A criminal charge of domestic violence in Arizona not only puts you in a hotbed of legal troubles, but it also has the ability to derail your reputation and standing in the community. To best understand your legal rights, it is best to have an understanding of the law and how crimes differ.
Domestic violence is not a crime on its own, it is an additional element that that the government needs to prove by establishing the requisite existence of a domestic violence relationship and the occurrence of an underlying crime. While assault is just one potential underlying crime, there are many others that may arise depending upon the circumstances. Here is an overview of the difference between assault and domestic violence assault and other underlying crimes.
What is Non-Domestic Violence Assault?
Non-domestic violence assault in Arizona is simply an assault charge on its own and is classified under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1203. According to the statute, a person commits assault by:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person; or
- Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or
- Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke suck person
To put the law into perspective, what constitutes an “injury” under the assault statute is pretty broad. Normally, the judge will look at the facts of the case to determine whether assault has taken place. Of course, your lawyer can present a number of defenses that mitigate the charge or absolve it altogether; it just depends upon your personal circumstances and the facts surrounding the case.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence in Arizona is a serious charge. To charge you with domestic violence, the state needs to prove under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3601:
- The requisite existence of a domestic violence relationship
- The commission of an offense listed in subsection (A) of the statute
The Requisite Existence of a Domestic Violence Relationship
To charge you with domestic violence, the first thing state needs to prove is the requisite existence of a domestic violence relationship. To establish such a relationship, following needs to be proven under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3601:
- The victim and the defendant are married or were married
- The victim and the defendant have a child in common
- The victim and the defendant reside or have resided in the same household
- The victim is related to the defendant
- The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant
- The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously romantic or sexual
In relation to the last prong specifically, the court will look at other factors to determine whether the relationship between the defendant and victim is or was romantic or sexual. These factors include the type of relationship, the length of the relationship, the frequency of the interaction between the victim and defendant, and if the relationship has terminated and the duration of time that has passed since the termination.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that domestic violence in Arizona is not just between spouses. You can be charged with domestic violence if you acted toward your roommate, your girlfriend or boyfriend, a brother, sister, grandparent, or someone who is pregnant with your child.
Underlying Crimes of Domestic Violence
In addition to proving the existence of one of the relationships mentioned above, 13-3601(A) also indicates that the government needs to establish an underlying crime. While assault is one of the most common underlying crimes to domestic violence, other crimes that may be established include:
- Criminal Damage
- Disorderly Conduct
- Aggravated Assault
- Criminal Damage
- Child Abuse
- Vulnerable Adult Abuse
Each of the underlying crimes are very serious and carry their own penalties. For example, domestic violence with an underlying charge of harassment may have lower penalties than one where assault or aggravated assault is the underlying crime.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
The penalty for domestic violence depends upon the underlying crime and whether you have a previous criminal history. While listing the penalty for each underlying crime is impossible, here are the most common penalties that you may face:
- Jail or prison
- Domestic violence classes mandated by the court
- Restriction of gun rights
- Restriction on communications with the victim
- Loss of child custody or visitation
- Fines and surcharges
Regardless, since being charged with domestic violence can negatively impact your life, regardless of the underlying crime, you should immediately retain an attorney to represent you and provide you with an effective defense.
How an Attorney Can Help
A domestic violence conviction can have serious implications on all facets of your life. For example, those who are convicted of domestic violence may lose child custody, have their visitation rights revoked, their employment status may be hindered, and for those who are going through the immigration process, residency status may be impacted. To protect your rights, your attorney may use a number of defenses to fight the domestic violence charge. Of course, the following defenses depend upon the facts of your specific case:
- Fabrication of Evidence
- Insufficiency of Evidence
To ensure that you receive adequate representation and that your attorney provides you with the adequate defense, it is important to be as upfront as possible. In doing so, your attorney may be able to either mitigate your penalties or remove the charge altogether.
Tyler Allen Law Firm
Tyler Allen Law Firm focuses on criminal defense, among other areas of law. If you have been wrongly charged with assault or domestic violence and are looking for a quality defense lawyer, then contact the firm today. The firm’s attorneys have been working in the defense field for years. Their knowledge and understanding of the law can ensure that your rights are well protected and that you are given the quality representation that you need for the best outcome possible. You can contact the firm here to set up a consultation.