In Arizona, “domestic violence” is a crime one household or family member commits against another. A variety of actions – physical and verbal – may constitute domestic violence under the wrong circumstances. Domestic violence is a tricky crime because once a person alleges domestic violence or abuse, he or she cannot take it back. The matter immediately goes into the hands of city prosecutors once police respond to a call. The more you know about domestic violence laws in Arizona, the better you can protect yourself from this type of charge and conviction.
What Actions Qualify as Domestic Violence in Arizona?
Many different violent and non-violent offenses may fit under the umbrella term “domestic violence” in Arizona if the victim qualifies as a domestic family or household member. Domestic violence can involve physical assault, emotional/mental abuse, sexual assault, neglect, or financial control. A “victim” can allege domestic violence after almost any type of action, whether he or she felt at risk of harm or not. This may include:
- Threatening or intimidating
- Yelling or berating
- Assault and battery
- Kidnapping/false imprisonment
- Disorderly conduct
- Criminal trespass
- Violating an order of protection
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they can’t call the police as just a scare tactic or threat and then take the allegation back. Once police received the report, the law mandates that they take it seriously and investigate the issue. At that point, it will not matter if the victim retracts his/her allegations. If police believe there is enough evidence, they can arrest the alleged perpetrator and recommend prosecutors press domestic violence charges. Then, only the district attorney will have the power to dismiss charges.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction
In Arizona, prosecutors charge most domestic violence offenses as the most serious types of misdemeanors. A conviction could result in up to six months in jail, fines of $2,500, and a mandatory domestic violence class. You may also have to complete probation. If you get a second or third domestic violence conviction, you could face more jail time or a felony charge. A felony domestic violence charge could result in years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
It’s very important to hire a good defense lawyer to take your criminal defense case. A lawyer may be able to lessen or convince the courts to dismiss the charges against you with a strong defense strategy, saving you from having a permanent criminal record. A misdemeanor or felony domestic violence conviction on your record could get in the way of finding a job or housing down the road, as well as interfere with rights such as child custody. Find a Glendale criminal defense attorney you can trust for the best possible case results.
Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges
It is possible to defend against domestic violence charges in Arizona. A strong defense starts with the defendant not saying or doing anything incriminating. Don’t talk to police officers until you have an attorney present. Don’t try to talk your way out of the arrest; the more you say, the more evidence the police may have against you. The police could take things you say as an admission of guilt, and probable cause to file charges against you. Instead, try to remain calm and wait for your phone call. Use it to contact an attorney for immediate assistance with your case.
Once you hire a lawyer, he or she will work with you to come up with an appropriate defense strategy based on your case. Possible defenses could include lack of evidence, uncooperative witness (the alleged victim taking back his/her allegations), or wrong defendant. An attorney will help you understand the most sensible defense route according to the details of your situation. Defense against a charge as serious as domestic violence is possible. Contact an experienced Glendale domestic violence lawyer for your best odds of a positive case outcome.