Guide to Utah Hit and Run Laws
John and Katie are driving to a party on a rainy October day. They are stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-15 in Tremonton with no end in sight. Just as the traffic starts to move, a truck sideswipes their car, careens into the median, crosses the other lanes of traffic going the wrong direction, and keeps going. John and Katie are stunned until they realize the police are in pursuit of the hit-and-run driver who has struck multiple vehicles in an attempt to evade them.
Stuck in traffic with a damaged driver’s side door, left quarter panel, and white smoke leaking out of the hood, they are forced to abandon their car and wait for help. If the hit-and-run driver is caught, can John and Katie bring civil charges against them for the personal injury and property damage they have caused? Do they have to wait until criminal charges are filed?
What is Considered a Hit-and-Run?
In Utah, hit-and-run driving offenses are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. For a suspect to be charged, the police must have probable cause to make an arrest. Leaving the scene of an accident before you have had the chance to exchange information with the other driver is considered a hit-and-run offense. Utah Code §41-6a-401(2019). Similarly, failing to stop at all after colliding with another vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist is also considered a hit-and-run. While a simple auto accident is not a crime in of itself, failing to wait for police to arrive at the scene or exchange information can subject the other driver to criminal penalties.
Is a Utah Hit-and-Run a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
Whether a defendant is charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for a hit-and-run depends on the circumstances of the accident. For example, if a defendant strikes another vehicle and does not cause physical injury to the occupants of the other car, he or she can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail in addition to $1,000 in fines. Utah Code §41-6a-401-7 (2019). If the defendant hits another vehicle and causes physical injuries to the occupants, he can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor at the very minimum. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2500 fine.
If the defendant causes serious personal injury to the victims in a hit-and-run, they could be looking at nearly five years in prison and over $5000 in potential fines. This is because a hit-and-run causing serious bodily injury is classified as a felony. In addition, a hit-and-run resulting in the death of another person is also classified as a third-degree felony. If multiple victims were killed in a hit-and-run crash, the defendant would be charged with multiple counts of the same crime.
What About Collisions With Parked Vehicles?
A collision with a parked vehicle is still considered a hit-and-run, and therefore a crime if the driver does not leave their information or wait for the owner of the vehicle to return. Even if a person strikes another car with a grocery cart, if the force of the collision caused property damage, that person needs to remain at the scene. If they are unable due to an emergency, they need to inform the authorities that they were in a collision with a parked vehicle and provide their information so the other driver can file a claim with their insurance company.
No one should walk out of a grocery store or shopping mall to find their car damaged, but it does happen far too often. If it happened to you, call the police. Speak to the store manager or owner of the parking lot intersection and find out if surveillance footage of the parking lot is available. CCTV surveillance could assist authorities in identifying the potential defendant. Even if the other driver hit your parked car and left a note, it is still a good idea to call the police so an accident report can be prepared and an investigation can begin.
Next Steps after a Hit-and-Run Accident
If you or a loved one suffered property damage or personal injury due to a Utah hit-and-run accident, it’s crucial you contact a litigation attorney as soon as possible. Any information you can collect may help your case, including the color, make and model of the suspect’s vehicle, the suspect’s hair color, build, and whether he or she was driving with passengers in the car. If anyone else saw the accident, get their identification and statement of what occurred. Witness testimony is invaluable in a personal injury case.
Call the police immediately, inform them that the other driver left the scene and that you require emergency assistance. If you have been injured, even if you think it safe to drive home, don’t. Seek emergency medical attention. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and other vehicles if it was a multi-vehicle accident. Take photos of the intersection or highway as well, including tire marks or damaged parts. Write down what happened in your own words while it is fresh in your mind and include details like the time of day and the weather. Report the accident to your insurance company, then contact our personal injury attorneys at Harris, Preston, and Chambers. We will run interference with the insurance companies and follow-up with the police to determine if a defendant has been positively identified so a case can be opened.
What About Insurance Coverage?
If police are unable to apprehend the suspect, and there are no leads, they may close the criminal case. However, this does not mean that you are out of options. All Utah drivers are required to maintain uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage. Utah Code §31A-22-305 (2020). Your insurance carrier should cover the cost of expenses due to property damage including the cost of a rental vehicle and repairs to your car or a check for the fair market value of your vehicle if it is damaged. Insurance should also cover the cost of medical expenses, doctor’s bills, rehabilitation, prescriptions, and any other out-of-pocket costs associated with personal injury.
