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Utah Domestic Violence Laws

Violent acts that are committed by one family member against another are often viewed as particularly heinous acts and in many states, including Utah, constitute a distinct crime called domestic violence. For example, a husband who hits his wife may be charged with domestic violence instead of (or in addition to) other crimes such as assault and battery. The following chart highlights the main aspects of Utah's domestic violence laws.

Code Section

Utah Code section 77-36: Cohabitant Abuse Procedures Act
What's Prohibited?

It is illegal to commit any act of domestic violence.

What's the Definition of "Domestic Violence?"


Any criminal offense committed against a cohabitant involving violence, physical harm, the threat of violence or physical harm, or any attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit a criminal offense involving violence or physical harm.

Domestic violence also means committing (or attempting to commit) one of the crimes listed in section 77-36-1(4) against a cohabitant.

Who is a "Cohabitant?"


A cohabitant is a person who is 16 years old or older (or an emancipated minor) who:
  • Is or was a spouse of the offender
  • Is or was living as if a spouse of the offender
  • Is related by blood or marriage to the offender
  • Has or had at least one child in common with the offender
  • Is the biological parent of the offender's unborn child, or
  • Resides or previously resided with the offender

Protective Orders

Survivors of domestic violence in Utah can petition the court for a protective order (also referred to as a restraining order) in order to deter future abuse. These orders allow the victim to call the police and have the offender arrested if the protective order is violated.

Protective orders are available to any person who has been the victim of domestic violence, or to whom there is a substantial likelihood of abuse or domestic violence in the future. These orders are available even if the victim has moved out of the shared residence.

In Utah, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that an alleged perpetrator violated a protective order, then the officer will (without a warrant) arrest the perpetrator. Intentionally violating a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor. A second, or subsequent, violation of a protective order carries increased penalties (see section 77-36-1.1).

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information about Utah's domestic violence laws contact a local criminal defense attorney.

Get Help

If you are the victim of domestic violence there is help available for you. During an emergency call 911, and when you are safe contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll free at 1-800-799-7233.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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