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Child Abuse and Aggravated Child Abuse in Utah

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Child Abuse and Aggravated Child Abuse in Utah


In Utah, child abuse is a very serious crime with extreme penalties for conviction. Injuries to children are often reported by well-intentioned teachers, neighbors, and healthcare providers, which can cause even the ideal parents to become suspects. In a custody battle, child abuse allegations can be hurled like ammunition. If you have been charged with child abuse in Utah, you need to begin working with the best child abuse lawyer available to you as soon as possible to prevent your reputation and your rights from being permanently damaged.

What is Child Abuse?

In Utah, the law defining child abuse covers a broad scope that includes even accidental injuries. How are felony vs. misdemeanor child abuse charges determined? Depending on the details of the case, charges can range from a Class C misdemeanor up to a Second Degree felony and even to charges of aggravated crimes that cause penalties to be “enhanced” by the court.

Is spanking child abuse? If the effects of spanking a child rise to the level of injury that is defined under one of the definitions of an act of child abuse, then the state child abuse law may apply.

Penalties for Child Abuse in Utah

The various levels of child abuse crimes are described below. As you can see, the more extreme the nature of the abuse, the higher the level of the criminal charges. Unless other punishments are specifically required, generally, these are the penalties for the various levels of misdemeanors and felony crimes in Utah:

If a physical injury caused to a child was:

Intentionally inflicted Class A misdemeanor 6 months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both
Recklessly inflicted Class B misdemeanor Up to 6 months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000 or community service
By criminal negligence Class C misdemeanor Up to 90 days in jail, a maximum fine of $750 or community service


What is Aggravated Child Abuse?

Under Utah Criminal Code 76-5-109.2, a person commits aggravated child abuse if the perpetrator causes serious physical injury to a child, such as:

  • Burns
  • Starvation
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries from hitting or shaking
  • Suffocation

The state law also applies to a person who has custody or is responsible for the care of a child and either causes or allows someone else to seriously physically injure a child in Utah.

Penalties for Aggravated Child Abuse in Utah

This crime is a Second Degree felony if the crime is committed intentionally or knowingly. It is a Third Degree felony if done recklessly. It is a Class A misdemeanor if it is committed with criminal negligence.

If a serious physical injury caused to a child was:

Intentionally inflicted Second Degree felony 1 to 15 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine
Recklessly inflicted Third Degree felony Up to 5 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $5,000
By criminal negligence Class A misdemeanor 6 months in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both


State & Federal Laws Related to Child Abuse

The Utah Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (UCANRA) is the primary state law that establishes the reporting requirements for suspected child abuse or neglect. It also outlines the duties of professionals who work with children, such as teachers and healthcare providers, to report suspected abuse or neglect.

Additionally, the Utah Criminal Code includes several statutes that specifically address child abuse, including aggravated child abuse, child abuse homicide, and child kidnapping. These laws establish penalties for individuals who engage in various forms of abuse or neglect against children.

At the federal level, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provides funding and guidance to states to improve their child protective services systems and prevent child abuse and neglect. The Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCA) provides funding for programs that support child victims of abuse and their families, including counseling and legal services.

What Type of Legal Representation Do Utah Criminal Defense Lawyers Provide for Child Abuse Cases?

Utah criminal defense lawyers specializing in child abuse cases provide legal representation for individuals accused of child abuse or related offenses. They assist clients in navigating the legal system, providing guidance and support throughout the entire criminal justice process. Defense lawyers work diligently to protect the rights of their clients, ensuring that they receive a fair trial and just treatment. This may involve negotiating plea bargains, developing effective defense strategies, and presenting evidence in court. Additionally, defense lawyers may provide legal advice and representation in related matters, such as child custody disputes or protective order hearings.

Here are some specific ways a Utah criminal defense lawyer for child abuse can help:

  • A Utah child abuse defense lawyer knows how to identify discrepancies in matters for interpretation.
  • An experienced lawyer obtains expert witnesses to explain matters logically to help you receive the fullest benefit of the doubt in each critical area.
  • A skilled child abuse attorney can draw focus to the aspects of your case that support reducing or even dropping charges or minimizing the sentence, depending on the situation.
  • The best criminal defense lawyers guide the legal process and ensure that all state laws and court rules are obeyed throughout the trial.
  • Your lawyer makes sure that all of your rights are fully protected and that everything that can be done is done to develop the strongest possible case for your defense.

Best Rated Child Abuse Defense Attorneys in Salt Lake City, Utah

Contact Our Award Winning Utah Criminal Defense Law Firm to Schedule a Free Child Abuse Case Review in Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah

Wasatch Defense Lawyers in Salt Lake City represents clients accused of child abuse. Whether you are a parent or non-parent facing these allegations, we can help you. Our team of criminal defense attorneys possesses a profound understanding of Utah statutes and Salt Lake City court procedures and protocols, particularly in the context of child abuse cases.

Our immediate focus will be on reducing your charges or having them dropped altogether, with the ultimate goal of keeping you from serving jail time and being marked with a criminal record. As experienced, award-winning Utah criminal defense attorneys specializing in child abuse cases, we understand the importance of such a result and will work tirelessly to achieve it.

If You Are Facing Child Abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse Charges in Utah, Call the Wasatch Defense Lawyers 24/7 at (801) 980-9965.

How to report child abuse: If you suspect someone you know of child abuse, you should report your concerns to the proper law enforcement authority in your town or county.

  • North Salt Lake
  • Salt Lake City
  • South Salt Lake
  • Centerville
  • Bountiful
  • West Bountiful
  • Woods Cross
  • Millcreek
  • Murray
  • Midvale
  • West Valley City
  • West Jordan
  • Taylorsville
  • Kearns
  • Holladay
  • Sandy
  • Draper
  • Cottonwood Heights