A.R.S. § 13-3601What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is an allegation attached to many crimes in Arizona, which means the accused and the victim share a familial1 , romantic2 , or cohabitant relationship. This means that, unlike other states, domestic violence is not a crime by itself. Rather, the Maricopa District Attorney’s Office will allege a domestic violence relationship to a particular crime in order to increase the penalties associated with that crime and require the defendant to complete domestic violence counseling.
Even though domestic violence is not a crime, a Maricopa County District Attorney still needs to prove the additional element of a domestic violence relationship in addition to the elements of the underlying crime. Under Arizona’s Domestic Violence Statute, A.R.S. § 13-3601, the relationship between the accused and the victim is defined in very broad terms in order to protect a myriad of different victims. For example, the victim and the accused may be:
- Married or divorced
- Presently living (or previously living) together in the same house
- Parents to a child (or unborn child) together
- Relatives by blood, marriage, law or court order
- Sharing a romantic or sexual relationship
Arizona’s Domestic Violence Statute specifically lists a wide range of crimes where a prosecutor can allege a domestic violence relationship. These crimes include: (1) crimes against children, (2) misdemeanors, and (3) felonies. The crimes against children include:
- Abuse of a Child
- Custodial Interference, or
- Dangerous Crimes against Children
The misdemeanor crimes that a prosecutor can allege a domestic violence relationship include:
- Threatening or Intimidating
- Unlawful imprisonment
- Criminal trespass in the third degree
- Criminal trespass in the second degree
- Criminal trespass in the first degree
- Criminal damage
- Interfering with judicial proceedings
- Disorderly conduct
- Cruelty to animals
- Preventing use of telephone in emergency
- Use of electronic communication to terrify, intimidate, threaten, or harass
Finally, the felony charges to which a prosecutor can attach a domestic violence allegation include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Vulnerable Adult Abuse
- Sexual Assault
- Negligent Homicide
Since the domestic violence relationship can be alleged to a wide variety of different crimes that include crimes against children, misdemeanors and felonies, the consequences vary depending on the charge. In fact, not all misdemeanors are even treated the same because there are three different classes- class 1, 2, or 3. For example, if you are charged with a misdemeanor crime alleging a domestic violence relationship, you will be facing:
- 30 - 180 days in jail;
- $500 - $2,500 in fines, plus other surcharges, fees, assessments and costs;
- 1 - 3 years of probation.
On the other hand, if you are charged with a felony, you will be facing prison or probation, and fines, depending upon the number of mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
In addition to the punishment associated with the misdemeanor or felony crime charged, a domestic violence allegation will enhance or increase the penalties by also requiring the following:
- Between 26 - 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling
- Domestic violence fine
- Order of protection, which is a court order that prevents a person from harassing, contacting and coming within a certain distance of victim(s) and their residence
Finally, the collateral consequences, although not direct can be just as serious as the penalties imposed by the Judge. For example, the domestic violence allegation may affect your future employment, your professional license, and your immigration status since it will go on your permanent record. With regards to immigration, a domestic violence conviction is most likely a ground for deportation under INA § 237(a)(2)(E), and possibly a basis for inadmissibility under INA § 212(a)(2).
Also, if you have a pending child custody case, the Family Court Judge will take into consideration the domestic violence allegation in deciding your custody rights over your child(ren)3. Your gun rights will also be affected as federal law prohibits the possession of firearms for any person convicted of a domestic violence offense. Last but not least, you will be exposed to future felony prosecution if you have two or more domestic violence related offenses within 7 years.How We Can Help You
Lavy Law’s Scottsdale Domestic Violence Lawyer will passionately work on your case involving domestic violence due to her experience as a volunteer at domestic violence shelters following law school. By working closely with victims, Mrs. Lavy learned how the offense is different from any other crime because of its sensitive nature involving family or romantic ties. As a result, many victims are reluctant to testify because they are still under the control or influence of the accused. This means, your Scottsdale Domestic Violence Lawyer may help you dismiss the entire case, without going to trial, simply because the prosecution’s most important witness, the victim, refuses to testify.
Through her experience as a prosecutor, Mrs. Lavy learned how police often arrest the wrong suspect during an investigation due to stereotypes or misleading evidence. For example, if the offense is between a male and female, they often arrest the male party due to the assumption that he is stronger. If one party calls 911 first, the police will assume they are the victim and arrest the other party who failed to make the cry for help first. Finally, if one party has more injuries than the other, they will arrest the party who has less. Lavy Law’s Glendale Domestic Violence Lawyer appreciates these common errors by the police and will highlight them to the prosecutor and the jury, if necessary, to get you a dismissal or an acquittal.
Domestic violence cases are the most likely to go to trial since they entail serious consequences, depend on each party’s version of the facts, and involve allegations of self-defense. Fortunately, as a skilled trial attorney, your Scottsdale Domestic Violence Lawyer from Lavy Law knows how to win your case before a judge or jury.
Unlike most firms who limit their practice to criminal court, Lavy Law can also help you defend your domestic violence case in family court and immigration court due to its multilateral experience. If you are the perpetrator, this means that your Scottsdale Domestic Violence Lawyer will protect you from being punished multiple times by multiple courts. If you are the victim, this means that your Lavy lawyer will provide you with better protection by using the tools offered by every court.
We encourage you to read our Recent Cases to see that we have won a case just like your own.
If you are you accused of a domestic violence offense, Contact Us for a free consultation with a Scottsdale Domestic Violence Lawyer.
1Under the Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”) § 13-3601, a familial relationship is broadly defined to include victims such as: spouse, former spouse, fellow parent, grandparent, child, step-child, sibling, or in-law.
2 In determining whether a romantic relationship exists, the Court will look at the: (a) type of relationship; (b) length of relationship, (c) frequency of interaction, and (d) length of time since termination, if any. See A.R.S. § 13-3601.
3Under ARS § 25-403.03, a domestic violence conviction creates a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child is detrimental to the best interest of the child.