Have You Been Charged with Domestic Violence?
What you think is just an argument can turn into something much more. Who knows what happened? A neighbor may hear screaming and call the police. The police arrive, decide an argument ensued and someone is arrested for domestic violence. Domestic violence in Arizona carries serious consequences when not addressed immediately. These consequences can be both civil and criminal. If you have been charged in Phoenix or any city within Maricopa County with a domestic violence or related offense, it's imperative to immediately contact a domestic violence defense attorney.
Domestic Violence in Arizona
Domestic violence describes a range of harm committed in the context of a family relationship, usually between spouses, intimate partners, or relatives. In Arizona, it can also include roommates or other members of the household. Examples of physical acts that can be labled as domestic violence include punching, hitting, slapping, or shoving. However, it could extend to other patterns of abusive behavior, like threats of violence, sexual, emotional and financial abuse.
Consequences of Alleged Domestic Violence in Arizona
When a defendant is charged with a domestic violence offense, the court has the power to order a protection order, also referred to as a restraining or no-contact order. Protection orders can be made even when the defendant isn't present in court and before their criminal law matter has been finalized and, in many cases, before the criminal process has really even begun. In essence, when it comes to domestic violence, you can suffer serious consequences before a judge or jury has found you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
When a protection order is issued, it can result in two significant consequences, though there may be other penalties or restrictions imposed:
- It can restrict a defendant's contact with the victim and their children; and
- It can require the defendant to leave the family home.
A person subject to a protective order or convicted of a domestic violence offense is also prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law.
Criminal convictions of any nature, but especially domestic violence offenses, can also impact a defendant's ability to find work or housing. Potential employers or landlords who run a background check may refuse an applicant who has a domestic violence conviction.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence in Arizona
There are many sentencing options which can result from a domestic violence conviction. Much of it depends on the severity of the allegations and any prior protective orders. Generally, penalties can include but are not limited to:
- Domestic violence treatment or counseling programs
When sentencing an offender for a domestic violence offense, the court will take into account aggravating circumstances, like:
- the level of injury sustained by the victim
- whether a weapon was used
- whether the crime violates an existing protection order
- the personal characteristics of the victim, such as older age or pregnancy
The penalties for domestic violence offenses can quickly become harsher with subsequent convictions in Arizona.
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in Scottsdale?
Domestic violence charges can be dropped, but it is critical to know that they will not be dropped only because the alleged victim of the violence no longer wants charges brought against the alleged suspect. Charges are brought by the state, not by the affected person. Unfortunately, once a person is arrested and charged with domestic violence, the prosecutor is in control.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Allegations in Arizona
A person can defend against a domestic violence charge in Arizona. However, the specific defenses available to a defendant will depend on the circumstances of their case.
Some common defenses include:
- Self-defense or defense of others, where reasonable force was used to prevent an attack
- Lack of evidence, if the prosecution fails to present enough evidence to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt
- False allegations, where the victim has lied about what happened
- Accident, where the defendant unintentionally caused the injury
A conviction for a domestic violence offense can have a long-lasting impact on many aspects of a defendant's personal life, including their relationships, parenting, and employment. It is always in your best interests to consult with a domestic violence defense lawyer about any allegations.
Call (480) 833-8613 for Immediate Help with Your Domestic Violence Case
Domestic violence charges and the strategies used to defend against them can become very complicated. Additionally, the punishments imposed following a conviction can be harsh and have negative consequences on your future. Therefore, consultation with a qualified defense attorney who can closely examine the facts of your case, negotiate a resolution and achieve the most favorable outcome possible is always in your best interest.
Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer and felony prosecutor and has successfully represented hundreds of individuals throughout Arizona over the last twenty years who have been accused of domestic violence. If you have been charged with Domestic Violence in Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler or any other city within Maricopa or Pinal County, it is vital that you contact a highly skilled criminal lawyer immediately. Tempe Domestic Violence lawyer Raymond Kimble will recognize available defenses, prepare a solid defense, challenge the prosecution's evidence and do everything in his power to negotiate a reduction or dismissal of the charges