Phoenix Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Although domestic violence crimes are a common occurrence in Phoenix and Arizona, they should not be taken lightly. A conviction can have serious consequences and create a negative stigma that can impact your future. Our domestic violence defense lawyers have the expertise to navigate you through these charges. If you’re facing domestic violence accusation, call AZ Defenders today to get help from an experienced Phoenix domestic violence defense attorney.

Phoenix Domestic Violence Lawyer

Why Trust AZ Defenders with Your Domestic Violence Case?

  • AZ Defenders is well established criminal defense law firm, and our lawyers are respected members of the Arizona legal community.
  • We are a client-oriented firm, providing dedicated, personalized service and handling every aspect necessary to properly support your case.
  • We are highly rated – see client testimonials
  • Our team has more than 20 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in criminal defense matters.
  • We offer free consultations and are available to take your call 24/7.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Defense Lawyer (480) 456-6400 

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Arizona?

Domestic violence is a criminal charge that has two main factors: its definition and the relationship between the victim and the alleged assailant. It is a type of violent crime in Arizona that can lead to significant consequences upon conviction. The precise definition of domestic violence is in Arizona Revised Statute 13-3601. This law states that domestic violence can describe any act that is a dangerous crime against a child or an offense against another protected party in the assailant’s household. This includes a spouse, former spouse or relative. The state could charge many different crimes as domestic violence, from physical assault to mental and verbal abuse.

  • Slapping, hitting, or punching
  • Shoving or kicking
  • Biting
  • Hair-pulling
  • Burning
  • Cutting
  • Sexually abusing
  • Marital rape
  • Telling sexual jokes at the victim’s expense
  • Isolating
  • Name-calling
  • Constantly criticizing the victim
  • Financially exploiting or controlling finances
  • Psychologically abusing
  • Threatening, intimidating or stalking/cyberstalking

A police officer could arrest you for alleged domestic violence with or without a warrant to do so if that officer has probable cause to believe you committed the crime. The officer does not have to have witnessed the offense to make an arrest. If someone in your household calls the police and says you were being abusive, for example, this could be enough to lead to your arrest for domestic violence – even without any evidence that the allegation is true. It will not matter if the caller later takes it back and says you did not commit the crime. The state can still decide to press charges against you if it believes it has a case. If you have any further questions regarding what constitutes domestic violence in Arizona, reach out to a domestic violence attorney in Phoenix.

Have You Been Charged with Domestic Violence in Arizona?

It is important to understand the processes that might come into play after someone accuses you of domestic violence. For example, many victims will obtain a Temporary Restraining Order, or “TRO” as they begin to press charges and file domestic violence claims. These documents are typically obtained at an ex parte court proceeding. This means the plaintiff may ask the court for a hearing without notifying the defendant of the charges.

At these TRO hearings, the victim (“plaintiff”) has the opportunity to testify or bring in evidence that domestic violence occurred. If the court finds the evidence sufficient, it will issue a TRO against the defendant. A police officer is required to deliver the TRO to the defendant within 24 hours after it is assigned.

Temporary restraining orders typically expire within 10 days. During this time, the defendant is prohibited from certain behaviors as outlined by the court. This could include cutting off contact with the plaintiff or returning to their shared home. In certain cases, a TRO may also prevent the defendant from seeing their children.

In order to extend the scope or duration of a TRO, the plaintiff is required to ask for a full court hearing and file a domestic violence complaint. For more information about what to do after a domestic violence or abuse charge, speak with a knowledgeable Phoenix criminal defense attorney experienced in these types of claims.

When Can You Be Charged?

Domestic violence can occur in any type of domestic relationship inside the home. These charges are not limited to intimate relationships between a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend, although these types of domestic violence relationships are common. Arizona prosecutors will consider pressing domestic violence charges in instances when:

  • The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage, former marriage, or persons residing or having resided in the same household.
  • The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
  • The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
  • The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, 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 a child who resides in or has 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 resides in or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
  • The victim and defendant currently have or previously had a romantic or sexual relationship, as determined by the type of relationship, the length of the relationship, the frequency of interaction between victim and defendant, and/or the length of time since termination, if the relationship was terminated.

What Counts as Domestic Violence in Arizona?

Domestic violence is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner. It can occur under a wide variety of circumstances and can take form in many different types of violence. The courts in Arizona might charge a defendant in a domestic violence case with many different crimes. Under Arizona law, these crimes can include:

  • Assault or aggravated assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Kidnapping
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Criminal damage
  • Criminal trespass
  • Negligent homicide
  • Manslaughter
  • Second-degree murder
  • First-degree murder
  • Endangerment
  • Threatening or intimidating
  • Unlawful distribution of images
  • Custodial interference

The exact crimes charged against you can determine important things such as the penalties you might face and the appropriate defense strategy your lawyer should use to defend you. If you have additional questions about what is considered domestic violence in Arizona, an experienced Phoenix domestic violence attorney at AZ Defenders can help.

Domestic Violence Attorney Phoenix

What are the Penalties if Found Guilty?

If you are facing a domestic violence charge, try to avoid a conviction with help from an experienced and aggressive Phoenix domestic violence defense attorney. A domestic violence conviction in Arizona can have serious consequences. Aside from assessing criminal penalties, a conviction will also go on your permanent record, potentially affecting your rights in the future. If you receive a felony conviction, for example, you will lose the rights to vote and bear arms. A domestic violence conviction could also make it more difficult to find a job and housing. It could disrupt your personal relationships, such as that with your children or friends.