If your insurance company refuses to pay or is holding out until the identity of the phantom driver is uncovered, you are not out of options. You can take legal action against your own insurance company, and our lawyers at Harris, Preston and Chambers can guide you through every step of the process. It is an unfortunate reality, but the insurance company simply does not have your best interests in mind. And sadly, not all hit-and-run drivers are apprehended, leaving victims at an unfair disadvantage.
Contact Our Utah Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys
No one hops in the car expecting to be hit by another vehicle. But at the very least, common decency and the rules of the road require drivers to exchange information after a collision. A hit-and-run accident can be traumatic. For some victims, the identity of the driver is never discovered. Some victims may be left with permanent disability or recuperating with serious injuries that impact their quality of life daily.
Our attorneys at Harris, Preston, and Chambers understand the frustration of dealing with the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident. We specialize in personal injury law and auto collisions, and we go to bat for our clients to achieve justice. You are entitled to damages for your ordeal, and our lawyers are here to help. With offices located conveniently in Logan, we serve clients throughout Utah. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
Alex is a new employee working on an active construction site under a general contractor. He got the job through a staffing agency and was asked to bring his tools. He is injured on the job while utilizing a pallet jack lift provided by the employer. His foreman informed him he is not covered under workers’ compensation insurance because he is an independent subcontractor. Is this true?
If you have been injured at work and are unsure whether you qualify for workers’ compensation, a Utah workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
Understanding Who is Covered
All direct hires and employees are covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation policy, regardless of whether the employee works part-time or full-time, or a hybrid, in-person, or remote schedule. In addition, employees who are hired “under the table” may also be covered if they are injured in a workplace incident. However, if that employee is to file with the workers’ compensation commission of their state, it would trigger an investigation into the employer’s hiring practices, and the employer would most likely be subject to fines and penalties for failing to legally hire an employee and pay employer payroll taxes and workers’ compensation premiums.
In Utah, independent contractors are not covered under traditional workers’ compensation policies. Many directly hired employees might be led to believe that they are independent contractors for the employer to avoid paying workers’ compensation premiums or other benefits for which a direct-hire is eligible. Workers’ compensation insurance covers accidental injuries that occur at work, during work hours. Insurance also covers occupational diseases that may occur such as exposure to silica, particulate dust, or asbestos.
Determining an Employee’s Work Status
Determining what an employee’s status is at a workplace is crucial. This controls whether an employee is eligible for insurance coverage or not. What distinguishes an employee from an independent contractor is based on several factors. This includes whether the worker supplies their own tools and equipment, whether the worker makes their own hours and schedule, how the worker is paid, and how often. For example, an independent contractor is often paid per job completed, not on an hourly rate. This is similar to a gig worker who might be paid per assignment, per concert or per event instead of steady, weekly hours. An independent contractor will make their own schedule, supply their own equipment, and often needs little to no guidance from the employer to complete the job.
For example, a subcontractor plumber on a construction site would not take direction from a general contractor. The subcontractor is hired to complete the plumbing work with his own tools using his own expertise. This distinction is muddled when an employee is hired via a staffing agency, has no ownership or authority over how a job is completed or maintains a regular weekly schedule similar to other directly hired employees. Because this distinction is linked to obtaining benefits in a workplace accident, it is crucial you hire a workers’ compensation attorney in Utah to evaluate your claim.
Call Our Logan Workers’ Comp Attorneys
Workers’ compensation statutes are unlike any other discipline of the law. It also varies greatly from state to state, and navigating a claim is complicated. Unfortunately, in Utah, independent contractors are not covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. But whether or not someone is an independent worker is not always evident, meaning benefits an employee is eligible for is hanging in the balance. If you were injured on the job, it is crucial that you speak to a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Our attorneys at Harris, Preston & Chambers specialize in workers’ rights and can help you file a claim and get your life back. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
A second-grade class field trip to a local nature center proves dangerous for two classmates who slip on a wet floor near the terrapin display. Both children suffer broken bones and contusions and are rushed to the hospital by a teacher’s assistant, where they are met by their parents. The parents are understandably frustrated that their children were injured while in the trusted care of schoolteachers, but since the accident did not occur on school grounds, is the school still liable?
