Marital Violations in Utah

Utah has some well-known laws regarding marital violations, yet there are others that may surprise even long-time residents.

Offenses against the Family

Photo by: Abhishek Jacob

Utah is known to be a family-friendly state and as such has certain laws in place to protect families by criminalizing “Offenses against the Family” as described in Chapter 7 of the Utah Criminal Code. This chapter includes laws pertaining to abortion, failure to support a family, sale of children, as well as marital violations.

Marital violations

Many of the listed marital violations found in Utah Criminal Code are understandably punishable by law, however there are some that are notably dated. Bigamy, child bigamy, and incest are all felony marital violations that are noted by the general public as being punishable criminal offenses. The other two sections listed as marital violations pertain to adultery and fornication-two areas that may not be viewed by everyone as being criminal in nature.

Adultery

According to Utah Code 76-7-103 “A married person commits adultery when he voluntarily has sexual intercourse with a person other than his spouse.” While most agree with this definition of adultery, many are shocked to hear that it is against the law in Utah. That section regarding marital violations goes on to note that “Adultery is a class B misdemeanor” which Utah Courts state is punishable with a county jail term of “up to six months in jail [and] up to $1,000 fine or compensatory service.

Fornication

Photo by: Pete Birkinshaw

The following section goes one step further by not only punishing unfaithful spouses, but consenting adults who consummate their relationship prior to marriage. 76-7-104 states: “Any unmarried person who shall voluntarily engage in sexual intercourse with another is guilty of fornication. Fornication is a class B misdemeanor.” This law which was enacted in the 1973 General Session was likely approved by a generation where such actions were abhorrable.

Socially unacceptable, not criminal

Just because something seems wrong, does not mean it is necessarily criminal. While most Utah residents frown upon cheating spouses, not all agree that couples should save themselves for marriage. Some issues are better left for couples to decide for themselves.

Utah Man Arrested For Discharge of a Firearm from a Vehicle

A Utah man traveling in Colorado was arrested earlier today for discharge of a firearm from a vehicle after he fired a single random shot out of a SUV he was a passenger in.

Guns and alcohol

Photo by: Ben Brown

Colorado State troopers responded to a report of a man firing a gun into the air while traveling down I-70 in Glenwood Canyon Colorado. Officers located the vehicle in question and were able to determine that the shot was made by the passenger in the vehicle who was notably intoxicated. 43 year old Ryan Johnson from Fairview Utah was arrested for prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Discharge of a firearm from a vehicle

Officers were not able to determine any malicious motive behind Johnson’s choice to fire a weapon out of his vehicle and there were no injuries reported. Regardless, his actions were distressing to the public and put others in danger. Utah State Code has a law for those trigger-happy individuals who may contemplate firing a weapon from a moving vehicle, even if there was no target in mind. Utah Code 76-10-508 states the obvious: “A person may not discharge any kind of dangerous weapon or firearm . . . from an automobile or other vehicle”; Doing so is a class B misdemeanor.

Firearms, arrows, throwing stars and nunchakus

Colorado, who until now may have not needed a law specifically to deter individuals from discharging a firearm from a vehicle does punish those who do so under Colorado Revised Statute 18-12-106. That section states: a person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if. . . recklessly or with criminal negligence he discharges a firearm or shoots a bow and arrow . . . [or] has in his or her possession a firearm while the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a controlled substance”. That section also criminalizes using throwing stars and nunchakus on others.

Drunken regrets

Sobered up Johnson likely regretted his drunken display of gun-power and will hopefully make the wise choice to gain the assistance of a reputable attorney. Anyone else facing charges related to firearms, vehicles or both of those combined are also encouraged to seek legal counsel.

California Man Arrested For Disturbing a Legislature or Official Meeting in Southern Utah

A California man was arrested for disturbing a legislature or official meeting after he wandered on stage during the 2nd Congressional District debate in southern Utah and used Rep. Chris Stewart’s microphone to oppose vaccines.

Live broadcast

Photo by: Alex Indigo

Congressman Christ Stewart (R-UT) and Democratic opponent Shireen Ghorbani were ending their debate at Dixie State University when a member of the audience got on stage to add his two cents during Stewart’s closing statement. After Stewart claimed to be going off script regarding his closing statements, a random individual decided to make things a bit more surprising by stealing a few moments of the live broadcast to share his views on vaccines. “Vaccine’s cause autism” Corbin Cox McMillen from Citrus Heights California announced before being escorted off stage by campus police. McMillen was arrested for disorderly conduct and disturbing a legislature or official meeting.

Misdemeanor “Wait your turn to talk”

In a law that is reserved for times like this, Utah Code 76-8-304 states “A person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if he intentionally:

(a) Disturbs the Legislature, or either of the houses composing it, while in session;

(b) Commits any disorderly conduct in the immediate view and presence of either house of the Legislature, tending to interrupt its proceedings or impair the respect of its authority; or

(c) “Official meeting,” as used in this section, means any lawful meeting of public servants for the purposes of carrying on governmental functions.”

Those wishing to let speak to their elected officials about topics of concern are encouraged to write to their nearest representative or attend those Q & A meetings where public discussion is allowed.