The Long-Term Consequences of Pleading Guilty to Domestic Battery in Utah

domestic battery arrest husband in handcuffs

18 Oct 2023 /

The Long-Term Consequences of Pleading Guilty to Domestic Battery in Utah

Pleading Guilty to Domestic Battery in Utah

Domestic battery charges in Utah can have serious long-term consequences that go beyond potential jail time. Understanding these consequences is critical when deciding how to plead to the charges. An experienced Utah criminal defense attorney can advise on the best legal strategy.

 Gravis Law, has a team of criminal defense attorneys that work diligently to ensure you receive the best legal outcomes. Call our team today at 385.213.2798 for your free consultation. 

What is Considered Domestic Battery in Utah?

Utah law defines domestic battery as intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to a cohabitant or someone you have had a relationship with (Utah Code § 77-36-1). Bodily injury means physical pain, illness or injury (§ 76-1-601).

Even minor injuries like a push, shove or slap can lead to misdemeanor or felony domestic battery charges. Threats of violence may also qualify.

Utah’s Tough Stance on Domestic Violence

Utah takes a tough stance on domestic violence crimes. Even first-time domestic battery is charged as a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail (§ 77-36-1). 

Subsequent offenses within 5 years become a Class A misdemeanor with up to a year in jail.

If the victim suffers serious bodily injury, it becomes a 3rd degree felony with up to 5 years imprisonment (§ 76-5-102).

Long-Term Consequences of a Domestic Battery Conviction

The criminal penalties are just the start of the legal consequences for domestic battery convictions in Utah. A guilty plea also leads to:

1. Permanent Criminal Record

A domestic battery conviction becomes a permanent part of your criminal record. It will show up on background checks by employers, landlords and others.

Certain professional licenses may be revoked or denied due to a domestic violence conviction. For example, real estate agents or foster parents may lose their licenses.

2. Loss of Gun Rights

Those convicted of domestic violence lose their right to own or possess firearms, including for hunting, under federal law 18 USC § 922(g)(9).

3. Difficulty Finding Housing

Many landlords will not rent to tenants with a recent domestic battery conviction. Public housing may also deny applicants.

4. Immigration Consequences

Non-citizens charged with domestic violence face possible deportation under federal law. Even green card holders can be deported.

5. Child Custody Issues

Domestic battery convictions can be used against you in child custody and visitation cases. Judges may limit custody or require supervised visits.

6. Mandatory Therapy

Utah requires those convicted of domestic battery complete therapy or treatment programs focusing on anger management. The defendant pays the costs (Utah Code § 77-36-5).

7. Protective Orders

Judges commonly issue protective orders prohibiting contact with the victim for up to 10 years. Violating the order leads to more charges.

Long-Term Financial Costs

Beyond the criminal penalties, those convicted of domestic battery in Utah face significant long-term financial costs including:

  • Court fines and fees averaging $2,000+

  • Mandatory therapy program fees

  • SR-22 high-risk auto insurance for 3+ years

  • Difficulty finding employment or professional licensing

  • Higher public housing fees or security deposits

Consulting an Attorney Before Pleading

With so much at stake, those facing domestic battery charges in Utah should consult with an attorney before deciding whether to plead guilty.

An attorney can evaluate the evidence, assess the likelihood of conviction, and help negotiate a plea deal to lesser charges like disorderly conduct to avoid some consequences.

They can also argue mitigating factors to help secure a lighter sentence if convicted. In cases with weak evidence, an attorney may be able to get charges dismissed.

5 Key Questions Regarding Domestic Battery Charges

If you or a loved one are facing domestic battery charges in Utah, some common questions include:

1. Will I go to jail if convicted of domestic battery?

Jail time is likely but depends on severity. First offenses may only carry probation. Felony domestic battery often leads to imprisonment.

2. Can domestic battery charges be dismissed?

Yes, an attorney can argue for dismissal if there is insufficient evidence, an illegal arrest, or other procedural grounds.

3. What happens if I violate a protective order?

You face new criminal charges punishable by fines and jail time. Penalties increase for repeat violations.

4. Do I have to attend therapy for domestic battery?

Yes, court-ordered therapy is mandatory following a domestic battery conviction in Utah.

5. How long will a domestic battery conviction stay on my record?

A domestic battery conviction remains permanently on your criminal record. However, its impact lessens over time.

Why You Need A Domestic Battery Attorney By Your Side

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney help navigate the legal process can make all the difference in achieving the best possible outcome to avoid long-term consequences. Don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel. 

Gravis Law understands the need for prompt and desirable legal outcomes. When you choose to work with Gravis Law, you receive personalized care and attention to your case, with the utmost discretion. Call our dedicated and skilled team today at 385.213.2798 for more information. 

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