Determining liability in a premises liability action can be complicated. This is because each case is fact-dependent and mitigating factors can affect liability for the premises owner. It is also entirely possible that more than one defendant could be joined to a lawsuit if a child is injured during a school field trip. However, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish that the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of their child’s injuries, and therefore the plaintiff is entitled to damages. Whether the defendant had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition is key in proving a plaintiff’s case.
If two children purposely spilled soda or sticky liquids on the ground waiting for someone to trip and fall as a prank, this would be a serious factor mitigating the premises owner’s liability. The parents of injured children could argue that the school teacher or chaperone should have been watching the child pranksters, but it can be difficult to keep an eye on 20+ children during a field trip. If the parents of the injured children could prove that the premises owner knew about the spilled liquids or had constructive notice of spilled liquids, they may have an action against the premises owner, but this could be difficult considering hazard conditions were manufactured by other students.
What About Chaperones?
Guidelines vary for private and public schools, but generally speaking, chaperones must be properly vetted before volunteering on school grounds or at school field trips. This might include fingerprinting, a thorough background check, and safety protocol training. Without some form of training about what to do in the event of an emergency, it is unlikely that a school could shield a chaperone from personal liability in the event of an accident or a student’s injury. And if a chaperone acted intentionally to harm a student, they could be held liable in a personal injury action. If the school district failed to investigate a chaperone before permitting them to attend a school trip and a child was injured in that chaperone’s care, the school could be joined to a premises liability claim.
Contact our Premises Liability Attorneys at Harris, Preston & Chambers
There is nothing worse than knowing your child is in pain. You trust teachers and school administration to watch over your children during school hours, prevent bullying, and ensure their safety off-school premises as well. However, things get complicated on a field trip. It is entirely possible that if a child is injured off-school grounds, but on the watch of school affiliates, that the school and the premises owner could be liable, but each analysis is fact-dependent. If your child was injured during school hours, you need to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. Our lawyers at Harris, Preston & Chambers have more than a half-century of combined experience handling all types of premises liability cases, and we will not rest until we obtain justice for our clients. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.
Schedule Free Personal Injury Consultation
April and Barbara are carpooling to work on a rainy September day. Barbara has a lead foot, but they always get to work on time, so April rarely complains about her driving habits. Suddenly, a deer runs out in front of Barbara’s car and she is unable to stop in time, but in a knee-jerk reaction to avoid striking the deer, Barbara swerves the car violently, causing it to spin out of control and into a ditch on its side.
Both April and Barbara are seriously injured in the one-vehicle crash, and they have to miss over a month of work for their recovery. Now April is undergoing occupational therapy to regain use of her right leg, which was crushed in the collision. She considers Barbara a friend but is concerned about the growing cost of medical bills and lost wages attributed to the collision. Can a passenger sue the driver in a car accident?
What Comes After the Car Accident?
If you were in a multi-vehicle accident, and you believe the driver in the vehicle you were in is liable for the crash, you might feel conflicted. If you make a statement to the other insurance companies, your friend could be sued. On the other hand, not doing so would be omitting crucial facts about the cause of the accident and what you saw as a witness and a passenger. Because Utah is a comparative fault jurisdiction, it is possible that both drivers in a two-car collision could be held liable, but for different amounts.
However, it is crucial that as a passenger you report the accident and what you witnessed in detail to the authorities and that you seek emergency medical treatment if necessary. You should not have to pay out of pocket for medical bills attributed to the accident. You also should not let the driver in the vehicle try to pressure you into not seeking help or not being honest about what occurred just prior to the collision.
What if the Passenger is Blamed?
In a single-vehicle collision, it is not out of the question that a driver might try to blame the passenger for the crash to try to cushion the blow. Maybe the passenger screamed, “watch out for the deer” or suddenly shouted. However, it is highly unlikely a passenger would be held liable for a collision for warning the driver of a dangerous condition or obstruction in the road. A passenger would have to be intentionally negligent or reckless for a driver to try to blame them. For a passenger’s behavior to be a contributing factor to an accident or deemed reckless, they would have to cover up the driver’s eyes or field of vision or actually strike the driver. This is why it is so crucial for the passenger in an accident to report the accident to police and seriously consider retaining a personal injury attorney to protect their claim.
