Domestic Violence in Utah
In Utah, a person commits domestic violence by committing (or attempting to commit) any crime involving violence, physical harm, or the threat of violence or physical harm against a cohabitant.
Cohabitants include spouses; former spouses; people in relationships that resemble marriage; people who live together or have lived together; people who are related by blood or marriage; and people who have children together.
Cohabitants must be over the age of 16 or emancipated minors. Siblings under the age of 18 and parents and their children are not cohabitants of one another.
Any violent crime, such as harassment, stalking, violating a restraining order, or assault, is domestic violence if committed by one cohabitant against another.
People who are convicted of crimes of domestic violence in Utah more than once are subject to increased punishment for subsequent offenses.
Arrests for Domestic Violence
Under Utah’s laws, if a police officer has probable cause to believe (a reasonable belief) that domestic violence has occurred, the officer must make an arrest without a warrant or issue a citation (ticket).
This is an exception to the usual rule that an officer can make a warrantless arrest only under certain conditions–when a misdemeanor has been committed in his presence, or he has reason to believe a felony has occurred and the arrest is outside the home.
If the officer has probable cause to believe the victim will continue to be in danger or that the defendant has recently caused serious injury or used a dangerous weapon, the officer must make an arrest and take the defendant into custody.
People who are arrested for domestic violence may not personally contact the victim before being released and may not be released from jail before the next court day unless they are ordered as a condition of their release not to:
- personally contact the victim
- harass the victim, or
- go to the victim’s residence.
Contacting the victim before being released or in violation of a court’s order is a crime.
People who are arrested for domestic violence may also be subject to electronic monitoring.