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What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Arizona?


We’ll take a look at Arizona Revised Statute 13-3601 to define what domestic violence is, how it is charged, and what its implications are for those accused.

Domestic violence has become a bit of a buzz term lately in light of many high-profile abuse accusations, such as those involving NFL players like Ray Rice, Junior Galette, and Ray McDonald. Ignoring the hype, it’s important to remember that domestic violence is a real criminal charge with both criminal and civil implications.

In Arizona, domestic violence is detailed in the Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3601. Essentially, it is any criminal act of violence or threatened violence against a family member, significant other, or in some cases, an acquaintance.

According to ARS 13-3601, domestic violence can be charged if any of the following apply:

  1. Those involved were married, formerly married, live in the same household, or lived in the same household.
  2. Those involved have a child together
  3. The alleged victim is pregnant with the accused person’s child
  4. The alleged victim and accused person are related by blood or law
  5. The defendant lives in the same residence as a child victim and is either related by blood or a former spouse
  6. The alleged victim and defendant were or are involved romantically and/or sexually

Domestic violence can be verbal (psychological and emotional), physical, sexual, and even economic. When handling these cases, the court will usually take the following factors into consideration:

  • The nature of the relationship between the accused and the victim
  • How long the relationship has/had gone on
  • How often the accused and the victim interacted
  • If the relationship was still ongoing or if it had terminated, and if terminated, then how long since the termination

Domestic Violence: Felony or Misdemeanor?

How domestic violence is charged depends on the nature of the offense. According to ARS 13-3601, domestic violence can be any number of violence offenses – 29 to be exact, which is everything from negligent homicide to child/vulnerable adult abuse. If there is a family or relational connection between the victim and the accused, any of these offenses can be charged as domestic violence.

So while a domestic-violence-related endangerment charge is a class 1 misdemeanor, a domestic-violence-related disorderly conduct charge involving a weapon is a class 6 felony.

Orders of Protection in Arizona

One of the civil implications of a domestic violence allegation is having an order of protection filed against you. Depending on the type and terms of the order, it could impose the following:

  • Include a “move out” order to leave your current residence
  • Prevent you from owning a firearm
  • Prevent you from contacting anyone named on the order
  • Prevent you from going to certain locations or within a certain proximity to people named on the order

If you violate the order of protection against you, you can be arrested and charged. Being accused of domestic violence can be intimidating. You may be uncertain about your future, your freedom, and your family. If you’re in this type of situation, we invite you to contact a Phoenix domestic violence attorney at our firm today for a free review of your case.

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