Domestic Violence Criminal Defense

Charged with Domestic Violence in Utah?

Domestic Violence charges are serious, and should be taken seriously.

  • Russ Pietryga

  • Pietryga Law Office

A domestic violence conviction can have long-term harmful effects.

Domestic violence is a violent crime. When a person is convicted of a violent crime, they can expect social stigma, decreased trust by the community, and to have less appeal to employers. In addition, they are subject to the secondary penalties that attach to a domestic violence conviction. These are called collateral consequences.

Unlike jail or prison time, fines and probation, these are not the direct effects of a conviction. However, they have a serious impact on the person's life and freedom.

A domestic violence case almost never has a clearly innocent party, or a clearly guilty one. If you or a family member has been charged with domestic violence, it is important that you call us right away. Our defense attorneys will begin working to resolve the case, try to get the charges dismissed, and protect the rights of the accused.


If the accused is convicted of any domestic violence charge, they will lose their gun rights under Federal law - for life. This means that not only will they be unable to purchase or own firearms and/or ammunition, it will be illegal for them to use them also. There are no exceptions for military service*, hunting, collecting, or employment. A domestic violence conviction means a person cannot have a gun - period. Any firearm or ammunition possession by a convicted person is a Federal felony.

*This law mandates the discharge of all service members and armed law enforcement officers who are convicted of domestic violence.

DNA Specimens

Upon conviction for a domestic violence offense that is a class A misdemeanor or higher, the defendant will be required to provide a specimen to be permanently stored in the national DNA database.


Any additional domestic violence incident within the next 5 years will be charged as a more serious crime. This is called enhancement.

For example: If a person is accused of a Class A Misdemeanor domestic violence offense in the next 5 years, it will be charged as a 3rd degree felony.

Offense Charge Enhanced Charge
2nd Offense Class C misdemeanor Class B misdemeanor
2nd Offense Class B misdemeanor Class A misdemeanor
2nd Offense Class A misdemeanor 3rd degree felony

What is Domestic Violence?

Arrested for Domestic Violence
If you are accused of one of these offenses against someone you live with, it can be charged as domestic violence.

In Utah, "domestic violence" is a crime - usually violent - committed by one cohabitant against another. In order for the crime to be charged as domestic violence, it must have been committed against someone you are - or have previously been - living with. You can be accused of domestic violence if you physically harm another person that you are living with, or if you threaten to physically harm them, or if you get someone else to do it for you.

Utah Law specifically describes "domestic violence" as any criminal offense involving...

  • violence or physical harm, or
  • threat of violence or physical harm, or
  • any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit a criminal offense involving violence or physical harm
  • ...when committed by one cohabitant against another.

In Utah, "Domestic Violence" also means the commission of - or attempt to commit - any of the following offenses by one cohabitant against another. When a crime is specified as domestic violence, it carries some different penalties. For instance, when a crime is charged as domestic violence, the accused may lose the right to own a firearm for life.

Click on an offense for more information.

Have Questions?

Our criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended thousands of domestic violence cases in Utah. Feel free to call our office with any questions you may have.

(801) 505-1586
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Protective Order Violation
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