In Arizona, domestic violence is not an independent charge, but instead is a modifier to a different criminal offense. Because of this, the base crime must be proven before the abuse modifier. In addition, a domestic relationship between the parties must then be demonstrated after the base charge. For example, someone can be charged with Assault-Domestic Violation if the assault was against someone that person has an existing relationship with.
Whether your case is out of Phoenix Municipal Court, Maricopa County Superior Court or one of the Justice Courts in the Phoenix area like Downtown Justice Court, Fact is If you are charged with any domestic violence charge, our Phoenix domestic violence lawyers may assist you in protecting your rights. A skilled criminal defense attorney could examine all the evidence the state has against you, meet and negotiate with the assigned prosecuting attorney, and work to lessen or eliminate the charges against you.
What is a Domestic Relationship in Phoenix?
Relationships like this are often oversimplified as romantic partnerships. While this may be the case for some people, there are numerous factors the court will examine to determine if a domestic relationship exists. This examination is done on a case-by-case basis.
Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3601, some of the factors the court uses to determine if you and the plaintiff have a domestic relationship include if you:
- Are married or were formerly married
- Have a romantic or sexual relationship
- Are related by blood or marriage
- Are pregnant by the other party
- Have a child they in common
- Live in the same household as the injured party who is a child
The court will determine that no domestic relationship exists if none of the above-listed factors are met. Without the underlying relationship, the family violence charge cannot be added to the base crime. Our well-versed domestic abuse attorneys in Phoenix could help you determine if an underlying relationship exists.
Penalties of Family Violence Convictions
Domestic violence charges carry negative social stigmas and legal consequences that can follow someone for the rest of their life. Because domestic abuse charges are only used in addition to underlying criminal charges, the severity of the penalties are often determined by the underlying crime itself.
Nonetheless, there are commonly occurring penalties that are associated with family violence charges. The accused party may have to forfeit any weapons or have restraining orders against them before there is ever a trial. In some cases, a Phoenix family violence attorney may be able to mitigate these additional measures against an accused person.
If convicted, a person may face jail time, probation, mandatory classes, limited visitation or custody of their children, and loss of the right to legally purchase and own a firearm.
Domestic Abuse Diversion Programs
In some cases involving first-time misdemeanor offenders, an accused person may qualify for an alternative form of sentencing involving a family violence diversion program. These programs seek to help teach and reduce the reoccurrence of family violence. In order for this to happen, the court will expunge/delete the charge from the defendant’s record altogether upon successful completion of the program and all other court requirements. Our qualified domestic violence attorneys in Phoenix may be able to present a successful argument to the court to allow this alternative penalty.
Schedule a Meeting with a Phoenix Domestic Violence Attorney Today
A domestic abuse charge may have lasting ramifications on someone’s life, even if they are not convicted. Child custody, job security, and freedom are only some of the changes that could occur after a charge.
An experienced Phoenix domestic violence lawyer ready to fight for you and protect your innocence. Call our office today to learn about your legal options.