Because domestic violence is not actually an offense, but a classification of an offense committed against a cohabitant (someone you have ever lived with, someone that you are related to by blood or marriage, or someone with whom you have a child), the penalties for a domestic violence conviction are two-fold, as you will be penalized for the underlying charge as well as face consequences for the domestic violence classification.
For example if you are convicted of a class-B misdemeanor assault classified as domestic violence against your older brother (a cohabitant), then you could be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail and possibly fined for the misdemeanor, and then receive additional penalties for the domestic violence classification.
So the true question we need to know is, what are the additional penalties that result from a domestic violence charge in Utah?
If you are convicted of domestic violence certain mandatory consequences come into play – no matter how minor or how severe your underlying charge and penalties are.
If you are convicted of domestic violence:
• you must take a minimum of 16 weeks of domestic violence counseling or classes.
• you cannot possess a fire arm for as long as the conviction is on your record.
• it restricts some of your travel to other countries.
• it will show up on every background check for employment, promotions, volunteer opportunities, or apartment applications. Your background check will only show you have been convicted of domestic violence and doesn’t explain the underlying charge, even if it is very minor and non-threatening.
Obviously the consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be severe and long lasting. That is why it is so important to find a specialized attorney who can help you get that classification removed so you don’t incur those additional consequences.
You can visit our specialized page to learn more about domestic violence laws, or contact our attorney Steve Burton, who specializes in having domestic violence classifications dismissed from your charges.