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If you’re the victim of domestic abuse in Utah, you need an attorney on your side. On the other hand, if you’ve been accused in a domestic abuse case, it’s equally important to have a competent criminal defense lawyer. Domestic abuse cases are complicated, and require a cool head and knowledge of the law. If you’re entangled in a domestic dispute, you’re likely to be lacking in both of those areas. Here’s what you need to know.

  • What constitutes domestic abuse? Domestic violence is defined by the law as the abuse of one partner in an intimate relationship by the other. It can happen between spouses, dating partners, parents and children, roommates, and siblings. It can include physical assault like striking or shoving the person, sexual assault, stalking, intimidation, isolating the person, emotional abuse, trying to control the person by withholding or hiding money. Sometimes the violence becomes life-threatening, but even threatening injury, death, or substantial property damage to frighten someone is a Class B misdemeanor, known as threat of violence.
  • Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to leave an abusive relationship. The most important thing if you’re in a violent relationship is your safety and the safety of your children. One of the most dangerous times in an abusive relationship is when you decide to leave, so if you are leaving an abusive relationship, it’s crucial to find a place to stay where your abusive partner can’t find you. To hide your packing, consider leaving clothing and essential items with a friend. It’s also good to keep records, noting examples of abuse and dates and times of events. Stockpile money when you can, and make a list of safe contacts. When you go, make sure you take credit cards, a checkbook, social security cards, proof of income, bank statements, and proof of abuse.
  • Compassionate legal counsel can offer some protection. It’s important to think in terms of restraining orders and staying safe. If you quickly go to court and establish an emergency protection order, this should keep the abuser away from you and your children while also giving you custody of your children. A domestic violence lawyer can help you determine the steps you need to take and help you navigate this unfamiliar territory.
  • Police will generally err on the side of caution. In the heat of the moment, sometimes minor incidents are seen as more serious crimes. If a protective order has been filed and a person is accused of violating it, the officers involved must make a snap judgment about whether the accusation is true. If it is, they are required to arrest the accused.
  • Domestic violence is a serious offense in Utah. The extent of the sentence will depend on the frequency and severity of harm and other factors. Penalties can be anything from a fine to a long prison sentence, and the offense may be “enhanced” by the court to increase the punishment. This is an area in which criminal law overlaps with family law, so if you’re accused of domestic abuse, you need an attorney who is not only a criminal defense attorney but also experienced in family law.
  • The consequences of a domestic violence charge extend beyond legal penalties. The repercussions of a conviction can be life-changing, and can include difficulty maintaining employment, an irreparably damaged reputation, impacted rights to your children, restrictions on where you can go, loss of freedom to be involved in community activities, loss of the right to own a firearm, and other consequences that can deeply affect your life. A criminal defense attorney can help you get unwarranted charges reduced or dismissed.

No matter why you need an attorney, Richards & Richards Law Firm, LLC can help. A full service law firm in Ogden, Utah, we’re dedicated to easing your stress, protecting your rights, and getting you what you deserve. Our family-owned firm offers top-notch legal advice and provides the highest-quality professional legal services at an affordable price. No matter what legal services you need, we can help. We have more than 30 years of legal experience on our side, and we’re committed to focusing our full attention on the needs of each individual client, in order to achieve the best possible results for each case. Call us today at (512) 461-4836 or contact us through our website to schedule a legal consultation with our friendly, experience, family law lawyers.