Domestic Violence Attorney in Phoenix
Call Now if you've been accused of domestic violence
Due to the severity of the allegations, all domestic violence accusations are taken seriously. In many instances, people are falsely accused of domestic violence, but in Arizona, the burden of proof is on the accused to show that they did not commit the alleged offense. At MayesTelles PLLC, we have helped many people facing domestic violence allegations get their cases dismissed or found "not guilty" at trial.
Domestic violence allegations can result in civil and criminal penalties like:
- Orders of protection
- Jail time
- Losing parental rights
- Losing your right to own a firearm
Accused of domestic violence? You need an experienced, aggressive, and understanding legal advocate to fight on your behalf. Seek representation from MayesTelles PLLC. We have more than 50 years of experience and former prosecutors on our side.
Arizona Domestic Violence Laws: A.R.S. 13-3601
In Arizona, domestic violence can be a number of different criminal offenses committed where one of the following relationships exists between the alleged victim and the defendant:
- Married or formerly married
- Have a child together
- One party is pregnant by the other party
- Related by blood or court order
- Child residing in the same household as the defendant
- Current or past romantic or sexual relationship
The following offenses, if involving a victim and defendant who meet at least one of the criteria above, can constitute domestic violence: negligent homicide, manslaughter, murder, endangerment, threatening or intimidating, assault, custodial interference, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, sexual assault/rape, unlawful distribution of images, criminal trespass, criminal damage, and other related offenses.
“With or Without a Warrant”
According to A.R.S. 13-3601(B),
A peace officer, with or without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that domestic violence has been committed and the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the offense, whether the offense is a felony or a misdemeanor and whether the offense was committed within or without the presence of the peace officer.
If the peace officer believes that either party’s actions were justifiable acts of self-defense, there is no probable cause for that party to be arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges
In Arizona, domestic violence can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the type of offense committed. For example, aggravated assault on a blood relative could constitute a felony offense, while endangerment of a child in your household could constitute a misdemeanor offense. Additionally, jurisdictions often vary on policies regarding the prosecution of domestic violence offenses.
Types of Domestic Violence Offenses
If you are charged with a domestic violence offense, you may face restrictions regarding where you can go, what you can do, whom you can talk to, and whom you can contact.
The most common types of domestic violence charges in Arizona include:
- Domestic violence (A.R.S. §13-3601)
- Aggravated domestic violence (A.R.S. §13-3601.02)
- Interfering with judicial proceedings (A.R.S. §13-2810)
- Disorderly conduct (A.R.S. §13-2904)
- Child and vulnerable adult abuse (A.R.S. §13-3623)
- Threatening and intimidating (A.R.S. §13-1202)
- Assault and aggravated assault (A.R.S. §13-1203 and §13-1204)
- Criminal damage (A.R.S. §13-1602)
- Harassment and aggravated harassment (A.R.S. §13-2921)
- Violations of orders of protection (A.R.S. §13-3602)
Aggravated Domestic Violence
Aggravated domestic violence is a Class 5 felony in the state of Arizona. One way to incur this criminal charge is to be accused of a third domestic violence offense within seven (7) years.
Consider the following minimum jail sentences for repeat offenders:
- Third offense in 7 years: Minimum of our months in jail
- Fourth offense in 7 years: Minimum of eight months in jail
In some cases, an individual could be charged with aggravated domestic violence as a result of multiple criminal allegations arising from the same incident. For example, an individual may be charged with assault, disorderly conduct, and criminal damage from the same act, leading to enhanced charges and penalties.
Assault & Domestic Violence
In Arizona, assault may be charged as a domestic violence offense based on the relationship between the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator. You could be charged with assault if:
- You intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause physical injury to another person; or
- You intentionally place another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or
- You knowingly touch another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke that person.
Violating an Order of Protection
Individuals are often charged with interfering with judicial proceedings (a Class 1 misdemeanor) as a domestic violence offense under A.R.S. §13-2810, where they are alleged to have knowingly violated an order of protection. Because it must be proven that the person "knowingly" committed the offense, the State has a high burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual acted intentionally.
