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Domestic Violence
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Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyers:
Charges of Domestic Violence

There are certain legal issues that tend to ramp up emotion for not only those involved, but for those who are charged with handling the resolution of a certain type of case. One of the most prominent examples of an emotionally-charged legal process is that which involves domestic violence. Public outrage and pressure has prompted legislatures to enact laws that impose stiff penalties for convictions and for judges and prosecutors to enforce these laws vigorously. If you are facing the prospect of being prosecuted for domestic violence, you owe it to yourself to secure the help of an experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer.

Below you’ll find information regarding some of the statutes that deal with the issue of Arizona domestic violence, the types of relationships between people that can trigger a prosecution for this offense under these laws, the actions that could constitute a crime under the statutory language, the incorporation of other Arizona crimes with domestic violence statutes, the punishments that a convicted defendant could face and finally how you should proceed if you could be charged and prosecuted for this offense.

The Arizona Domestic Violence
Statute – How it Works

The Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) define the basic act that would constitute domestic violence in Title 13, Section 3601. Basically, the statute states that domestic violence is commission of a ‘dangerous crime’ against children as defined by several different potential relationships or against a party who is also specifically protected by this statute.

While the term ‘dangerous crime’ can incorporate many different circumstances, the law tends to turn on the types of relationships between the suspect/defendant and the alleged victim at the time of the incident in question. Below is a brief overview of some of the intricacies of this Arizona domestic violence statute.

Relationships between the Accused
and the Alleged Victim

The Arizona domestic violence laws currently in place do not limit the potential for a charge of domestic violence to parties who are married or who are living together. Instead, the law expands the underlying relationships between the parties that could lead to prosecution for domestic violence. Examples of these relationships include:

• Married people, people who were married at one time or those who cohabitate, including same-sex couples.

• Situations where the suspect and alleged victim have a child together.

• Where either the alleged victim or the suspect is pregnant by the other.

• The alleged victim is related to the suspect by way of blood or generally recognized legalities, such as a sister-in-law or mother-in-law.

• The alleged victim is a child who is either related to the suspect or who lives or did live with the suspect or both.

• The suspect and alleged victim either are or were romantically/sexually involved.

Actions that Could Constitute
Arizona Domestic Violence

In addition to the expansion of the types of relationships that fall under the domestic violence statute, there are also other crimes that could be prosecuted as domestic violence, including:

• Assault/aggravated assault

• Child abuse

• Disorderly conduct

• Elder abuse

• Harassment of almost any type

• Kidnapping

• Violating an order of protection,
  even in a non-violent manner

• Trespassing

There are other crimes that could be incorporated into a domestic violence prosecution, but the bottom line is that instead of being prosecuted for those crimes alone, defendants in Arizona now face additional charges and potential penalties if they are convicted.

Potential Punishments for Arizona Domestic Violence

Given that the statutes have incorporated a wider range of relationships and otherwise independent criminal acts into the realm of domestic violence, an answer as to why this has been done could be found in the potential punishments a convicted defendant could face for these charges.

At its foundation, a charge of Arizona domestic violence allows the prosecution discretion regarding whether a specific instance should be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Generally, any allegations of violent or dangerous acts will be charged as felonies, while less severe threats will be charged as misdemeanors.

In addition to this discretion, which could be the difference between a sentence of probation upon conviction for a misdemeanor or time in state prison upon a conviction for a felony, any domestic violence conviction allows the court to proceed with a prosecution even if the alleged victim decides not to press charges.

In addition, those convicted of a domestic violence crime in Arizona could be required to complete a domestic violence counseling program and be faced with an order of protection that prevents any contact between the defendant and the alleged victim. Finally, if someone has a prior conviction for domestic violence on his or her record, the penalties for a subsequent conviction can be enhanced to include a longer prison sentence.

How a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Being charged and convicted of domestic violence in Arizona not only carries significant legal consequences, but it also carries a stigma and can prevent someone from seeing his or her child or children depending on the circumstances. If you face this situation, you need the help of an experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to help protect and enforce your legal rights. Contact the team of Arizona criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of David Raymond Wroblewski today to schedule an initial consultation.
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