Domestic Violence Charges in Arizona

In Arizona, if you are charged with a crime and the alleged victim of that crime is your spouse, your partner, a member of your immediate family, a roommate, or even someone you’re dating, you can be charged with “domestic violence”. “Domestic violence” doesn’t just apply to violence against women; men can also be victims. Actual “violence” is not always an element of “domestic violence” charges. The underlying crime could be as minor as misdemeanor disorderly conduct or criminal damage. As a domestic violence lawyer, I have seen many domestic violence charges that should never have been brought to court. Unfortunately, in Tucson at least, you usually have to go to trial to be cleared.

While domestic violence laws are intended to address a serious issue in our society, too often they are applied inappropriately. You could have an argument with your spouse, your sibling, your parent, or your child, for instance, and be charged with domestic violence/disorderly conduct. Although nearly everyone has engaged in this type of behavior at some point in their life, it will still usually result in criminal charges if the police are called.

What If The Victim Wants To Drop The Charges?

The consequences of Arizona domestic violence charges can be severe and can reek havoc on a family. When police in Arizona are called to a domestic violence incident, they will usually take at least one of the parties involved to jail.  Sometimes, both parties to a domestic dispute are charged with domestic violence. Often, the charged party will initially be prohibited from any contact with the alleged victim, as well as other family members. Many times this actually requires a defendant to find alternate living arrangements.

When the alleged victim eventually understands all of these consequences, he or she often wants the case dismissed. Unfortunately, prosecutors rarely dismiss these cases voluntarily, even when the victim does not wish to press charges. The State will almost always continue to prosecute the case without the victim’s cooperation. The Department of Child Safety may also be contacted when children are involved, leading to another separate investigation.

Arizona Domestic Violence Penalties

Misdemeanor domestic violence charges can result in a sentence of up to 6 months in jail, a $2500 fine, and at least 26 sessions of domestic violence counseling. Additionally, even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction can result in the loss of your Constitutional right to bear arms. If a domestic violence incident involves a weapon, involves attempted strangulation, or results in serious physical injury, it can be charged as a felony Aggravated Assault. A third or subsequent domestic violence violation within seven years can also be charged as felony Aggravated Domestic Violence, even if it would normally qualify only as a misdemeanor.

Why You Need A Domestic Violence Lawyer

Just because a police officer thinks that domestic violence charges are appropriate, or simply feels compelled to charge someone with something, does’t mean a judge will agree. Many domestic violence charges should not have been filed in the first place. Unfortunately, it may take a lawyer to clearly present this to the court. Domestic violence allegations can also occur in the context of highly emotional domestic disputes, often while a divorce or child custody issue is being litigated, so there is the potential for abuse. Nathan D. Leonardo is an experienced Tucson domestic violence lawyer with a record of successfully defending clients from false domestic violence allegations made in an attempt to manipulate the court system.

If you are facing Arizona domestic violence charges, or if you are an alleged victim of domestic violence who wants the charges dropped, call us for a free, confidential case assessment at 520.314.4125 or contact us online.