Top Tucson Arizona Domestic Violence Lawyer
Elias Damianakos is a top Tucson Arizona Domestic Violence Attorney defending against all “DV” charges such as assault, disorderly conduct, criminal damage.As a former domestic violence prosecutor, and then as a domestic violence attorney in Tucson, I have successfully defended hundreds of people charged with domestic violence, and appear routinely in domestic violence specialty courts in Tucson and Pima County. I have secured scores of acquittals at trial, and even secured dismissals prior to trial through pretrial negotiations.
Arizona Domestic Violence Law
In Arizona, “domestic violence” is just a label that is applied to another offense when a domestic relationship exists between the parties. It doesn’t necessarily mean that “violence” was involved. This “label” is applied in the following relationships:
- 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.
Tucson Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously in Tucson and Pima County. Just being charged with a “domestic violence” charges carries a stigma that the person was violent, even though a person can be charged with a domestic violence offense when no violence or even physical contact was involved. For example, a person can be charged with “domestic violence disorderly conduct” simply for having an argument with a family member.
Domestic violence charges most often arise out of what starts as a simple argument that many couples, spouses, or family members experience at one time or another during their relationship. Sometimes a simple argument can 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 at your door, and you or your loved, or even both of you, are arrested and 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. If children are involved, Arizona’s Department of Child Safety may get involved, conduct an investigation, and order counseling, or even more serious consequences such as removal of the child from the custody of one or more parent.
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. Some of the more common offenses the domestic violence label can be attached to are:
- domestic violence threats and intimidation
- domestic violence assault and domestic violence aggravated assault
- domestic violence unlawful imprisonment
- domestic violence criminal trespass
- domestic violence criminal damage
- domestic violence interference with judicial proceedings
- domestic violence disorderly conduct
Tucson Domestic Violence Defenses
There are many defenses available to people charged with domestic violence charges in Tucson. However, there are rules concerning their admissibility and applicability, so it is important to consult with an experienced attorney. You can read more about defenses to domestic violence charges below.
Tucson Domestic Violence Penalties
Both Tucson City Court and Pima County Justice Court have set up specialized domestic violence courts that only deal with domestic violence cases. People facing domestic violence charges are often subject to strict conditions of release regarding contact with the alleged “victim”, not consuming alcohol, and other conditions. Prosecutors routinely seek to place people charged with domestic violence charges on supervised probation through the Pima County Adult Probation Department, which closely monitors probationers, and imposes strict requirements like random drug and alcohol testing, and employment conditions. If convicted of a domestic violence offense, a person is subject to mandatory domestic violence counseling that can take up to a year or more to complete, drug and/or alcohol treatment, hefty fines and fees, community service, and jail. In addition, a third or more domestic violence charge within 7 years can be charged as a felony.
A domestic violence arrest or conviction could also have serious collateral consequences that affect employment, child custody rights, higher education, and specific occupational licensing.
Why It’s Important to have a Top Tucson Arizona Domestic Violence Attorney By Your side
There are even a number of other “penalties” that go along with a domestic violence conviction that are not imposed by the court. Upon conviction of a domestic violence offense, a person becomes a prohibited possessor of firearms, you can lose your Arizona fingerprint clearance card, and you can face removal proceedings if you are not a citizen of the United States.
The Victim does not want to Prosecute. Will the Charges Against me be Dropped?
Usually not. The prosecutor assigned to the case holds the ultimate decision making authority to either prosecute the case, or dismiss the case. A common misconception about domestic violence prosecutions is that a victim can simply choose to not prosecute. This is mistaken. All criminal cases are brought by the Pima County Attorney’s Office – they are the Plaintiff. Only the plaintiff can officially dismiss the case.
Victims in Arizona have rights under Arizona’s Victim Bill of Rights. A victim has the right to provide input to the prosecutor about the case, including his or her desire to not go forward with the prosecution. The reality is that prosecutor’s rarely dismiss domestic violence cases unless there is a compelling reason they cannot prove their case.
What is Domestic Violence Diversion?
Domestic violence diversion is a program that prosecutors offer to individuals charged with lesser serious domestic violence charges, and who do not have a history of domestic violence charges in Arizona. Generally, diversion allows a person to have the charges dismissed if you 1) conditionally plead guilty to the charge(s), 2) successfully complete 26 sessions of domestic violence counseling, and 3) pay fees.
Importance of retaining a Top Tucson Arizona Domestic Violence Attorney
It has become increasingly important to retain a top Tucson Arizona domestic violence attorney to handle your domestic violence case. Prosecutors have a vast array of resources in prosecuting domestic violence cases, so it is important to hire the right attorney to represent you.