Domestic Violence Lawyer – Phoenix Domestic Violence Attorney
Within a family or other domestic relationship, it is not unusual for disputes to arise. Because of the intensity of emotions involved, conflicts can easily escalate into full-scale verbal or physical battles, complete with threats, intimidation, shoving, hitting, throwing of objects, and more. When an assault, abuse, or other crime occurs within the context of a domestic relationship, and law enforcement becomes involved, they file the charges against the alleged perpetrator as “domestic violence.” If you are facing domestic violence charges, you should contact a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
Potential for False Allegations
Violence and abuse should never occur within a domestic relationship. However, for many years, when it did, law enforcement wrongly looked the other way. Today, however, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme. Domestic violence has become highly politicized. In addition, the courts now take it extremely seriously. Therefore, it is an area that provides fertile ground for false allegations. As your domestic violence attorney can tell you, reports of domestic violence are fairly common. People may use them as a means of exacting revenge against a domestic partner based on an emotional response to infidelity or other perceived wrong-doing in the relationship.
You also might feel socially isolated while facing domestic violence charges. Due to recent, high profile abuse cases, public opinion tends to side with alleged victims — regardless of whether their claims are valid. However, don’t give up hope. The prosecutors must prove their claim beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled domestic violence lawyer can help you defend yourself against false allegations and regain control.
Which Domestic Relationships Allow a Domestic Violence Charge to Be Filed?
Domestic violence is not itself a specific crime. Rather, it is an enhancement to charges for any crime or abuse that affects someone with whom you are currently involved, or with whom you have been involved, in any type of domestic relationship, for example:
- Your spouse or ex-spouse
- Someone you’re dating or were dating
- Your live-in partner
- Your child or grandchild
- A current or former romantic partner’s child
- Your child’s other parent
- A woman who is pregnant with your child
- Your parents or grandparents
- A roommate or housemate
- Your brother or sister
- Your in-laws
Arizona’s Domestic Violence Statute lists abusive behaviors that can be charged as domestic violence when the alleged victim falls into one of the categories constituting a “domestic relationship.” These are just a few:
- Sexual assault
- Violating a protective order
- Malicious mischief
- Elder abuse or abuse of a vulnerable individual
- Criminal trespass
- Child abuse
- Disorderly conduct
- Secretly photographing, videotaping, or filming someone
Domestic violence charges can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Repeat offenders might face aggravated domestic violence charges, which can result in a sentence of up to 36 months in prison. If you have questions about domestic violence and other criminal offenses, you should consult with an experienced, Board Certified criminal defense lawyer.
You Might Face Enhanced Penalties for Domestic Violence
When you are charged with domestic violence, in addition to the penalties you would ordinarily be subjected to if convicted of the crime you’ve been accused of, there will be others. Some of the penalties begin immediately at the time of the accusation, without requiring a conviction. These penalties include seizure and impounding of any weapons you own and an issuance of an emergency order of protection against you. This is a situation where you may feel that you have been denied your constitutional right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
On top of any jail time or probation, if convicted, you may be required to:
- take domestic violence classes (at your own expense)
- lose your right to possess a gun
- lose visitation rights or custody of your children
In addition, you may find yourself subject to a permanent order of protection keeping you away from your alleged victim (even if that person wants to see you). And if you are not a U.S. citizen, you could be deported. Also, you will carry the stigma of a criminal conviction for the remainder of your life, destroying your good reputation.
I’ve Been Served with a Restraining Order. Now What?
A restraining order or “order of protection” is supposed to keep domestic violence victims safe. It prevents an alleged abuser from making contact with victims. They typically last for one year, unless you can prove that the restraining order isn’t merited.
If you’re subject to a restraining order, you must comply with its limitations. Because it is a formal court order, violating a restraining order is a separate crime (contempt of court) that can complicate your domestic violence defense. If someone has filed a restraining order against you, you should immediately contact an experienced domestic violence lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand how an order of protection might impact your daily life and your legal rights– and determine whether you have grounds to dispute the court order.
