Domestic violence laws are very strict. Utah law defines it as a crime which involves two people who are “cohabitants” of each other. The definition of “cohabitant,” is very broad, and many different criminal charges, even non-violent criminal charges, can be classified as domestic violence.
The law defines a “cohabitant” as a person at least 16-years-old who:
- is a spouse of the other person involved, or
- is living as if a spouse of the other person involved, or
- is related by blood or marriage to the other person involved, or
- has one or more children in common with the other person involved, or
- is the biological parent of the other person’s unborn child, or
- resides or has resided in the same residence as the other person involved.
This means that a person can commit domestic violence in many unexpected situations, such as with a roommate, as long as they have lived in the same residence for some amount of time. Or, if the criminal charge involves two adults who lived together at any time in the past, that can qualify as domestic violence, such as a fight between two adult brothers who lived together 20 years ago, or something as simple as an 18-year-old girl throwing a shoe at her 17-year-old brother.
Also, many different criminal charges (violent and non-violent), can be considered domestic violence. All of the following criminal charges can be classified as domestic violence if they happen with a “cohabitant”: