I Was Charged With Domestic Violence In Utah, But I Was Acting In Self-Defense; Shouldn’t I Have The Right To Defend Myself?
Self-defense is a legal defense that can be used in some domestic violence cases, but not all. For example, domestic violence in the presence of a child is a class B misdemeanor charge for which the defense of self-defense would not work. Similarly, domestic violence involving disorderly conduct or criminal mischief charges could not be defended with a self-defense argument. Assault-related domestic violence cases can certainly be defended with an argument of self-defense.
I Have A Prior Conviction For Assault That Was Not Related To Domestic Violence, And I Was Recently Charged With Domestic Violence In Utah; Will The Judge Automatically Assume That I’m Guilty?
A judge will not assume a defendant’s guilt simply because they have a prior conviction on their record. In fact, most judges don’t know very much about the defendants that appear before them in court; they generally only read the police report associated with the specific incident at hand. However, if the defense attorney requests a lower bail amount, then the prosecutor might inform the judge of the prior conviction. If the prosecutor is charging a misdemeanor, then the judge might infer that there is a prior conviction. Prior to sentencing, the judge would be made aware of prior criminal acts, but wouldn’t deem the defendant guilty of the new charge as a result of this. According to the US Constitution, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and this is something which everyone must uphold.
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