Domestic Violence Attorneys Tucson

Defending Your Rights if You Are Facing Domestic Violence Charges

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"Domestic violence can be a very serious offense in Arizona. Domestic violence does not only include physical violence but the domestic violence laws also prohibit other actions such as harassment, or verbal abuse."

Many innocent people are accused of domestic violence, and face not only criminal prosecution, but also damage to their reputation in the community. If you are facing charges of domestic violence, you should contact experienced criminal defense attorneys as soon as you can, to keep your record clean, and keep you out of jail.

Ever since the first laws against domestic violence were enacted in Arizona back in 1980, the laws have been expanded to include additional criminal violations and increased penalties. Depending on the relationship between the victim and the defendant, there are a number of crimes that fall under the umbrella of domestic violence.

Under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3601, “domestic violence” includes:

Homicide

Manslaughter

Murder

Endangerment

Assault

Threats or Intimidation

Aggravated Assault

Custodial Interference

Unlawful Imprisonment

Kidnapping

Sexual Assault

Unlawful Distribution of Nude Images

Trespassing

Harassment

Stalking

Domestic Relationship Definition

For domestic violence to apply to the above criminal charges, the victim and defendant have to have a relationship that falls within the statutory description. This includes current or former married couples, or people living in the same household. It also includes individuals who have a child in common, or one individual is pregnant by the other. Domestic violence charges can involve anyone who is related by blood or marriage, or other court order. Individuals with a past or current romantic or sexual relationship are also included.

Mandatory Arrest Laws

For domestic violence to apply to the above criminal charges, the victim and defendant have to have a relationship that falls within the statutory description. This includes current or former married couples, or people living in the same household. It also includes individuals who have a child in common, or one individual is pregnant by the other. Domestic violence charges can involve anyone who is related by blood or marriage, or other court order. Individuals with a past or current romantic or sexual relationship are also included.

Protective Order in Arizona

A protective order is issued by the court to restrict another person from committing a violent or threatening act, or restrict contact or other communication. The court must issue an order of protection if they determine there is reasonable cause to believe the defendant may commit an act of domestic violence. After someone is arrested for domestic violence, the police provide the alleged victim with information on seeking a protective order. Violating a protective order can result in jail time for the offender, even if they never even touched the protected individual.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

Even before an individual is found guilty of domestic violence, the court may require the defendant to participate in a counseling program. The police will also provide the alleged or potential victim with information about how to seek a protective order. These are some of the ways a person accused of domestic violence is penalized before they are ever found guilty of committing a crime.

A conviction for a domestic violence offense can include additional penalties over those imposed by the underlying offense. A domestic violence conviction may require the defendant to complete an offender treatment program. If they have two misdemeanor domestic violence convictions within a five-year period, they may be incarcerated and placed on supervised release to go to work or attend school.

A third domestic violence offense within a seven-year period is considered aggravated domestic violence, which is a class 5 felony. This will result in a minimum of four months in prison. A fourth domestic violence offense will result in a minimum eight-month sentence.

There may be additional penalties involved, depending on the victim and the specific facts of the case. Domestic violence on a victim known to be pregnant may result in an additional two years tacked onto the defendant's prison sentence.

Other penalties for a domestic violence charge may include restrictions on gun ownership, restrictions on child custody and parenting time, and other restrictions that go along with a felony conviction. Under ARS 13-904, a felony conviction can restrict an individual's right to vote, right to hold public office, and right to serve as a juror.

Federal Domestic Violence Offenses

In some cases, domestic violence can be charged as a federal offense. Federal crimes are generally handled by federal prosecutors, and individuals sentenced will serve their time in a federal penitentiary. Under the Violence Against women Act, stalking or harassment where the defendant crosses state lines may be prosecuted as a federal offense. Any domestic violence offense that occurs across state lines, or where an individual or the victim crosses state lines could potentially be charged with a federal crime.

Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

In many cases, the police may only rely on an alleged victim's statement that they were harassed or harmed by the alleged perpetrator. Some cases of domestic violence have little to no evidence that the individual accused actually committed the crime. Often times, defendants charged with domestic violence will rely on their innocence, hoping that justice will prevail because they didn't do anything wrong. Unfortunately, innocent people are convicted of crimes all the time. An experienced criminal defense team will fight for your rights and your freedom, no matter what charges you are facing.

Some domestic violence cases involve disputes over child custody, allegations of infidelity, or the stress of a breakup or divorce. These situations can be tense and very emotionally. This may cause some people to react in ways they normally wouldn't, including making threats to or harming someone else. However, it can also lead people to make up allegations of abuse. People can mislead police and prosecutors for all kinds of reasons, including to gain child custody, or punish someone they think has mistreated them.

If the alleged victim made false statements or allegations about abuse or violence, your experienced Arizona criminal defense attorneys can identify the lies and inconsistencies in the accuser's statements. They can also call witnesses to verify the defendant's statements, and dispute the accuser's allegations.

Tucson Domestic Violence Attorneys

At West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman, our criminal defense attorneys are here to help individuals and families throughout Tucson. If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence, we will fight to keep you out of jail and keep your record clean. We will advise you of all your options to get your charges reduced or dismissed entirely. Our team of lawyers are committed to addressing the individual needs of each of our clients and can assist you with all aspects of your criminal defense.

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