Contact Our Logan Car Accident Attorneys
Car collisions are traumatic for everyone involved. Passengers are powerless in an accident, regardless of which vehicle they may have been in. However, that does not change the likelihood they will suffer serious, debilitating injuries after a collision. While it might be awkward to sue a friend or relative after an accident, if you are still dealing with an injury, you deserve compensation for your losses. Our car accident attorneys are licensed in Wyoming and Utah, with offices conveniently located in Logan Utah. We specialize in plaintiffs’ personal injury and are available to give you a free legal defense strategy. Call today to schedule your free consultation.
Schedule Free Car Accident Consultation
Your Legal Options: What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?
Legal disputes—whether they involve complex business issues, property, divorce, or many other areas of law—can be contentious, confusing, and sometimes physically and emotionally draining. There are some instances when seeking out another, more cooperative means of sorting out disputes and coming to an agreement can be preferable.
In this instance, there are alternatives available to people to avoid going to trial, and this comes in the form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) or mediation. Sometimes, these options are also very cost effective, and can save you money by avoiding going to trial.
Utah Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Act
Under Utah law, ADR includes arbitration, mediation, and other means of dispute resolution (other than trial). While arbitration tends to involve a private hearing in front of a neutral person or panel of neutral people who hear the evidence and enter into a written award (which is final and enforceable, just like a judgment) to resolve the issues involved, mediation involves a private forum where impartial individuals (such as neutral/third party mediation specialists) facilitate communication between the parties in order to promote a mutually acceptable resolution or settlement. Mediation is, in particular, useful for bringing parties together to resolve outstanding differences.
Utah Uniform Mediation Act
Mediation is a process whereby a mediator facilitates communication and eventual negotiation between disputing parties in order to assist them in reaching an agreement over their dispute(s). In addition, mediation communications are privileged against disclosure (although parties may waive this privilege), and thus can be beneficial to parties who want to ensure a certain level of confidentiality. However, it is important to note that evidence which is otherwise admissible or subject to discovery remains admissible/subject to discovery–in spite of any relevant mediation process.
A Firm Well-Versed in Negotiation & Settlement
Although your attorney does not serve as the mediator, it is still crucial to have an attorney advise you through the process, as any settlement agreement between the parties that comes out mediation is filed with the court and enforceable as a judgment from a judge. Just as you would be advised and represented during a court trial, you should be provided with legal representation in the event of arbitration and/or mediation in order to ensure that your rights are protected.
Our Logan, Utah attorneys have been serving clients in arbitration and mediation for over 100 years in the areas of corporate/business law, land use/property, personal injury, family & domestic law, and other areas. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can get started helping you.
Contact your Logan, Utah attorneys at Harris, Preston & Chambers, LLP today by calling (435) 752-3551.
Boundary Disputes: Acquiescence and Adverse Possession
Homeownership, under the best of circumstances, can be stressful. It can be even more challenging when neighbors become embroiled in a dispute over the boundaries of their property. Considering the cost of land, no one would want to just hand over some of their property to their neighbors without receiving any compensation for it. However, nuances in the law can make it difficult to understand who has a right to the property.
Generally a person receives legal title to property through a purchase of the property or through gift or inheritance. Adverse possession, however, is a legal doctrine by which someone can gain ownership of property by simply using or possessing the property for a specified period of time.
Under Utah Law, an individual may be able to claim title to property that originally belonged to someone else if that individual has continuously occupied the land for 7 years in a manner that is adverse to the original owner. There a few variations on the requirements, depending on whether the person has a written document, but generally he or she must possess the land, and possess it in a way that is noticeable to the original owner for 7 years and pay taxes on it.
Adverse possession can apply in situations where two neighbors have a dispute over property boundaries. Let’s say Neighbor 1 and Neighbor 2 live next to each other, with a fence dividing their property. One day Neighbor 1 discovers that the fence is actually not on the property line, and that 10 feet of land that Neighbor 1 should own is actually located on the other side of the fence – in Neighbor 2’s yard. Neighbor 2 might try to claim in court that he now owns that 10 feet of land through adverse possession, if he has been using it and paying taxes on it for 7 years. Conversely, there are many situations where surveys and records do not accurately reflect true ownership of property.
Acquiescence is similar to adverse possession, but there are differences. Acquiescence occurs when a person gains ownership of property during a boundary dispute because of a long-standing boundary-line or marker that indicated where one piece of land stopped and the other began, even if the deeds to the property placed the boundary elsewhere. Acquiescence is generally only available when the parties in the dispute have adjoining pieces of land, a clear boundary between them, and that boundary has been recognized by both of them for over 20 years.
