Tucson Domestic Violence Lawyer
In Arizona, domestic violence charges usually arise out of a simple argument that many couples, spouses, or family members experience at one time or another during their relationship. The argument may then escalate to the point where one person feels the need to call the police, either because they were hurt, or felt scared. Before you know it, the police show up and you or your loved one is taken to jail. Unlike depictions on television, 99 times out of 100, the police will end up taking one person to jail during a domestic violence call.
Convictions for domestic violence charges carry with them severe penalties in Arizona. They may also involve unique legal issues and defenses that an experienced attorney can raise in defense of the accused. If you or loved one has been charged with a domestic violence crime in Arizona, it is very important to acquire experienced counsel.
Arizona Domestic Violence Law
In Arizona, “domestic violence” is a label that is applied to an offense when a domestic relationship exists between the defendant and the victim, such as when:
- the defendant and victim are married, are formerly married, live together, or have lived together in the past;
- the defendant and victim have a child in common, or one person is pregnant by the other person;
- the victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood, by court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister;
- the victim is related to the defendant 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 a child who lives in or has lived with the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who lives or has lived in the same household as the defendant;
- the defendant and victim are currently dating, or have previously dated.
The “domestic violence” label can be attached to any number of offenses under Arizona law, and the offense conduct does not necessarily have to include “violent” conduct. The offenses include:
- dangerous crimes against children
- threats and intimidation
- assault and aggravated assault
- custodial interference
- unlawful imprisonment
- sexual assault
- criminal trespass
- criminal damage
- interference with judicial proceedings
- disorderly conduct
The Victim does not want to Prosecute. Will the Charges Against me be Dropped?
In the majority of cases, the answer is usually no. Although a victim is entitled under Arizona law to provide input to the prosecutor’s office on whether he or she wants the prosecution to go forward, the ultimate decision whether to prosecute the case rests in the hands of the prosecutor’s office. This is because the State of Arizona is the plaintiff in the case, and the victim is simply a witness for the plaintiff.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Offenses
The penalties for domestic violence convictions are severe. At a minimum under Arizona law, a person convicted of a first time misdemeanor domestic violence offense must complete 26 sessions of domestic violence classes. Additional penalties for first time misdemeanor convictions include a term of either supervised or unsupervised probation, a fine, community service, anger management or other behavioral counseling, as well as orders to stay away from the victim. The penalties for repeat convictions for domestic violence increase in severity, and can lead to a jail term of 4 or 8 months, or a prison sentence for more serious offenses. These penalties are just ranges for potential sentences. Certain aggravating or mitigating facts could affect the penalty imposed upon conviction. For example, in less serious cases, an accused may be able to participate in a diversion program, which upon completion, the charges get dismissed.
As a former prosecutor and currently as a private defense attorney, I have handled hundreds of domestic violence cases in Arizona, including misdemeanor and felony cases. Chances are I’ve handled a case just like yours. I have successfully defended honest hard-working people who simply get into the unfortunate situation of being charged with a domestic violence offense. As an experienced lawyer in domestic violence cases, I will vigorously defend your rights in order to achieve the best possible outcome for you.