In the state of Arizona, domestic violence is defined as almost any criminal act of abuse committed by one “family or household member” against another. Domestic violence does not mean that your abuser must be a spouse or partner; an abuser can be any family member. There are several Arizona laws that define crimes under domestic violence provided there is a qualifying victim. Some of these offenses need not be violent in nature and can take many forms, including physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, and financial, the objective of which are to obtain power or control over an individual.
If you or someone you know is charged with domestic violence, it is best to seek counsel from a domestic violence lawyer in AZ. This is to ensure that you are aware of what your options are. The sooner you build a strong defense, the better chance for you to avoid jail time.
What are examples of crimes related to domestic abuse?
Domestic violence constitutes any one of the following offenses committed by a family or household member:
- abuse to a vulnerable adult or child
- certain crimes against children; and/or disorderly conduct
- criminal trespass
- criminal damage
- disobeying a court order
- custodial interference
- endangerment (placing you at risk of immediate death or physical injury)
- harassment by phone and in person
- negligent homicide, manslaughter and murder
- neglect, abandonment or cruel mistreatment of an animal
- photographing, videotaping, recording, or secretly watching you without your consent
while you are in a private place (i.e., bathroom, bedroom) doing a private act (i.e., urinating, having sexual intercourse); or while your breasts, buttocks, or genitals are exposed in a way that they are not normally exposed in public
- physical assault, such as hitting or kicking
- preventing or interfering with the use of a telephone in an emergency
- threatening words or conduct
- unlawful imprisonment
In what circumstances are domestic violence charged?
Domestic violence may be committed by any family or household member defined as follows:
- current or former spouses
- 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
- the victim is related to the defendant or defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent,
- persons who reside or resided in the same household
- persons who have a child together
- the defendant or the victim is pregnant by the other party
- the victim is a child who resides or 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 has resided in the same household as the defendant
- the defendant and victim are or were in a romantic or sexual relationship
What are the consequences of being charged with domestic violence?
Even if you are only accused of domestic violence, there are already consequences. For example, while your case is pending in court, there will be an order of protection requiring you to stay away from the victim. If you have children, you will not be allowed to be with them and the Arizona Child Protective Services may get involved. If you share a residence with the victim, you may be kicked out, leaving you homeless while your case is pending.
What are the penalties when convicted of domestic violence?
If you are convicted of domestic violence in Arizona, the penalty will vary depending on the nature of the underlying crime and on your previous criminal history. Aside from mandatory completion of a counseling program for all convicts of domestic violence, you could face up to six months jail time in addition to a $2,500 fine. Fines are often part of a sentence, but typically the court suspends the fine if counseling is completed. If you are found guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge for the third time in a seven-year period, you can be charged with a felony and sentenced to prison time. Aggravated domestic violence is considered a Class 5 felony and carries up to 2 ½ years in prison for a first conviction.
Moreover, a conviction has some long-term consequences. You could end up with a domestic violence criminal record that could affect your employment, child custody, and civil rights.
What should I do if I am accused of domestic violence in Arizona?
Arizona’s domestic violence laws are sometimes fraught with complications. As such, it is critical to consult an experienced domestic violence lawyer in AZ if you have been accused of this crime. You may think all hope is lost once you are charged with domestic violence in Arizona. Don’t! You may still have a chance to avoid jail time and the other consequences of a domestic violence charge. Call one of the best domestic violence attorneys in Arizona at Howard Snader Law. Free initial case consultation is waiting for you 24/7/365