Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Tucson Domestic Violence Lawyer

In Arizona, domestic violence charges usually arise out of a simple argument that many couples, spouses, or family members experience at one time or another during their relationship.  The argument may then escalate to the point where one person feels the need to call the police, either because they were hurt, or felt scared.  Before you know it, the police show up and you or your loved one is taken to jail.  Unlike depictions on television, 99 times out of 100, the police will  end up taking one person to jail during a domestic violence call.

Convictions for domestic violence charges carry with them severe penalties in Arizona.  They may also involve unique legal issues and defenses that an experienced attorney can raise in defense of the accused.  If you or loved one has been charged with a domestic violence crime in Arizona, it is very important to acquire experienced counsel.

Arizona Domestic Violence Law

In Arizona, “domestic violence” is a label that is applied to an offense when a domestic relationship exists between the defendant and the victim, such as when:

  • the defendant and victim are married, are formerly married, live together, or have lived together in the past;
  • the defendant and victim have a child in common, or one person is pregnant by the other person;
  • the victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood, by court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister;
  • the victim is related to the defendant by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law;
  • the victim is a child who lives in or has lived with the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who lives or has lived in the same household as the defendant;
  • the defendant and victim are currently dating, or have previously dated.

The “domestic violence” label can be attached to any number of offenses under Arizona law, and the offense conduct does not necessarily have to include “violent” conduct.  The offenses include:

  • dangerous crimes against children
  • homicide
  • endangerment
  • threats and intimidation
  • assault and aggravated assault
  • custodial interference
  • unlawful imprisonment
  • kidnapping
  • sexual assault
  • criminal trespass
  • criminal damage
  • interference with judicial proceedings
  • disorderly conduct

The Victim does not want to Prosecute. Will the Charges Against me be Dropped?

Although a victim is entitled under Arizona law to provide input to the prosecutor’s office on whether he or she wants the prosecution to go forward, the ultimate decision whether to prosecute the case rests in the hands of the prosecutor’s office.  This is because the State of Arizona is the plaintiff in the case, and the victim is simply a witness.

However, under some circumstances it may be difficult for the State to proceed without a victim.   Moreover, because the victim has rights, it is important for victims to know their rights and to to know they don’t simply have to do as they are told by the prosecutor.  Under many circumstances a victim can voluntarily provide statements to the defense and correct any misstatements made to the police.  This is extremely delicate area of law given that Arizona does have witnesses tampering laws and violating a order of the Court can also result in criminal sanctions.   An experienced attorney can assist with this “grey area” of law.

If you or loved one has been charged with a domestic violence crime in Arizona OR if you or a loved one is the victim of a domestic violence and desires independent advice, it is very important to acquire experienced counsel.

 

Penalties for Domestic Violence Offenses

The penalties for domestic violence convictions are severe.  At a minimum under Arizona law, a person convicted of a first time misdemeanor domestic violence offense must complete 26 sessions of domestic violence classes.  Additional penalties for first time misdemeanor convictions include a term of either supervised or unsupervised probation, a fine, community service, anger management or other behavioral counseling, as well as orders to stay away from the victim. The penalties for repeat convictions for domestic violence increase in severity, and can lead to a jail term of 4 or 8 months, or a prison sentence for more serious offenses. These penalties are just ranges for potential sentences.  Certain aggravating or mitigating facts could affect the penalty imposed upon conviction.  For example, in less serious cases, an accused may be able to participate in a diversion program, which upon completion, the charges get dismissed.  Multiple (3) domestic violence cases within 84 Months can and will be charged as felony under Arizona’s  Aggravated Domestic Violence Statute 13-3601.02.  See: http://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/03601-02.htm