Disorderly conduct charges are commonly associated with events of domestic violence. When spouses, significant others, or family members argue, it can become heated and cause a great deal of noise. Even things that happen behind closed doors can be grounds for a disorderly conduct charge.
The six ways a person can be charged with disorderly conduct in Arizona include:
- Fighting or engaging in violence that is disruptive
- Making an excessive amount of noise
- Cursing or using language/gestures intended to provoke a fight
- Disruptive behavior that prevents business operations or transactions
- Refusal to comply with public safety order in the event of an emergency
- Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument recklessly
According to A.R.S. § 13-2904, if a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is involved, the charge may be a Class 6 felony. Otherwise, disorderly conduct is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Because a conviction requires proof of intent and/or knowledge, skilled attorneys are often able to obtain a not guilty verdict.
Threatening or Intimidating
The elements of this statute require that a person threatens or intimidates by word or conduct and:
- Causes physical injury to another person or serious damage to the property of another;
- Causes, or in reckless disregard to causes, serious public inconvenience, including but not limited to the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or transportation facility; or
- Causes physical injury to another person or damage to the property of another in order to promote, further or assist in the interests of or to cause, induce or solicit another person to participate in a criminal street gang, a criminal syndicate, or a racketeering enterprise.
Criminal damage is charged where it is alleged that a person recklessly:
- Defaces or damages property of another person
- Tampers with property of another person so as substantially to impair its function
- Tampers with or damages the property of a utility
- Parks any vehicle in such a manner as to deprive livestock of access to available water
- Draws or inscribes a message, slogan, sign or symbol that is made on any public or private building, structure or surface, except the ground, and that is made without permission of the owner
Harassment charges originate from the following intentional conduct:
- Anonymously or otherwise contacts, communicates or causes a communication with another person by verbal, electronic, mechanical, telegraphic, telephonic or written means in a manner that harasses.
- Continues to follow another person in or about a public place for no legitimate purpose after being asked to desist.
- Repeatedly commits an act or acts that harass another person.
- Surveils or causes another person to surveil a person for no legitimate purpose.
- On more than one occasion makes a false report to a law enforcement, credit or social service agency.
- Interferes with the delivery of any public or regulated utility to a person.
Because a harassment conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of intent and/or knowledge, skilled defense attorneys are often able to obtain a not guilty verdict.
Defending Against Allegations of Domestic Violence
Our Phoenix domestic violence attorneys understand the magnitude of these types of cases, and we know how important it is to make sure you have a strong legal defense. Some of the most common defenses in domestic violence cases include: false accusations, self-defense, lack of proof, and unfair charges.
Unfortunately, this situation is all too common. It often arises during divorce proceedings; one party may accuse the other of domestic violence in order to gain leverage in the family law case.
The accused may be able to claim self-defense if the alleged victim initiated contact first or threatened the defendant. These cases must show that there was a reasonable threat and the response was warranted.
Some claimants may state that they are a victim of domestic violence, but if there is no actual proof, then there should be no conviction. The claimant has the burden of showing proof in their case.
Type of Charge
Domestic violence charges are supposed to fit a certain description. If the conduct does not fit with domestic violence, the charges may be dropped at the discretion of the judge in the case.
Criminal Diversion in Domestic Violence Cases
In some cases, diversion may be available – also known as a "deferred entry of judgment." Diversion generally involves a fine paid to the court and up to 26 weeks or more of anger management/domestic violence counseling classes. In many jurisdictions, the case will be dismissed if diversion is completed.
Do you need a lawyer for your domestic violence case?
Any of the above offenses can result in jail time, fines, counseling and further consequences to your community and employment life. Be sure to act quickly and obtain the skilled legal representation that you need. Our domestic violence lawyers in Phoenix can provide the help you need during this time.
The Phoenix domestic violence lawyers at MayesTelles PLLC can help you build the defense that you need. Call (602) 428-7104 to discuss your options in a FREE consultation.