Domestic violence is a traumatic reality that affects countless people every day. Because of this, there are harsh laws in place implementing penalties and punishments for individuals who are convicted of domestic violence. This strict legislation is in place to not only deter dangerous behavior but to help provide better protection for domestic violence victims.
However, if you are the individual being accused of domestic violence, your life can change in an instant. Domestic assault is viewed as a violent crime in the state of Arizona and can carry consequences like jail time if you are convicted. To better understand your rights when being accused of domestic violence in Phoenix, reach out to Ryan Garvey Attorneys.
At Ryan Garvey Attorneys, our attorneys are well acquainted with the laws surrounding domestic violence. Our experienced team of Arizona domestic violence lawyers pool resources and information to come up with the smartest defense for each of our clients. Our attorneys know that a domestic violence conviction can irreparably change your life, affecting your lifestyle and the role you have in your children’s lives. For this reason, we work very hard to defend those who have been falsely accused of domestic violence. If you’re searching for impartial, compassionate representation in Phoenix, Ryan Garvey Attorneys is ready to provide that for you.
Domestic violence (A.R.S. §13-3601) is a specific kind of crime that takes place within families and intimate relationships.For an act of violence or endangerment to be considered domestic violence, it must occur in a domestic relationship. This includes certain family members, roommates, ex-romantic partners, current romantic partners, step-siblings or step-parents, and more. Arizona law sees domestic violence as a deliberate act to control another person. While it often takes place between spouses or ex-spouses and endangers children that reside in the home, domestic violence can occur in many interpersonal relationships.Domestic violence can also come in a myriad of forms, all of which can result in physical or emotional harm. Some common forms of domestic violence include sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and physical abuse.
While many people stereotypically associate domestic violence with physical harm, domestic abuse can occur in a plethora of situations. The major types of domestic violence seen in Arizona include:
Physical violence and abuse are some of the most prevalent types of domestic violence. With physical domestic violence, offenses are often repetitive and make a victim too scared to reach out for help. Physical domestic abuse can involve multiple behaviors, such as actual physical violence directed at another individual, indirect physical behaviors that cause harm, or the purposeful neglect/withholding of someone’s physical needs. Physical violence is one of the most basic ways an individual can attempt to control someone else, which is why it is so common in domestic abuse cases. Behaviors that are considered physical violence and are defined by the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence include (but are not limited to):
Threats of physical violence can be just as traumatizing as other forms of abuse. Threats place victims in a vulnerable position because they are constantly waiting for their abuser to do what was said. In many cases, domestic violence victims are afraid to leave or ask for help because they’re frightened by the threats their abuser has made. Consistent threats can leave someone in a heightened state of paranoia or even cause them to have a psychotic break. In Arizona, it is possible to receive a domestic violence charge if you repeatedly threaten violence against someone you share a close relationship with.
Sexual violence is viewed as an especially heinous form of domestic abuse. It involves any form of nonconsensual, forced, or exploitative sexual acts against another person. In domestic violence situations, sexual abuse often occurs repetitively in order to force the victim into submission to their abuser. Sexual violence is incredibly traumatizing and can permanently change the way a victim sees the world. Because of this, defendants that are accused of sexual domestic violence can receive intense punishments. Examples of sexual violence and abuse in domestic relationships can include:
Emotional abuse is another type of domestic violence that can happen in a multitude of situations. When an individual is abused verbally and emotionally, they can quickly begin to struggle with things like low self-esteem, poor motivation, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and extreme vulnerability. A person may use emotional abuse both subconsciously or deliberately in order to feel more power over their victim. While many people associate it as a result of anger issues, emotional abuse goes much deeper than feelings of animosity. Consistent degradation, humiliation, rejection, and manipulation are all methods of emotional abuse. In domestic violence cases, emotional abuse can look like:
Economic abuse is a less-known form of domestic violence that occurs quite frequently. Sometimes called financial abuse, economic abuse happens when an individual purposefully exploits, deprives, or hides financial resources and information from a victim. It can also occur when an abuser denies a victim the opportunity to work for their own money or use the money that they earn themselves. Financial abuse is just another way that abusers can manipulate their victims into staying and doing as told. If you are accused of financially abusing someone you share an intimate relationship with, you can face a variety of domestic violence penalties as a result. Examples of economic abuse in Arizona include:
Isolation is seen as its own method of abuse because it is not necessarily violent. Instead, isolation is more similar to emotional abuse because an individual does everything in their power to cut off the people in a victim’s life. Many times, a victim is unaware when someone is actively isolating them, which is oftentimes why it can become so severe. Isolation is typically a method used in addition to other forms of domestic violence, such as physical and emotional abuse. However, isolation does not carry its own legislation in Arizona law. This means that in order to be convicted of it, an individual would have to prove this was an act of domestic violence. Isolation can look like the following examples:
Stalking often occurs in domestic violence cases but can be classified as a separate charge. According to A.R.S. § 13-2923, a defendant engages in the act of stalking when they intentionally or knowingly act in certain ways that cause an individual to fear for their safety or suffer emotional distress. This also includes if a family member or partner fears for their loved one’s life because of stalking behaviors. If a prosecution can prove that stalking took place that met the requirements of Arizona law, the defendant may be convicted of a felony. Stalking behaviors mentioned in Arizona’s stalking statute include the following:
To understand domestic violence charges, you must first learn about the state’s general criminal laws. Most acts of domestic violence carry their own statutes within Arizona legislation because they are also criminal offenses. For example, if one spouse physically assaults their partner, what would normally be a basic assault charge can now become a domestic violence offense because of the relationship involved.
