Criminal Lawyer in Utah–Jake Gunter

Communication Device charges Damage to or Interruption of a Communication Device

Commonly during domestic violence episodes, one party, or the other will not want the police called to the house.  If, during this domestic violence dispute, one person attempts to destroy the cell phone or stop the other party from using the phone to call the police, they could be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor.

Damage to a Communication Device can be found at Utah Code Ann. 76-6-108 (2017).  It is considered a crime of domestic violence and carries all the stigmas associated with having a domestic violence conviction.   If you are convicted of a crime of domestic violence, you cannot possess or own firearms and a host of other activities associated with firearms under the federal law called—The Laughtenberg Amendment.

The person accused of interrupting a communication device must either intentionally, with knowledge, or recklessness damage, destroy, or use force to prohibit another from using the phone call emergency aid providers.

The Utah Criminal Code defines Intentional, Knowingly or Recklessly mean the following:

(1) Intentionally.  Intentionally, or with intent or willfully with respect to the nature of his conduct or to a result of his conduct, when it is his conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.

(2) Knowingly.  Knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to his conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he is aware of the nature of his conduct or the existing circumstances. A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his conduct when he is aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.

(3) Recklessly.  Recklessly with respect to circumstances surrounding his conduct or the result of his conduct when he is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor’s standpoint.

The act defines the following terms:

(a)”Communication device” means any device, including a telephone, cellular telephone, computer, or radio, which may be used in an attempt to summon police, fire, medical, or other emergency aid.

(b) “Emergency aid” means aid or assistance, including law enforcement, fire, or medical services, commonly summoned by persons concerned with imminent or actual:

(i) jeopardy to any person’s health or safety; or

(ii) damage to any person’s property.

A person is guilty of damage to or interruption of a communication device if the actor attempts to prohibit or interrupt, or prohibits or interrupts, another person’s use of a communication device when the other person is attempting to summon emergency aid or has communicated a desire to summon emergency aid, and in the process the actor:

(a) uses force, intimidation, or any other form of violence;

(b) destroys, disables, or damages a communication device; or

(c) commits any other act in an attempt to prohibit or interrupt the person’s use of a communication device to summon emergency aid.


If you are charged with a crime of domestic violence for allegedly interfering with a communication device during a dispute the criminal defense, trial lawyers at Howard Lewis & Petersen, PC can help.  Call/txt for a free consultation at (801) 373-6345.