Under Section 13-3601 of the law, the Arizona criminal courts will charge domestic violence as the underlying crime the case involves. Domestic violence involving physical assault, for example, will lead to the same potential penalties as a physical assault charge in Arizona. The domestic violence classification, however, can expand the scope of the sentence. The addition of a domestic violence conviction could lead to mandatory minimum sentences, restrictions on probation, reduced parole eligibility, protective orders, additional jail time and mandatory domestic violence treatment programs.

Jail time for a domestic violence conviction will depend on the type of offense allegedly committed. If the offense is a Class 3 misdemeanor, the punishment can include up to 30 days in jail. A Class 2 misdemeanor comes with up to 120 days in jail. If convicted of a Class 1 domestic violence misdemeanor, you could face up to 180 days in jail. The maximum fines are $500 for Class 3, $750 for Class 2 and $2,500 for Class 1, plus additional surcharges and fees. You could also face one to three years of probation and additional consequences, such as mandatory counseling.

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. Penalties, in this case, may include prison time. Aggravated domestic violence in Arizona is a class five felony that carries up to a two-and-a-half-year prison term for a first conviction. The courts in Arizona have the right to look at whether the alleged victim was pregnant at the time of domestic abuse. If so, the judge might increase the sentence. Knowingly causing physical injury to a pregnant woman can increase the maximum sentence for domestic violence by two years.

Protective Orders in Arizona

Upon arriving at the caller’s residence to investigate an alleged domestic violence dispute and possibly make an arrest, the police in Arizona have the duty to inform any alleged or potential victims of the resources available for their protection, including protective orders. An order of protection under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3602 is a legal document that prevents a person from committing further domestic violence crimes. A protective order such as a restraining order could keep the alleged assailant away from the victim or minor.

  • Order of Protection. An Order of Protection prohibits the person named in the order from committing acts of domestic violence. It also restrains the person from contacting the plaintiff. It can provide many types of protections, including forcing the defendant to remove firearms from the home and giving the plaintiff exclusive use of the home.
  • Emergency Order of Protection. This is similar to a typical Order of Protection except it is faster to implement. An authorized judicial officer can grant this type of protection in writing or via telephone for someone in imminent danger of harm due to domestic violence. Emergency orders are valid until the next day of judicial business unless the court issues a continuance.
  • Release Order. A Release Order is another form of emergency protection, suitable for people in rural Arizona who might be unable to reach a judicial officer after business hours. A registered Release Order enforces certain protections for the plaintiff when the state releases someone arrested for domestic violence from custody.
  • Injunction Against Harassment or Workplace Harassment. Injunction orders prohibit a defendant from harassing, annoying or alarming the plaintiff. An Injunction Against Workplace Harassment is specifically for incidents at work. Both types prevent the harasser named from continuing the action in question.

A protective order could have the power to order you out of your house, prevent you from contacting the alleged victim, stop further domestic abuse, force you to attend treatment programs, give ownership of a pet to the plaintiff, and/or prevent you from owning any firearms. It could also grant the alleged victim financial relief. If you disobey a protective order, you could face serious consequences. The police could arrest you for breaching the terms of the order, as well as for any other crime you might have committed in disobeying the order.

Defenses against Domestic Violence Charges

The burden of proof rests with the state during a criminal case. It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove you are guilty of domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt. To prove a domestic violence case in Arizona, the prosecutor must establish evidence proving two main things: you had a domestic relationship with the alleged victim under state law and you committed a specific offense listed under Arizona’s domestic violence statute. Our Phoenix domestic violence lawyers attack every weakness in the prosecution’s case and raise every possible defense. Defenses against domestic violence charges include:

  • Affirmative defenses, including self-defense, crime prevention, defense of others, and defensive firearm display. Many domestic violence cases allow the defendant to use an affirmative defense, claiming that the action in question was unavoidable as a means of protecting yourself or others.
  • Wrong person/alibi. Your lawyer might be able to prove the police arrested the wrong person during a domestic violence dispute. You might have an alibi that places you somewhere other than the scene of the alleged crime, for example. Your Phoenix domestic violence attorney might also be able to prove a false accusation by the plaintiff.
  • Insufficient evidence or proof. One of the most common defenses is to assert that the state does not have enough evidence that you committed domestic violence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Your lawyer may be able to hold that the state has not met the requisite burden of proof.
  • No proof of intent or a reckless or other required mental state. The state will need evidence proving your intent to commit the offense in question, or at least that you were of the required mental state to commit the crime. Lack of proof in this regard could undermine the state’s case against you.
  • Suppression of evidence-based on violations of the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments. This can include illegal searches, right-to-counsel violations, Miranda violations, and illegally forced confessions. Police misconduct could lead to the courts ruling certain evidence against you inadmissible.

The defense strategy that is right for your criminal case will depend on the specifics of the situation, the details of the arrest and the evidence the state has against you. At AZ Defenders, we build custom-tailored legal strategies unique to each client. First, we will speak with you about your case and assess the situation. Then, we will recommend a defense strategy we believe will lead to the best possible outcome on your behalf. We may recommend a certain type of plea, for example, then offer to represent you during negotiations and/or a criminal trial in Arizona. Our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers can guide you through the legal process from start to finish as a defendant in an Arizona domestic violence case.

Free Consultation with a Phoenix Domestic Violence Lawyer

The consequence of a domestic violence conviction can stay with you for the rest of your life. If you are facing domestic violence charges, it is important to get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side as soon as possible. Contact a Phoenix domestic violence defense attorney at AZ Defenders right away to schedule a free initial consultation. Call (480) 456-6400 or contact us online.

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Attorney Dave Smith with the Rosenstein Law Group proved to be an invaluable asset to my case in court. Not only was he exceptionally prepared and articulate, but he also made sure my views were understood by the jury. After his representation and guidance, not guilty was the only logical outcome.

– Clark C.

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