Penalties of an Arizona domestic violence charge can be devastating. Even more so if you are found guilty and officially convicted of domestic violence.
At Lerner and Rowe Law Group, we have a team of experienced criminal lawyers who can defend against all manner of domestic violence charges. After you hire us, we will work diligently to ensure you have a proper defense.
Should You Hire a Domestic Violence Attorney?
Domestic violence (DV) cases are fact specific, and are usually a case of “he said, she said.” For this reason, domestic violence cases commonly depend on the credibility of the witnesses involved.
Having the right domestic violence lawyer by your side is often key to obtaining a successful outcome in a DV case. Hiring an attorney tells the prosecutor you’re going to fight your case and take the matter to trial, if necessary.
This will give you a leg up during plea negotiations and overall a better chance of avoiding a criminal conviction. Our Phoenix domestic violence lawyers know the best strategies to beat a DV charge. Possible defenses to a domestic violence charge include:
- Uncooperative Victim: If the alleged victim changes his/her story or refuses to testify at the trial, it can create complications for the prosecutors to prove a defendant’s guilt. The victim can’t just drop the charges, but being uncooperative could help the defendant’s case.
- Lack of proof/evidence: The prosecution has the high burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor has the obligation to present admissible evidence to prove each element of the domestic violence offense. Insufficient evidence or inadmissible evidence could result in a not guilty verdict.
- Affirmative Defenses: In many cases the person charged with domestic violence was acting in self-defense or was otherwise justified in their actions. In these cases, a domestic violence lawyer must persuade the prosecutor there’s a likelihood the defense will succeed at trial.
Can a Victim Drop the Charges?
Once the police are involved in a domestic dispute the victim has no control to stop or drop criminal charges. This is because the state can proceed with criminal prosecution for an alleged violation of state law whether or not the victim is willing to aid in prosecution.
Additionally, it doesn’t matter if the alleged victim changes his/her story and wants to drop the charges. The best way to protect yourself is to hire a Phoenix domestic violence attorney.
What Is Domestic Violence in Arizona?
After the shelter-in-place mandate was put into effect in Arizona, more and more news outlets and legal professionals have made predictions towards an increase of domestic violence cases. However, how is domestic violence classified in the state of Arizona?
Under ARS § 13-3601, any criminal offense can be classified as “Domestic Violence” if any of the following conditions apply:
1. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household. This condition can also apply to a simple roommate situation.
2. The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
3. The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
4. The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or 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.
5. The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
6. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship.
Orders of Protection and Domestic Violence
Often, parties involved in a domestic dispute are advised to obtain an Order of Protection against the other party. An Order of Protection prohibits the restrained person having contact with the application and from committing acts of domestic violence.
An order of protection is in effect for one year after it is served; however, the defendant can request a hearing to challenge the Order of Protection and request that it be dismissed or modified.
Violating an Order of Protection is a crime. A person who violates an Order of Protection can be charged with Interfering with Judicial Proceedings, a class one misdemeanor. Multiple violations of the same Order can result in a felony charge.
Is Domestic Violence a Felony?
A domestic violence charge is a felony only when it’s considered “Aggravated Domestic Violence.” In all other cases, a domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor. The state of Arizona, pursuant to ARS 13-3601.02, defines a criminal act as aggravated domestic violence if the defendant:
- Commits a third domestic violence offense within 84 months (seven years), including out-of-state offenses.
- Has convictions for two or more out-of-state domestic violence charges, these charges would warrant jail time in Arizona, but the defendant has only served four months or fewer.
- Has convictions for three or more out-of-state domestic violence charges that would warrant jail time in Arizona, but the defendant only served eight months or fewer.
- If the domestic violence incident involves a weapon or serious bodily harm to the other party, the courts may deem the offense to be a felony. To learn more about this, contact a domestic violence lawyer in Scottsdale today.
Penalties for an Arizona Domestic Violence Charge
The consequences for a domestic violence conviction are serious. A conviction could result in limitations in child visitation rights, the loss of gun privileges, being placed on probation, sentenced to jail, and in felony cases a possible prison sentence.
One significant consequence of a domestic violence conviction is participation in a state-mandated counseling program.
This program can take months to complete, and must be paid for out-of-pocket.
Claim Free Consultation with a Phoenix Domestic Violence Lawyers
If you have been charged with any kind of domestic violence-related offense, it is essential that you retain an experienced, resourceful criminal attorney. Contact Lerner and Rowe Law Group today at 602-667-7777 to schedule a free consultation.