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Domestic Violence

Phoenix Domestic Violence Lawyer

Arizona Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic violence is a term that refers to acts, or threatened acts, or violence between people involved in domestic relationships. Although situations may vary, domestic violence charges can be filed for actual acts of violence or threatened acts to harm, abuse, or inflict violence. Until recently, many people associated domestic violence as a crime that occurs between spouses or people who are intimately involved.

To be convicted of domestic violence, according to § 13-3601 ARS, the state prosecutor must effectively show that the defendant acted in a way that constitutes a dangerous crime against a child or any other criminal offense as listed in Chapter 13 of the penal code or the defendant threatened violence or was physically violent to someone who:

  • They are married or were formerly married to
  • They have a child in common with
  • They are related to by blood or court order
  • They live with or used to live with
  • They have a romantic or sexual relationship with

Domestic violence is charged as a misdemeanor, but aggravated domestic violence (§ 13-3601.02) is a class 5 felony. Law enforcement officials, judges, prosecutors, and the public at large take reports of domestic violence very seriously. These charges also carry stiff penalties that can create serious and long-term setbacks.

If domestic violence allegations have been made against you, working with an experienced Phoenix domestic violence attorney should be your first priority. Request a FREE consultation today.

What Qualifies as Domestic Violence?

In Arizona, domestic violence involves violent offenses committed by an aggressor against members of his or her household. Victims may include a current or former spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a child, parent, a roommate, or any other person who resides in the same household.

It is important to note that domestic violence is not just physical in nature.

Domestic violence refers to a wide range of abusive behaviors, including:

  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical assault
  • Intimidation
  • Verbal threats
  • Psychological abuse
  • Preventing use of a telephone in an emergency or false representation of an emergency
  • Secretly photographing, videotaping, filming, or digitally recording or viewing
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Interference with judicial proceedings
  • Use of telephone to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend

Aggressive Defense for Domestic Violence Cases

According to Arizona law, domestic violence could be charged as any number of crimes: assault, battery, assault with a deadly weapon, threatening, kidnapping, or witness intimidation. Depending on the circumstances of the case, domestic violence may be considered an “aggravated” crime as well.

At Knowles Law Firm, PLC, Phoenix lawyer Anthony Knowles and his legal team are very experienced in Arizona domestic violence laws, and has successfully defended clients who have been charged domestic violence that includes physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. They are also able to help with domestic violence cases that include child and elder abuse, as well as associated criminal charges, such as sexual assault, assault and battery, stalking and harassment.

Domestic Violence Arrest Policy in Arizona

Arizona law enforcement officers have discretionary authority when it comes to making arrests in domestic violence cases. They consider factors such as the severity of the offense, the presence of injuries, the likelihood of further violence, and the need to protect the victim and any other individuals involved.

Therefore, if there is any evidence of a physical injury being inflicted or if someone used, discharged, or threatened someone with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, a police officer in Arizona shall make an arrest. Law enforcement officials must have probable cause to make an arrest.

What Should I Do If Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

Unfortunately, some people are wrongfully accused of domestic violence out of spite. It is not uncommon for this to occur in contentious divorce cases. In order to protect your rights and your good name, you should speak with a lawyer right away.

Whether the charges against you are true or false, you will still be required to prove your innocence and it is crucial that you have a powerful domestic violence defense lawyer to immediately initiate defense actions to fight to get you exonerated of the charge. Attempting to handle a domestic violence charge on your own will only make things worse, so retain experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.

Domestic Violence False Allegations in Arizona

It is difficult to find a statistic on how many domestic violence charges are based on false allegations, mainly because when the alleged violence occurred, no one else was around to witness what happened. The goal of a criminal domestic violence trial then is to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to indicate that the defendant is guilty and should be convicted of the offense.

Common Reasons for False Domestic Violence Accusations in AZ

An individual can have several motives when it comes to false accusations. It is important that you hire an experienced criminal defense team to help you thoroughly investigate the claims against you, and to find ways to challenge those claims.

False domestic violence allegations are often made in situations such as:

  • Divorce: During a divorce, emotions are running high and one spouse can use domestic violence accusations as a way to enact revenge or gain the upper hand in legal proceedings.
  • Child custody dispute: If a parent has claims of domestic violence against them, this can affect their custody rights. Some parents may use these false claims for leverage in custody battles.
  • Revenge: One party can use false allegations as a vindictive move after a heated argument or disagreement.

Signs of a False Accusation of Domestic Violence in AZ

An experienced domestic violence attorney in Arizona is often able to find holes in a person's accusations based on reviewing reports and interviewing witnesses.

Some signs of a false allegation include:

  • Inconsistencies in statements regarding the abuse
  • Lack of physical injury
  • Lack of immediate report to law enforcement after the abuse
  • The accuser has a history of retaliatory actions
  • The accuser having something to gain from the accusations

What Are Protective Orders?