Because of how domestic violence is penalized, the type of punishment that a convicted individual receives is dependent on what the underlying charge is. For example, if you are arrested for disorderly conduct in a domestic violence situation, you will face misdemeanor penalties because disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor. If you are arrested for aggravated assault, this is a felony in Arizona and can result in you facing felony consequences such as prison time.
However, there are some cases in which an offense that is generally a misdemeanor can become a felony. This occurs if a domestic violence charge is “aggravated.” To aggravate any sort of criminal charge, there must be extenuating factors from the case that violate specific pieces of state law. By taking a look at A.R.S. § 13-3601.02, you can see that a domestic violence offense becomes aggravated if this is the defendant’s third or subsequent domestic assault charge in the past 7 years. Aggravated domestic violence is classified as a Class 5 felony in Arizona.
Because the consequences of a domestic violence offense vary with every charge, it’s difficult to describe the exact penalties that every situation can receive. If you or a loved one were accused of domestic violence in Phoenix, it’s important to understand the penalties that you are fighting against. Here are general consequences you can expect to see for the different levels of domestic violence:
Misdemeanor Consequences: If you are arrested and ultimately convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in Arizona, you may face charges that are categorized between Classes 1 and 3. Class 1 is the most serious misdemeanor, whereas Class 3 is the least severe. Consequences of misdemeanor domestic violence charges start at 30 days in jail and a small fine. If an individual is charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, they can get up to 6 months in their local jail and $2,500 in fines. The state of Arizona also requires that anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence take mandatory courses. Common misdemeanors include:
Felony Consequences: The penalties for felony domestic violence are much more intense than those for misdemeanors. Felonies are categorized between Classes 1 and 6 and come with a variety of harsh requirements. The least severe consequences for felony domestic violence come along with Class 6 charges, which can result in a minimum of 4 months in prison, probation, and large fines. With a Class 1 felony, an individual can face life in prison for their offense. Forms of felony domestic violence include:
Consequences When a Pregnant Woman Is Involved: An individual may face enhanced penalties when their domestic violence charge occurs under certain conditions, such as if they harm a pregnant woman. Under Arizona law, if an individual commits a felony against a woman that they know or believe to be pregnant, they can face an additional 2 years in prison. This would mean, for example, if a defendant was sentenced to 2 years for a Class 5 felony and it involved their pregnant wife being harmed, they would then receive 4 full years in prison as punishment.
Facing any sort of criminal accusation is troublesome, especially when it’s something as serious as domestic violence. If you had a claim filed against you or you were arrested for domestic violence in Arizona, do not panic. Unfortunately, many claims are formed on the backs of false information or intense emotions. Working with an accomplished defense lawyer can help to combat these false claims and other harmful accusations. At Ryan Garvey Attorneys, our experienced team holds insight into varying types of defenses that can aid your case. Common defenses that are used to combat domestic violence allegations include:
Many domestic violence accusations are simply a misunderstanding. In some situations, the individual that is considered the victim may have actually initiated the conflict. Whether that started with the victim hitting the defendant or the two parties were having an argument, your lawyer may be able to claim that you acted in self-defense. Self-defense is a legal term that is often used to categorize behaviors that are not normally allowed by the law but, in certain circumstances, can be looked over because the defendant was protecting themself.
In order to be convicted of domestic violence, the prosecution must prove that the underlying charge took place. This means that if you are facing assault charges as a form of domestic violence, the prosecution will have to prove to a judge that you physically assaulted the victim. This can be done using medical bills, photo evidence, doctor’s reports, and more. If the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence, the defendant’s lawyer may claim that there are not enough substantial facts for them to be charged. In some circumstances where this occurs, the prosecution may dismiss the case altogether. This is because, without evidence, there is no case to make against the defendant.
While this defense may be harder to prove, it is not uncommon for domestic violence claims to incorporate false information. If the defendant and their legal counsel can prove to a judge that the victim has in some way fabricated their evidence, the case may eventually be dropped against the defendant. However, this can be difficult to do unless you have evidence that directly disproves the prosecution. When going into any kind of criminal trial, it’s crucial to be prepared and discuss your concerns with your defense counsel. This way, you can work together to fight false accusations and serious punishments.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. There are important considerations to take into account if you have been accused of domestic violence, and only an experienced attorney can help you effectively fight the legal battles you will face.
At Ryan Garvey Attorneys, we’re aware of just how convoluted domestic violence cases can become. Our team has spent years representing Phoenix residents through some of the hardest points of their lives. We know that dealing with a charge like domestic violence isn’t easy, but we’re willing to work with you to fight for your rights. A qualified Phoenix domestic violence lawyer can provide you with the valuable legal advice a website simply cannot afford. If you’re searching for representation in a domestic violence case, do not wait to discuss your options with a lawyer you can trust.
Contact us at 602-296-3434 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Talking to a domestic violence lawyer about your situation is the smartest way to start protecting yourself if you have been accused of domestic violence related crime. At Ryan Garvey Attorneys, our Phoenix domestic violence attorneys are always available to help you understand your rights and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your legal matters.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation.
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