In our earlier example, Neighbor 2 could gain ownership of the 10 feet of property that was originally part of Neighbor 1’s deed if Neighbor 2 can show that both parties had treated the fence between their yards as the property line for over 20 years. Their agreement that the fence was the property line does not need to be expressly stated – simply treating the fence as the property line for over 20 years is enough.
If you or a loved one is involved in a boundary dispute, it is important to contact a lawyer with expertise and knowledge. Laws regarding adverse possession and acquiescence can be very nuanced and detailed. Our Logan, Utah lawyers at Harris, Preston & Chambers, LLP can help you review your options and guide you through the legal process of your boundary dispute.
Contact your Logan, Utah construction attorneys at Harris, Preston & Chambers, LLP today by calling (435) 752-3551.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What is it and how does it work?
The economic recession that began in 2009 resulted in desperate financial situations for many Americans. While there are some methods to improve one’s financial situation, such as debt counseling, individuals who are facing mountains of debt and who have very few assets may want to consider bankruptcy as an option. According to the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah, 6,243 bankruptcy cases were filed in Utah from January to June of 2015. Of those cases, more than half were chapter 7 bankruptcies.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process in which a person with debt (a debtor) can reduce or eliminate some of his or her debt. The process begins when the debtor files a petition for bankruptcy. Because federal laws, as opposed to state laws, govern the bankruptcy process, bankruptcy cases are filed in federal court.
There are a few different types of bankruptcy, named after the different chapters of the bankruptcy code where the laws can be found. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy for individuals. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not available to everyone. According to the U.S. Courts website, people who make less than the state’s median income are eligible to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, people who make more than the state median must pass a “means” test before being able to file under chapter 7. Failing to pass this “means” test means that the individual would then have to file bankruptcy under a different chapter, such as chapter 13. Additionally, chapter 7 bankruptcy is not available to those who have already used it within the past 8 years.
Why file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Filing for chapter 7 Bankruptcy can help the debtor get his or her debt situation under control. Typically the filing for bankruptcy will halt debt collections, meaning that the bankruptcy proceedings will give the debtor extra time to sort out his or her finances and come up with a plan for resolving debt-related issues. Additionally, most debts can be wiped out through chapter 7 bankruptcy, and other debts can be managed through a payment plan.
However, chapter 7 bankruptcy isn’t right for everyone. According to the American Bar Association, chapter 7 bankruptcy can be more drastic than other types of bankruptcy, such as chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves a complete liquidation, which typically means that the debtor will have to sell or turn over most of his or her assets to creditors to pay off the debt. This is different from chapter 13 bankruptcy, in which the debtors create a payment plan and make regular payments on the debt, and are able to keep more of their assets.
There are also other limitations to bankruptcy that should be considered when deciding whether or not to file. Bankruptcy can impact the debtor’s credit rating, and may not discharge all of the debt. Student loan debt, arrears on child support payments, and some debts owed to the government may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings.
If you have questions about whether chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you, contact the Logan, Utah bankruptcy lawyers of Harris, Preston, & Chambers, LLP for a consultation today. Our Logan, Utah bankruptcy attorneys practice in counties throughout Utah, including Cache, Rich, Box Elder, Weber, and Salt Lake. We can review your case, go over your options, and help you decide what’s best for you.
Contact your Logan, Utah construction attorneys at Harris, Preston & Chambers, LLP today by calling (435) 752-3551.
Understanding Corporate Entities.
For many people, starting and running their own business has been a lifelong goal. It can be exciting to think about creating something from the ground up. It can also be overwhelming and difficult to understand all of the processes and formalities to starting a business. A key part of starting a business is to determine what type of entity your business will be; making this determination will help protect the business owner from financial liability in the event of any legal challenges. There are basic differences between the six major corporate entity types.
A C corporation, or a standard corporation, is a separate legal entity that is owned by shareholders. Having a C Corporation structure limits the shareholders’ (or owners’) liability for debts incurred by the business. This limited liability generally means that if the corporation owes a debt or is sued, then those obligations will be paid with the money or assets that belong to the corporate entity, not those that personally belong to the individual owners. C corporations can have an unlimited number of shareholders. Owners are generally required to comply with state filing requirements.
