Arizona Domestic Violence Laws Explained
Domestic violence is a serious offense in Arizona with significant legal consequences. If convicted, you may be looking at prison time and other penalties. You would also get a criminal record that has a far-reaching impact on everything from housing options to employment opportunities.
This makes it important to consult with experienced Arizona domestic violence attorneys to build a solid defense strategy aimed at having the charges against you dropped or reduced.
Legal Definition of Domestic Violence in Arizona
Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §13-3601 defines domestic violence as any criminal act or a series of acts that involve:
- Physical harm or the threat of physical harm
- Sexual assault or conduct
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
- Stalking or harassment
This definition applies to a range of relationships, including spouses, former spouses, individuals in a romantic or sexual relationship, parents, and those who share a child together.
Aggravated Domestic Violence under Arizona Statutes
The law addresses aggravated domestic violence under various sections of the Arizona Revised Statutes, including ARS 13-3601.02, which provides for enhanced penalties for these offenses when certain aggravating factors are present. These could include:
- Use of a Deadly Weapon: If a deadly weapon is involved in the offense, it can lead to enhanced charges.
- Prior Convictions: A person with prior domestic violence convictions may face more severe penalties.
- Violations of Protection Orders: Committing domestic violence while subject to an active protection order can result in aggravated charges.
- Presence of Minors: If the offense occurs in the presence of a minor, it may lead to enhanced penalties.
- Serious Injury or Strangulation: Cases involving serious physical injury or strangulation may be considered aggravated.
Perpetrators of domestic violence against pregnant victims may face enhanced penalties under ARS 13-3601. These penalties could include longer prison sentences, higher fines, and other legal consequences designed to reflect the severity of the offense.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Arizona
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Offenses
Penalties may include fines, probation, counseling, and up to six months in jail for the following offenses:
- Assault and Battery
- Criminal Damage (Willful Destruction of Property)
- Threatening and Intimidating Conduct
Felony Domestic Violence Offenses
Penalties may include substantial fines, probation, counseling, and prison sentences ranging from several months to years for the following offenses:
- Aggravated Assault (Use of a Deadly Weapon)
- Violations of Protection Orders
- Child Endangerment
- Use of a Deadly Weapon: Involvement of a deadly weapon can lead to enhanced charges. Penalties may include increased fines and longer prison sentences.
- Prior Convictions: Individuals with prior domestic violence convictions in Arizona may face enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses.
Victims can obtain orders of protection (restraining orders) to prohibit contact or proximity. Violation of protective orders can result in additional legal consequences.
Counseling and Treatment
You may be required to attend domestic violence counseling or treatment programs. These programs aim to address the root causes of abusive behavior.
Domestic violence can influence child custody decisions, with courts prioritizing the safety and well-being of the child.
Skilled and assertive domestic violence defense attorneys can assess the charges against you and use available evidence to create a strong defense.
Potential Defenses to Fight Domestic Violence Charges in Arizona
While your defense will depend on the unique aspects of your case, your Arizona criminal defense lawyer may employ various strategies to attempt to reduce or dismiss the charges.
- False Accusations: Your lawyer may argue that the accusations are false and present evidence or witnesses to refute the allegations.
- Lack of Evidence: A top-rated domestic violence law firm may challenge the prosecution’s evidence and argue that there is insufficient proof to support the charges.
- Self-Defense: Your attorney may establish that you acted in self-defense to protect yourself from imminent harm and your actions were a reasonable response to a perceived threat.
- Consent: If applicable, they may assert that the alleged victim consented to the actions in question, especially in cases involving sexual assault allegations.
- Mental Health Issues: An experienced criminal defense attorney may present evidence of mental health issues that may have influenced your actions, potentially leading to a more lenient sentence or treatment-focused resolution.
- Recantation by the Victim: If the alleged victim recants or changes their statement, your defense may use this to challenge the credibility of the accusations.
- Inadmissible Evidence: The lawyer may contest the admissibility of certain evidence, such as statements made without Miranda warnings or evidence obtained in violation of your rights.
- No Intent to Cause Harm: The criminal defense law firm may argue that there was no intent to cause harm, especially in cases where the prosecution needs to prove intent for certain charges.
- Character Witnesses: Your attorney may present character witnesses who can attest to your character and behavior, potentially influencing the court’s perception.
- Counseling and Rehabilitation: Demonstrating a commitment to counseling or rehabilitation programs may show the court that you are taking steps to address any underlying issues.
- Dismissal or Reduction of Charges: Lawyers may negotiate with the prosecution to reduce or dismiss charges based on legal or factual weaknesses in the case.
The effectiveness of these defenses depends on the specific details of your case. Working closely with experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you understand the best strategies to pursue based on the unique circumstances surrounding the charges against you.
Discuss a Winning Legal Strategy with Our Arizona Criminal Defense Attorneys to Protect Your Rights
The experienced Arizona domestic violence lawyers at Ferguson Hill Filous PLLC are skilled negotiators and litigators, capable of obtaining favorable outcomes for you, no matter how serious the charges you may be facing.
Our attorneys can defend you vigorously by challenging the prosecution’s evidence and working to have your charges dismissed or reduced. To set up your free consultation, call us at 520-231-2814 or reach us online.