Contact An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Domestic violence is one of the most serious misdemeanor charges you can face because of the numerous collateral consequences that will occur if you are convicted. A conviction can change your life in very bad ways. It is critical that you speak with a lawyer as soon as you are charged in order to maximize your chances of winning or getting a favorable outcome to your case. Schedule a free consultation with a Glendale domestic violence attorney at The Law Offices of John Phebus as soon as possible. Our experienced criminal defense lawyer, John Phebus is here to help with your case.
If you have questions regarding domestic violence charges, schedule a free consultation at The Law Offices of John Phebus. Our Glendale domestic violence lawyers can be reached by calling (623) 847-7117 or by completing our online contact form. Our office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend appointments are available based on the needs of our clients.
What are Domestic Charges?
- A domestic violence charge includes felony or misdemeanor crimes including a fight, criminal damage, disorderly conduct or other criminal act with your spouse, parent, brother, sister or other close relative, even your roommate.
Domestic violence is a hot-button social issue. A true domestic abuse case, where one spouse mentally or physically abuses the other, often for years and with devastating consequences for the entire family, must be treated with the utmost seriousness. However, the vast majority of cases involving “domestic violence” are more complicated and not so simple to classify. Most situations involve a lot of mutual behavior by both sides that culminated in the police getting called. When the police arrive, they have to make a quick decision about who is guilty. Even though both husband and wife almost always bear some of the blame, the officer will have to decide who to file criminal charges against and who to classify as the victim. For practical reasons, charging both sides is rarely done.
What Are Some Acts That Qualify as Domestic Violence?
In Arizona, there is a fine line between what does and does not qualify as the crime of domestic abuse. Learning where this line lies can help you stay on the right side – as well as argue your innocence if you were wrongly accused of domestic violence. Understanding how the state defines this crime is one thing, but seeing real-life examples can give you a clearer picture of how Arizona identifies domestic charges. The following acts are examples of punishable domestic abuse in Arizona:
- Physical violence. Physically striking, slapping, punching, biting, shoving, or battering a child, spouse, ex-spouse, parent/grandparent, blood relative, or household member will qualify as domestic abuse. Any act of physical assault against these victims, whether it causes an injury or not, can qualify as a crime.
- Sexual abuse. Any form of sexual abuse or coercion against a household member or other qualifying victim will constitute domestic violence. These acts include unwanted sexual touching, kissing, or other sexual advances without consent, as well as sexual behaviors or the attempt to coerce someone into sexual acts.
- Emotional and psychological abuse. Shouting at a domestic household member, verbally threatening/intimidating someone, or saying things to lower the victim’s self-worth or self-esteem can qualify as domestic violence. You don’t need to raise a finger against the person for the courts to convict you of emotional domestic abuse.
- Financial/economic abuse. Taking someone else’s money, refusing to let a spouse have a job, or otherwise forcing the victim to become financially reliant on you can qualify as domestic abuse. This is a form of abuse that can perpetuate a cycle of violence and make it impossible for the harmed party to leave.
Arizona’s definition of domestic violence includes many forms of abuse and acts that will qualify as this crime. A victim can file domestic violence charges against a spouse, family member, or roommate for almost any act. After an allegation, the victim does not have the ability to rescind his or her accusation. The case will go to the state to prosecute or not. It’s crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney to defend you if someone in Glendale has accused you of any domestic violence act. A strong defense could be the only thing standing between you and serious criminal consequences.
Can You Drop Charges in a Domestic Violence Case?
Domestic abuse is a crime; therefore, the State brings the charges. The abused party may decide to drop the charges, but a district attorney and a judge will ultimately decide if the case is dismissed or not. In some cases, prosecution may continue even if the victim dropped the charges and refuses to testify. If the State chooses not to file charges, then all the parties involved will be notified.
Consequences of a Domestic Abuse Charge in Arizona
Something as minor as a loud verbal argument could get you charged with disorderly conduct or threatening and intimidating. Once the police decide that you are the bad guy, you will be taken to jail, charged with a crime and be put in the position of having to defend yourself.
In Arizona, if you are convicted of a domestic assault, you must be ordered to attend at least a 26-week domestic violence class, which usually costs about $600.
- If you are a teacher, your fingerprint clearance card will probably be revoked.
- If you are a nurse or other person who interacts with small children, you could lose your fingerprint clearance card. You will be out of a job or a career that you invested many years in.
- You will be barred for life from owning a firearm.
The Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 amended the Federal Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9). Under its provisions, it is unlawful for an individual convicted of a state or federal “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to “ship, transport, possesses or receive firearms or ammunition.” Law enforcement officers and government employees (such as security guards or military personnel) are not exempt from this law with respect to their receipt or possession of firearms or ammunition.
Therefore, law enforcement and other government employees who have been convicted of a qualifying misdemeanor will not be able to lawfully possess or receive firearms or ammunition for any purposes, including performing their official duties.
Hunting and the right to bear arms are major parts of our western heritage, of our Arizona tradition. Imagine being unable to ever hunt with your son or daughter because you got into a shoving match with your significant other or roommate.
If you are not a United States citizen, and you get convicted of a domestic violence offense, you will probably be barred from ever becoming an American citizen. Even if you are in the U.S. legally, you may be deported if you are convicted.
People have a common misunderstanding about the court. Many people believe that if it is your word versus someone else’s and there is no other evidence, a person cannot be found guilty. This is not true. In the vast majority of misdemeanor cases, convictions are obtained by the government merely on the testimony of a single witness who was present. If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, it’s important that you seek legal advice from a domestic violence lawyer in Glendale as soon as possible.
What Is an Emergency Protective Order?
An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is a common step for domestic abuse victims and accusers will take prior to, and during, a criminal case. In Arizona, this order will immediately provide protection against an alleged domestic abuser in emergency situations. If someone believes he/she is in imminent danger, that person can call 911 or visit a Glendale police department to request an EPO.
A judge will only grant a request for an order of protection if he/she believes the victim is in immediate danger of a serious injury. An emergency order of protection will last one day. After that, it is up to the harmed party to go to court and request a permanent protective order. If a victim doesn’t take this step, the emergency order will expire and no longer apply. If a judge grants a request for a permanent protective order, the alleged abuser will be unable to go near or contact the injured party for up to one year, or permanently if the courts decide so.
Each criminal defense case is unique and will have different rules for the temporary or permanent protective order. If you have questions about a protection order against you in Glendale, talk to a domestic violence attorney. Hiring a lawyer can help you understand the specifics of a protective order, help you work out logistics such as where you will live or whether you can interact with your children, and start planning a defense strategy in the event of a charge against you. Contact The Law Offices of John Phebus to schedule a free consultation and start working on the best defense for your case.