Arizona Domestic Violence Charges

Over the last two years, we have seen a significant spike in domestic violence cases in Arizona. A lot of speculation is that Covid-19 is to blame due to the fact that families have been quarantined for extended periods of time and other issues in their personal lives. Maybe someone lost a loved one, lost their job, lost their home, or something else. While society is slowly working its way back to normalcy, people may still find themselves a little on edge.

At Gurion Legal, we completely understand that sometimes when emotions and tempers flare, mistakes can happen. That is why we are here to help make the best light of the situation.

Below, we will discuss how Arizona laws define Domestic Violence, the possible penalties if convicted and how a Phoenix domestic violence attorney at Gurion Legal can help defend you.

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Domestic violence offenses can be charged based on the qualifying relationship between the alleged victim and the defendant. Some of the common types of offenses that can be charged as domestic violence crimes include the following:

  • Domestic violence assault
  • Domestic violence criminal damage
  • Domestic violence disorderly conduct
  • Domestic violence interference with judicial proceedings
  • Domestic violence unlawful imprisonment
  • Domestic violence interfering with the use of a phone during an emergency

 

The domestic violence sentence enhancer can also be used with many other types of offenses. If you are facing a domestic violence offense, you should retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Gurion Legal as soon as possible for help with defending against the charges against you.

Domestic Violence Laws in Arizona

Under ARS 13-3601, a crime can be charged as a domestic violence offense when the relationship between the alleged victim and the defendant is one of the following:

  • Spouse/ex-spouse
  • Reside together/used to reside together
  • The victim is pregnant by the defendant
  • The victim and defendant are legally or biologically related
  • The defendant lives with a child victim to whom they are related by blood or through a former spouse
  • Past or current sexual or romantic involvement

The court considers a number of factors when it determines whether or not a domestic relationship exists, including the following:

  • Type of relationship
  • Length of relationship
  • How often the alleged victim and defendant interacted
  • Whether or not the relationship is current or has ended, and how long has passed if it has ended

If a prosecutor determines that a domestic relationship exists or existed, they can add a domestic violence sentence enhancement to a charged offense. An enhancement can lead to increased penalties and added requirements upon a conviction.

Domestic Violence Offenses and Penalties

While many domestic violence offenses are Class 1 misdemeanors, some offenses are felonies. If your offense involved a child victim, a weapon, or serious injuries, the prosecutor could charge you with a felony offense.

When the victim is a child, it might also be considered to be a dangerous crime against children under ARS 13-705. DCAC offenses carry enhanced penalties that depend upon the specific type of crime and the age of the victim.

Domestic violence offenses that are Class 1 misdemeanors carry the following potential penalties:

  • Maximum jail sentence of six months
  • Maximum fine of up to $2,500
  • Additional fees and surcharges
  • Up to three years of probation
  • Domestic violence classes and counseling

If you are convicted of a Class 2 misdemeanor domestic violence offense, the following penalties will apply:

  • Jail for up to 120 days
  • Fine of up to a maximum of $750
  • Additional fees and surcharges
  • Up to two years of probation
  • Domestic violence classes and counseling

A Class 3 misdemeanor domestic violence conviction will carry the following penalties:

  • Jail for up to 30 days
  • Fine up to a maximum of $500
  • Additional fees and surcharges
  • Domestic violence classes and counseling
  • Probation for up to one year

Even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction will prevent you from being able to possess or own a firearm.

Felony domestic violence penalties will depend on the classification level of the offense and your criminal record. The following felony offenses are example crimes that can be charged as crimes of domestic violence:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Child abuse
  • Criminal damage
  • Custodial interference
  • Criminal trespass
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Disorderly conduct
  • First or second-degree murder
  • Harassment
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Endangerment
  • Surreptitious photography
  • Interference with judicial proceedings
  • Threatening or intimidating
  • Unlawful disclosure of photos or videos
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Vulnerable adult abuse

Felony domestic violence offenses can lead to decades in prison.

What is Aggravated Domestic Violence?

Aggravated domestic violence is defined in ARS 13-3601.02. You can be convicted of aggravated domestic violence if you are convicted of a third domestic violence crime within seven years.

Even if the underlying crime is a misdemeanor, aggravated domestic violence is a Class five felony carrying the following potential penalties:

  • If no prior felonies, from six months to 2.5 years in prison
  • Domestic violence classes and counseling
  • No probation eligibility until you have served a minimum of four months in jail
  • Fine up to a maximum of $150,000

If you have been convicted of three or more domestic violence crimes within the past seven years and are convicted of aggravated domestic violence, the following penalties will apply:

  • If no prior felony convictions, minimum of six months up to 2.5 years in prison
  • Domestic violence classes and counseling
  • Not probation eligible until serving a minimum of eight months
  • Fine up to a maximum of $150,000

If you have one prior felony and are convicted of aggravated domestic violence, the following penalties will apply:

  • Prison from 1 to 3.75 years
  • No possibility of probation
  • Domestic violence classes and counseling
  • Fine up to a maximum of $150,000

If you are convicted of aggravated domestic violence and have two prior felonies, the prison sentence range will be three to seven-and-one-half years.

What if the Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges?

Some alleged domestic violence victims ask the prosecutor or court to drop domestic violence charges. However, prosecutors are the people who make charging decisions and rarely agree to drop criminal charges at the request of alleged victims of domestic violence.

Even if an alleged victim does not want to testify, their testimony can be compelled by subpoena.

 

Can you Defend Against Domestic Violence Charges?

It is possible to defend against charges of domestic violence successfully. In many cases, only the alleged victim and the defendant will have been present at the time of the offense. In some cases, a couple might have a loud argument, prompting a neighbor to call the police. After the police arrive, they will likely arrest someone.

Any statements made by the alleged victim at the scene will be inadmissible unless they are called to court and testifies. If the alleged victim does not show up, the prosecutor might have to dismiss the case if there isn’t any other evidence.

Another defense to domestic violence charges involves false accusations. In some cases, an alleged victim will falsely accuse a defendant of domestic violence to try to get the defendant removed from the home or to get revenge for a perceived wrong. A defense attorney might investigate thoroughly to demonstrate the alleged victim’s underlying motive in falsely accusing the defendant.

If the property or alleged victim was injured by accident without intent, you could defend against domestic violence charges. The prosecutor must prove that you intended to harm the property or injure the victim to convict you. If the prosecutor cannot show intent, your case might be dismissed.

Self-defense is commonly raised in cases involving allegations of domestic violence. For example, if the alleged victim attacked you, forcing you to defend yourself, you could present evidence showing that they were the real offender.

Talk to Phoenix Domestic Violence Lawyer at Gurion Legal

If you have been arrested and charged with a domestic violence crime, it is important for you to get legal help as soon as possible. It is rarely a good idea to try to represent yourself when you are facing serious criminal allegations. If you do try to represent yourself, you are much likelier to be convicted as charged and face serious penalties.

An attorney at Gurion Legal can carefully review the facts of your case and identify the best defense strategies to use to defend you against your charges. They can thoroughly investigate what happened to uncover mitigating evidence and witnesses that might be helpful in your defense case.

When you retain an attorney at Gurion Legal, we can appear with you in court and explain what you might expect at each hearing and court appearance. Contact our office today to learn more about your rights and how we might be able to help.

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