Accusations of domestic violence can result in criminal charges and civil implications. An arrest for suspected domestic violence does not always mean you will receive a conviction. If someone is accusing you of domestic violence, remain silent and contact an experienced domestic violence lawyer immediately.
Definition of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence laws are broad and prohibit a wide range of activities, so you may not be exactly sure what you did wrong. Arizona Revised Statute 13-3601 defines domestic violence as almost any criminal act of abuse committed by any family or household member against another family or household member. Assault is the most common charge related to domestic violence, but not all cases involve a physically violent act.
There are 29 underlying offenses that could potentially be an act of domestic violence. Some of these include:
- Criminal trespass
- Disorderly conduct
- Unlawful Imprisonment
- Negligent homicide
- Neglect or abandonment
- Animal cruelty
- Abuse of a child or vulnerable adult
By Arizona law, you are not charged with domestic violence alone, because it is not categorized as a separate crime. Instead, you are charged with one of the underlying crimes above, in conjunction with domestic violence. The only exception is aggravated domestic violence, which is charged separately, but only after multiple domestic violence offenses have occurred. Given the nuanced nature of a domestic violence charge, consulting with an experienced criminal lawyer will help you navigate the complex issues attendant to such a charge.
What Might Happen
Under Arizona statutes, if police officers respond to a domestic violence claim and have probable cause to believe you have committed domestic violence, they can arrest you at the scene. This is true even if they did not witness the domestic violence and/or the alleged victim does not want you arrested. If arrested, the police will take you for booking into jail. Contact a domestic violence lawyer as soon as you are able. Within 24 hours, you will appear before a judge for arraignment. The judge decides whether you will remain in custody or deserve release. If time permits, you may be able to arrange to have a criminal defense lawyer appear with you at the initial appearance to argue for favorable release conditions. If released, he may require you to post bond and forbid you to have any contact with your accuser while the case is ongoing.
The penalties for domestic violence depend on the seriousness of the underlying act, the age of the alleged victim, and your age and previous criminal history. Charges can range from a Class 3 misdemeanor to a felony. Domestic violence counseling is mandatory for any conviction, but you may also face jail or prison time, hefty fines, and civil penalties. If you have had two or more previous domestic violence violations within the past seven years, it will increase your penalties and the likelihood of a jail sentence. You may also have to pay restitution.
Your accuser may also file for an order of protection against you. This falls under civil ramifications. Depending on the terms of this protection order, you could have to move out of your current residence and refrain from contacting or coming within a set distance of anyone listed on the order. Any violation of the protection order could result in your arrest and additional criminal charges filed against you.
Hire a Top Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence cases involve special rules, so it is important you have a domestic violence lawyer from Lerner & Rowe Law Group on your side. We understand the unique characteristics of domestic violence cases. We will investigate the evidence against you and defend your rights. Visit our office from 8 AM to 5 PM for a free consultation and to learn more about our affordable payment plans. We are also available to take your call any time of the day or night at 602-667-7777. Check out our website and use our convenient LiveChat feature to get quick answers whenever you need them. So, don’t wait. Call us today!