There are many ways which domestic violence can become apparent. While the most common are friends and family, there are some instances where a doctor has to report domestic violence to law enforcement if they suspect foul play. However, when it comes to this issue, many often wonder whether medical professionals have a duty to disclose domestic violence. Arizona’s domestic violence laws are stringent, even when it comes to medical reporting. Below is an overview of domestic violence and the type of duty that a medical professional has to disclose domestic violence.
What is Domestic Violence?
Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3601 establishes that domestic violence is a violent act or a threat of a violent act when crimes such as harassment, assault, disorderly conduct, intimidation, or child abuse are undertaken. Because domestic violence depends upon the underlying act, there are a number of different charges that can accompany domestic violence. In addition, domestic violence typically constitutes acts where the victim is a family member, a roommate, or a romantic partner. It is important to note that the standard for domestic violence is somewhat lax. The law explains that so long as the victim’s injuries could be the result of domestic violence, law enforcement has the ability to get involved.
Medical Reporting of Domestic Violence
Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, doctors have to report domestic violence in Arizona to law enforcement officers, even if it is just a possibility. Generally, the patient’s wounds simply need to be ones which could have resulted from an unlawful act. While this standard can, and does, protect individuals in circumstances relating to domestic violence, an underlying issue is that these standards may also seem quite lax. There currently are no medical boards or policies in place to ensure that the patient’s injuries are truly the result of domestic violence.
As a result, many individuals may be subject to law enforcement action if the injury seems like it could stem from domestic violence. This leads to error and misinterpretation of the true cause of an injury and it also can lead innocent individuals to being subjected to the challenges of the judicial process.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges
Being charged with domestic violence and an underlying offense has serious repercussions not only for your personal life, but also your reputation and your employment. While the charge will usually depend upon the gravity of the underlying offense, you are most likely to face fines, counseling, and some form of jail time.
Domestic violence is a very serious issue, especially when it is reported by a medical professional. Reporting by a medical professional gives a sense of legitimacy to the act and it provides the court with the opinion of an expert. If you are facing domestic violence charges, the best thing to do is to contact a domestic violence attorney in Phoenix. The Tyler Allen Law Firm specializes in a number of areas of law, including domestic violence. Contact the firm’s premier lawyers today to meet for a consultation regarding your issue and possible solutions to ensure that your interests and rights are protected.