Domestic violence is somewhat of a misnomer. The term includes the crime of disorderly conduct which can be just a loud argument. I like to explain to clients that domestic violence is a classification added to a regular offense such as disorderly conduct. It has to do with the relationship between the accused and the victim. Children, spouse, parent, step parent, significant other, prior significant other and a host of other relationships. It adds penalty because of the relationship. So, in addition to any other penalty the Court may levy, the Judge must require compliance with Domestic Violence counseling. This can take up to a year to complete.
How Are Domestic Violence Charges Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?
The domestic violence designation will be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the classification of the act. However, the more convictions you get, the harsher the penalty. Domestic Violence offenses are generally misdemeanors. If you get three convictions within 84 months, it is a felony. In this regard, a prosecutor can use prior Domestic Violence convictions to enhance the crime and penalty.
How Are Domestic Violence Cases Typically Initiated?
These cases almost always begin with a call to the police. Police respond, and someone is arrested. Then the victim loses control. Once the arrested party is seen by a Judge, he/she will not be permitted to have contact with the person who made the call, and can’t go back to the residence. This is why so many people who call 911 in a fit of anger, live to regret it when perhaps a major contributor to the household income is removed and can’t have contact.
What Defenses Can Be Utilized In Domestic Violence Cases?
As for defenses, they all apply. For example, if you are charged with assault (misdemeanor) but you were acting in self-defense that is a defense. Remember the domestic designation has nothing to do with the offense charged, just the penalty. A conviction is a conviction and it gives you a record. There is no expungement in Arizona.
For more information on Domestic Violence Charges In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (480) 897-8737 today.