An S corporation is also a standard corporation. The major difference between a C corporation and an S corporation is that an S corporation has a special tax status with the IRS. For C corporations, corporate income is double-taxed: once when the corporate income tax return is filed, and once when shareholders file individual tax returns. With an S corporation status, there is no corporate income tax. The income is only taxed on the individual shareholders’ tax returns. S corporations cannot have more than 100 shareholders. Owners of S corporations are generally required to comply with state filing requirements.
Limited Liability Companies
An LLC, or a Limited Liability Company, is an alternative to the corporate form. An LLC offers limited liability protection (similar to the limited liability for corporations) and only taxes income at the individual level rather than at the entity level. LLCs also differ from corporations by requiring fewer formalities and obligations. LLC owners are generally required to comply with state filing requirements.
Partnerships are business entities owned by two or more partners. There may be no limited liability depending on how the entity is arranged. If there is no entity protection, the owners are liable for any debts or actions of the partnership. Partnerships are not a separate entity from the owners. Income and earnings of the partnership are taxed on the owners’ individual taxes, as the partnership is not considered a distinct entity from the owners. General partnerships are formed by agreement, and are not required to file formal paperwork.
In a sole proprietorship, there is a single owner. There is no limited liability, and the owner is responsible for any debts or liabilities incurred. There are few formalities involved with a sole proprietorship, so it’s easier to start, and if a business grows under this model, the owner may elect to change into a different entity – and gain liability protections – in the future.
There are a variety of factors that go into determining which corporate form is right for you. Each type of entity carries with it distinct benefits and obligations. If you or a loved one is considering starting your own business in Salt Lake City, Logan, Weber County, or anywhere throughout northern Utah, or are currently running a business and has questions about corporate liability, it is important to have an experienced business attorney that can help you understand your options.Contact the Logan, Utah business lawyers of Harris, Preston & Chambers, LLP for a consultation today.
Contact your Logan, Utah construction attorneys at Harris, Preston & Chambers, LLP today by calling (435) 752-3551.
Domestic abuse is one of the most difficult circumstances that someone can experience. When one is being abused by his or her spouse, it can feel as though there are no options. There are a lot of resources in Utah, including counseling, shelters, and legal remedies. One legal option for someone who is experiencing abuse is to obtain a protective order.
What is a Protective Order?
A protective order is a judicial order that can provide relief for someone who has experienced abuse by requiring an abuser to either stop certain behavior or to take certain action.
Who is eligible to get one?
According to Utah law, any cohabitant who has experienced abuse or domestic violence or who has a substantial likelihood of abuse or domestic violence is eligible to seek a protective order. The law defines cohabitants as people who have lived together, current or former spouses, relatives by blood or marriage, or parties with a child in common or who are expecting a child together. It also defines abuse as causing or attempting to cause physical harm or placing someone in fear of imminent physical harm. Domestic violence is defined more broadly to include any criminal offense involving violence or physical harm when it occurs between cohabitants, as defined above.
Those who have not lived with their abuser and who do not have a family relationship with their abuser are eligible for a dating violence protective order.
Why get a Protective Order?
Protective orders are legal tools that can help increase safety for victims of abuse and their families. Protective orders can include provisions that require abusers to stop the abuse, to stop contacting the victim, and to avoid certain locations to minimize the chances that the victim and abuser will have to interact.
In addition, for cohabitants, temporary protective orders can provide additional legal relief that can support a victim who is leaving an abusive relationship. Orders may grant victims with temporary possession of any property, including a home, car, or other personal items. If the parties have children in common, the order can also include provisions regarding custody and support. There is some limitation on the duration of certain relief. The court can only grant child custody, child support, and/or spousal support for up to 150 days.
According to Utah law, protective order provisions fall into one of two categories: civil and criminal. Abusers who violate criminal provisions of the protective orders, such as those prohibiting contact or abuse, will be arrested and are subject to criminal charges. If abusers violate civil provisions of a protective order, such as provisions regarding custody or support, they will be subject to contempt proceedings.
Protective orders can provide victims with the support and protection that they need in order to successfully leave a relationship and to stay safe. If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, it can be difficult to know what your next step should be. Our northern Utah attorneys at Harris, Preston & Chambers, LLP can help you understand what options are available to keep you and your family safe. Contact us for a consultation today in Salt Lake City, Ogden, or anywhere in northern Utah.