Misdemeanor Domestic Violence In Arizona:
Domestic violence charges are very common in Arizona. Police officers are often called to a home with conflicting testimony about a domestic incident. Officers are asked to make split decisions on who to charge, if anyone at all. Unfortunately, police officers routinely arrest the wrong person or make an arrest where no crime was committed. That’s because police make assumptions. They weren’t there, so they quickly evaluate testimony and evidence to make a decision. They will also play it safe by arresting and removing someone from the home.
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What Is A Domestic Violence Charge in Arizona & How A Domestic Abuse Attorney Can Help
Domestic violence isn’t technically a crime in Arizona; rather, domestic violence is an allegation that the victim of a crime has a “domestic relationship” with the Defendant. For example, let’s say a defendant is charged with disorderly conduct and the victim is the defendant’s brother. In that scenario, disorderly conduct can be charged with a domestic violence allegation because they’re related. In other words, they share a specific “domestic relationship” recognized by Arizona law. And there’s a wide range of relationships that qualify for the domestic violence allegation: roommates, boyfriends, spouses, and in-laws are all recognized as domestic relationships under Arizona law.
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How Does A Domestic Violence Allegation Impact A Misdemeanor Charge?
A domestic violence allegation, under ARS 13-1601, exposes a defendant to increased punishments and additional collateral consequences. When convicted of a domestic violence offense, a Defendant must complete 26 domestic violence classes. In addition, the defendant can no longer possess or own firearms.
What Must The Prosecutor Prove In A Domestic Violence Case?
The prosecutor must prove two (2) things in any domestic violence charge:
(1) Defendant has a “domestic relationship” with the victim under Arizona law;
(2) Defendant committed one of the specific crimes listed in the Domestic Violence Statute.
What Types Of Relationships Qualify For A Domestic Violence Allegation Under Arizona Law?
The domestic relationships are listed in Arizona’s Domestic Violence Statute. The following relationships qualify for a domestic violence allegation:
- Victim and Defendant are married or divorced
- Victim and Defendant presently (or previously) reside in the same household
- Victim and Defendant have a child (or unborn child) in common
- Victim and Defendant are related (by blood, marriage, law, or court order)
- Victim and Defendant have (or had) a romantic or sexual relationship
As you can see, Arizona’s definition of domestic violence applies to almost any type of domestic relationship. In some cases, the domestic relationship is unclear making it challenging for the prosecutor to prove the charge. However, in most cases, the domestic relationship squarely fits in one of Arizona’s definitions.
The domestic relationship is most complicated in situations where the Victim and Defendant are only dating. In those cases, it’s questionable whether or not they actually formed a romantic or sexual relationship to justify the domestic violence allegation.
What Misdemeanor Crimes Can Be Charged As A Domestic Violence Offense?
Arizona’s Domestic Violence Statute specifically lists which offenses can be charged with a domestic violence allegation. There’s a wide array of charges ranging anywhere from murder and homicide to disorderly conduct and property damage. For purposes of this misdemeanor domestic violence summary, we’ll stick to the misdemeanor offenses.
These misdemeanor offenses are subject to a domestic violence allegation under Arizona Law:
- Endangerment; ARS 13-1201
- Threatening or Intimidating; ARS 13-1202
- Assault; ARS 13-1203
- Custodial Interference; ARS 13-1302
- Unlawful Imprisonment; ARS 13-1303
- Criminal trespass in the third degree; ARS 13-1502
- Criminal trespass in the second degree; ARS 13-1503
- Criminal trespass in the first degree; ARS 13-1504
- Criminal Damage; ARS 13-602
- Interfering with judicial proceedings; ARS 13-2810
- Disorderly Conduct; ARS 13-2904
- Cruelty to animals; ARS 13-2910
- Preventing use of a telephone in an emergency; 13-2915
- Use of electronic communication to terrify, intimidate, threaten or harass; ARS 13-2916
- Harassment; ARS 13-2921
What Are The Penalties For A Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charge?
Mandatory Enhanced Penalties For Domestic Violence Convictions
Misdemeanor domestic violence penalties depend on the classification of the charged misdemeanor. A misdemeanor domestic violence charge will be either class 1, 2, or 3. Any person convicted of a domestic violence offense must complete the State mandated domestic violence counseling program. The defendant must complete between 26 and 52 sessions of counseling. There are also additional mandated domestic violence fines.
Maximum Jail For Misdemeanors Under The Arizona Revised Statutes: A.R.S. § 13-707
- Class 1 Misdemeanor:
180 days jail.
- Class 2 Misdemeanor:
120 days jail.
- Class 3 Misdemeanor:
30 days jail.
