Summit County, Tooele County, Cache County for Logan, and Box Elder County for Brigham City, Utah.