Domestic violence crimes are just different than others. In Arizona, “domestic violence” is not a crime in and of itself. Rather, it is a designation of a separate offense as involving a particular relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim. Arizona Revised Statute § 13-3601 defines what those relationships are that constitute domestic violence offenses:
- The relationship between the alleged victim and the defendant is one of marriage, former marriage, or those living together or those who previously lived together;
- The alleged victim and the defendant have a child in common;
- The alleged victim or the defendant are pregnant by the other party;
- The victim is related to the defendant or to the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister; or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law;
- The alleged victim is a child who lives or has lived in the same home as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who lives or who has lived in the same home as the defendant;
- The alleged victim and the defendant are now or were previously in a romantic or sexual relationship.
If an officer has probable cause to believe that a domestic violence offense has been committed then they are required by statute to make an arrest; they are not permitted to cite and release a person unless they have “reasonable grounds to believe that the circumstances at the time are such that the victim will be protected from further injury.” An officer who makes an arrest in a domestic violence offense who sees a firearm present on the premises may seize such a firearm if they reasonably believe that the firearm would expose the victim or another person to a risk of serious bodily injury or death. Conviction for a domestic violence offense, even a misdemeanor, makes one a prohibited possessor under federal firearms law. Finally, and unlike most other crimes, domestic violence offenses aggravate. A person who commits a third domestic violence offense, even if it would otherwise be a misdemeanor, can be charged with a specific crime of Aggravated Domestic Violence, which is a Class 5 Felony, subjecting them to 6 months to 2.5 years in prison, up to 3 years of probation, and a fine of up to $150,000 plus surcharges, on top of having a permanent felony conviction on their record.
Domestic violence offenses are just inherently different. If you or a loved one are charged with a domestic violence offense there is hope. A seasoned, aggressive, and effective criminal defense attorney can help craft a defense especially for your case to make the best out of a bad situation. Don’t face these charges alone. Contact us today for a free consultation.