Maximum Misdemeanor Fines Under The Arizona Revised Statutes: A.R.S. § 13-802
- Class 1 Misdemeanor: $2500
Plus surcharges, fees, assessments, and costs
- Class 2 Misdemeanor: $750
Plus surcharges, fees, assessments, and costs
- Class 3 Misdemeanor: $500
Plus surcharges, fees, assessments, and costs
Maximum Misdemeanor Probation Under The Arizona Revised Statutes: A.R.S. § 13-902
- Class 1 Misdemeanor: 3 years probation
- Class 2 Misdemeanor: 2 years probation
- Class 3 Misdemeanor: 1 year probation
Common Domestic Violence Defenses In Household Violence Cases
Lack Of Criminal Act
Charges are often fabricated in domestic violence cases. There’s a variety of motives at play: blame-shifting, revenge, child custody, divorce, and finances are all common motives to fabricate or exaggerate a domestic incident. Alcohol and drug abuse can also play a part in false accusations. In sum, there are many reasons why someone might call the police and falsely accuse someone of domestic violence.
Lack Of Criminal Intent
Often times a Defendant doesn’t have the required intent for charges to stick. Injuries, disturbances, and property damage can all be the result of an accident or self-defense.
Self-defense Or Defense Of Others
This is a common defense raised where a Defendant shows that reasonable force was used to defend himself. Oftentimes, the alleged victim will show the police injuries that were only caused by a defendant defending himself.
While not really a defense, a victim who’s not cooperative with the prosecutor, or who wants the charges dropped, certainly creates an obstacle in the prosecutor’s case. Nevertheless, the prosecutor can force the victim to appear and testify if they serve the victim with a subpoena. If a victim fails to show up to court after being served or changes her story on the stand, the victim could face criminal charges.
Miranda, lack of a warrant, lack of probable cause, lack of reasonable suspicion, and denial of the right to counsel are all issues that can be raised in domestic violence cases.
Collateral Consequences Of A Domestic Violence Conviction
Being convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor can have serious consequences on all aspects of your life, including a negative impact on your record, difficulty of finding employment, losing your gun rights, losing immigration rights, the ability to be charged with a felony, and familial issues. Having a reputable Arizona criminal justice lawyer defending your rights will ensure the best chance for your future.
A domestic violence conviction, in Arizona, leaves a criminal record that’s accessible to employers, agencies, and institutions. This is a consequence that will affect your rights in the future and can have a variety of other potential setbacks. Consult with a Gilbert domestic violence defense attorney today.
Many employers are reluctant to hire someone with an assault or domestic violence conviction. Also, if an occupation requires the use of a firearm, a domestic violation conviction makes it impossible to perform one’s job.
Federal law prohibits the possession of firearms for any person convicted of a domestic violence offense. To make sure your rights are protected, get help from a trusted Mesa domestic violence defense attorney that gives you first rate representation in Arizona. Contact Tobin Law Office to learn more.
A domestic violence conviction can negatively impact immigration. At Tobin Law Office, our Chandler domestic violence lawyers can give you the representation you need to help avoid the setbacks of your immigration status that can be caused by a felony conviction. Get the justice you deserve by calling us today.
Exposure To Future Felony Prosecution
If convicted of two domestic violations within 7 years, a third domestic violence offense will be charged as a felony with a minimum of 4 months in jail. If convicted of three domestic violations within 7 years, a fourth offense will be charged as a felony with a minimum of 8 months in jail.
Child Custody And Divorce
A domestic violence conviction can be used against a Defendant in a child custody or divorce proceeding. When you need top-rated, affordable domestic violence defense in Arizona, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Tobin Law Office.
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What Can Your AZ DV Lawyer Do In A Domestic Violence Case
Tobin Law Office Can Do The Following, And More, As Your Domestic Assault Attorney
Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Violence
Because domestic violence is a complex subject and influenced by a variety of factors, it is natural to have many questions about the process. You may wonder if it is okay to speak with the victim after being charged, or if you can return home immediately or in the future, or even how a conviction could affect your gun ownership rights. Contact our experienced Arizona domestic violence defense team with any questions you may have!
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When faced with any domestic violence charge in Arizona, it’s important to hire a qualified and experienced domestic violence criminal defense attorney. Arizona’s domestic violence laws are complex and impose harsh penalties. In addition, a domestic violence conviction has some lasting consequences. Even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction leaves a criminal record that’s accessible to employers, agencies, and institutions. It also impacts your gun rights, child custody, and employment. If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence offense in Arizona, you should hire a criminal defense attorney that’s familiar with Arizona’s domestic violence laws, as well as the courts and agencies that prosecute domestic violence cases.
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