Once you’re served with a restraining order, you can request a hearing disputing the order. At this hearing, you and your domestic violence lawyer will have a chance to present your side of the story and demand the dismissal of the protective order.
What Should I Do if I’m Facing Domestic Violence Allegations?
If you’re concerned that you’re the subject of a domestic violence investigation– or you’ve already been charged– your first step should always be contacting an experienced domestic violence lawyer. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the sooner he or she will begin investigating your case and formulate your defense.
You should also refrain from making any statements about the incident until your domestic violence lawyer is present. Your comments to law enforcement authorities and other agencies can easily be spun to damage your credibility. You’ll also want to avoid any further contact with the alleged victim, whether it is in person, over the phone, or electronic.
Finally, if you have any evidence or information that might help your case, make sure you document it. This might include photographs of your injuries, police reports, doctors’ reports, witness statements, and text and email messages from the alleged victim.
What Defenses Are There Against Domestic Violence Charges?
As a seasoned domestic violence lawyer, Howard Snader knows that every case is different. Depending on your circumstances, you might have a variety of defenses, including:
- Procedural errors, including an expired statute of limitations
- Defense of another person, such as a child or vulnerable adult
- Lack of a domestic relationship
At the Law Office of Howard A. Snader, we’ll take the time needed to understand and investigate your case. Next, we’ll craft the strongest defenses possible, basing them on your personal goals and best interests. While this sometimes might involve negotiating with the prosecutor, it could also require a trial and a well-prepared presentation to a jury. Regardless of the approach we decide upon in your case, we will treat you with respect, compassion, and aggressively defend your rights.
Finding the Right Domestic Violence Attorney When You’re Facing Accusations of Domestic Violence
A domestic violence conviction carries far-reaching consequences. Therefore, you will need to fight the charges with every legal means at your disposal. That means hiring the best domestic violence lawyer you can find. The State of Arizona Bar has a system in place for helping you to identify the most experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable attorneys in their practice area by means of their board certification process. Look for an Arizona Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist to represent you. In order to earn this prestigious credential, a lawyer has to pass a demanding exam, and professional peers in the legal community must recommend him. Because a domestic violence conviction can be potentially life-destroying, you should insist on a domestic violence lawyer who is Board Certified.
You’ll also want to find a domestic violence lawyer with a documented track record. Don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer questions, including the following:
- How frequently do you defend people facing domestic violence charges?
- Are you willing to take your criminal defense cases to trial?
- Do you focus solely on criminal defense matters?
- Do you handle both misdemeanor and felony charges?
- How many years have you specialized in criminal defense?
- How does your professional experience, including any work as a prosecutor, help you with your cases?
- Will you handle my case or pawn it off on a junior associate?
Finally, a domestic violence lawyer should listen to your story, treat you with respect, and value your long-term goals.
How to Find a Top Ranked, Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist in Maricopa County
To hire a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist, look no further than the law offices of domestic violence lawyer Howard A. Snader, LLC. A former Maricopa County prosecutor with offices in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Howard obtained his board certification as a Criminal Law Specialist in 1995. In addition, he has earned an AVVO rating of a perfect 10 (superb), the highest possible. He has a long and enviable record of having charges dismissed or reduced for his clients and of obtaining full acquittals at trial.
Howard will conduct his own investigation of the allegations against you, as well as plan the best strategy for your unique circumstances. This may include:
- finding flaws in the prosecutor’s case
- identifying constitutional violations in police procedure
- discrediting witnesses
- uncovering possible motivations for a false accusation
Speak to a Domestic Violence Lawyer at the Law Office of Howard A. Snader, LLC Today
If you are facing domestic violence charges, call Howard Snader as soon as possible. Don’t tell the police your side of the story, discuss the event with them, or answer any questions until your attorney arrives to safeguard your constitutional rights. Moreover, don’t lose hope. With a superb domestic violence lawyer working for you, you have the very best shot at a resolution that will minimize any disruption of your life and freedom.