However, domestic violence allegations also have a civil aspect to them. Protective orders, called restraining orders in some states, are civil court orders that are petitioned for by the alleged victim of violence against an offending party (the respondent). Unlike criminal domestic violence charges, these civil orders can be served to a respondent with little evidence to prove that there was actual or threatened violence. Because it is fairly simple to get a protective order, many respondents choose to contest these orders.

According to § 13-3602,

The court shall review the petition, any other pleadings on file and any evidence offered by the plaintiff...and issue an order of protection under subsection G of this section if the court determines that there is reasonable cause to believe any of the following:

1. The defendant may commit an act of domestic violence.

2. The defendant has committed an act of domestic violence within the past year or within a longer period of time if the court finds that good cause exists to consider a longer period.

What Can Be Done Legally to Avoid Conviction If My Accuser Attacked Me First?

Self-defense is often the case in charges of domestic violence. It is fully recognized that either men or women commit domestic violence. Men, however, are less likely to report the incident to police and in some cases when defending against a physical attack get charged themselves. It is extremely important that you have a skilled domestic violence lawyer fight to prove the self-defense in the case.

Will a Restraining Order Affect My Domestic Violence Case?

In the state of Arizona, restraining orders are legally referred to as Orders of Protection; they are also called Injunctions. These can be taken out by alleged victims in an attempt to stop communication between the accused abuser and abused.

While these were created with the best intentions to help put a curb on physical assault, harassment, intimidation and other methods of endangerment, they can often complicate a case for the innocent.

If you have had an Order of Protection taken out against you, it is important that you know just how much that it will affect your case. 

No matter whether it was an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) or a Permanent Order of Protection, it is in your best interests to get the involvement of a lawyer to help you deal with the added complications of a restraining order.

What If the Victim Wants to Drop Charges?

No, only the prosecutor has the authority to drop charges. If the victim is uncooperative and refuses to testify, the prosecutor can still move forward with your criminal charges.

However, in some cases, without a victim testifying for the prosecution, there may not be sufficient evidence to pursue charges. The victim can also choose to side with the defense, which can make it more difficult for the prosecution. You should discuss the details of your case with an attorney and explore your defense options.

Arizona Domestic Violence Penalties

Arizona has extremely severe penalties for all violent crimes, including domestic violence. In the most serious cases, such as aggravated domestic violence the penalty can include a mandatory 8-month prison sentence that cannot be avoided. This is in cases in which there are earlier charges of domestic violence in which the individual was convicted. Aggravated domestic violence is a Class 5 Felony and will affect your future in many serious ways.

Penalties for a domestic violence offense will vary depending on the unique facts and circumstances of your case, including:

  • The nature of the charge
  • The injuries suffered by a victim
  • Whether victims were minors or elderly
  • The use of weapons
  • Criminal history / prior DV convictions

Generally, convicted individuals often face fines, victim restitution, probation, court-ordered counseling or education classes, community service, and other possible consequences.

Effects of a Domestic Violence Conviction on Your Life

In any case, a domestic violence conviction has the potential to result in long-term limitations on every facet of your life.

A domestic violence conviction can affect:

  • Employment prospects
  • Housing opportunities
  • Personal relationships
  • Professional licenses
  • Ability to own a firearm

Having a domestic violence conviction can make it difficult to pass the application process, as prospective employers, schools, and property owners can negatively view you based on your criminal background.

Will I Go to Jail if Convicted for Domestic Violence?

A domestic violence conviction may result in jail or prison time, particularly in any violent assault that results in physical harm or in serious child abuse cases. Some of these cases would result in years in prison if convicted. In other cases, such as emotional abuse or when the victim claims that they were threatened with harm, it may be easier to arrange alternative sentencing. Each case has its own unique circumstances and evidence and must be reviewed and evaluated by a skilled Phoenix domestic violence lawyer as quickly as possible after the arrest in order to determine how to proceed and fight to avoid a conviction.

Contact a Phoenix Domestic Violence Attorney Today!

Have you been accused of domestic violence? If so, the legal team at Knowles Law Firm, PLC can provide you with the aggressive defense you need to fight your domestic violence charges. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials do not take accusations of domestic violence lightly.

If they suspect you of committing domestic violence they will launch a thorough investigation into the allegations against you, and if they find sufficient evidence, they will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

By working with a Phoenix domestic violence attorney from our law firm, you can feel secure knowing that they have the experience, knowledge, and skill to not only fight the prosecution's case, but also to increase your chances of winning your case.

They have vast experience in this area of criminal law, and are committed to using their knowledge and resources to help you overcome your domestic violence charges. Call our Phoenix domestic violence attorney today!

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