A Brief Overview of Utah Child Abuse Laws

If your child has been abused by an adult, or you have been accused of abusing a child, it is absolutely essential that you understand the relevant Utah laws that will apply to your case. Child abuse can some in many forms, including physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse of children. Read through some key aspects of what can be expected in these cases, and always make sure you’ve got an attorney working with you throughout the case to help ensure you get fair results.

What is Considered Child Abuse?

Detailed information about what is considered child abuse can be found under Utah Code 62A-4a-401, et seq: Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and Treatment. In this code, child abuse is defined as an action that causes harm (or threatens to cause harm) to the welfare or health to a child. This can be through active abuse or through neglect. Examples of neglect include non-accidental injuries (physical or mental) and sexual abuse including incest, exploitation, or molestation.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor Child Abuse

Prosecutors can charge an individual with either felony or misdemeanor child abuse depending on the severity of the harm or potential harm to the child. One of the more common examples of misdemeanor child abuse occurs when the police are called to the scene of a domestic violence situation. If the child witnessed one parent physically (or verbally in serious cases) assaulting another parent, misdemeanor child abuse charges can be filed. Felony abuse occurs in cases when the child experiences direct and/or severe injury or neglect.

Another important piece of information related to this is the fact that it is also a Class B misdemeanor if an adult fails to report, or falsely reports, child abuse. Anytime any adult sees or becomes aware of any type of child abuse, it is their obligation to notify the proper authorities as quickly as possible.

Potential Penalties

Conviction of a child abuse charge in Utah can come with a wide variety of different penalties depending on the specifics of your case. Common consequences include:

  • Registration on Sex Offender Registration List (for life)
  • Potential loss of parental rights
  • Restrictions on location of housing (can’t be nearby a school, etc)
  • Jail Time
  • Fines
  • Community Service

Get the Legal Representation You Need

If you are facing a child abuse case of any type, it is imperative that you have strong legal representation to work on your behalf. These types of cases require special knowledge of specific Utah laws, which is exactly what we provide. Contact us to set up a consultation and see how we can help you.

Written by Arnold Wadsworth Coggins

Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Attorneys is a premier Utah law firm serving the Wasatch Front in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and civil litigation. Our attorneys provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personal attention. With over 35 years of trial practice and litigation experience, we bring big firm expertise at affordable rates