Domestic violence offenses are easy to brush off, as it’s true that a certain percentage of these cases are entirely unfounded. Whether it is due to infidelity or to position oneself more favorable for upcoming divorce proceedings, some people have no problem making false accusations of domestic violence. However, police, prosecutors and judges take ALL domestic violence allegations seriously, and it’s important that you do, too. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix domestic violence defense lawyer has been representing men and women charged with DV crimes for over 25 years. He understands both the legal and practical aspects of these cases, and tirelessly works to ensure that each of his clients’ cases are well-positioned for a successful resolution.What Is Domestic Violence in Arizona?
Domestic violence, or family violence, is the term used to describe specific crimes that are committed between people who have a close, familial relationship. Not all domestic violence offenses are violent crimes in the traditional sense. Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3601, only certain crimes can constitute a domestic violence offense, including:
- Negligent homicide,
- Aggravated assault,
- Unlawful imprisonment,
- Sexual assault,
- Unlawful disclosure of images depicting nudity or specific sexual activities,
- Criminal trespass,
- Criminal damage,
- Aggravated harassment,
- Surreptitious photographing, or
- Abuse of a child or vulnerable adult.
Additionally, the crime must have allegedly been committed against,
- A current or former spouse,
- A current or former romantic partner,
- A current or former household member,
- Someone with whom the defendant had a child,
- A blood relative, or
- Someone who is related to the defendant by marriage (i.e., a stepchild).
In most cases, a conviction for a domestic violence offense is graded the same as if the crime were committed against a stranger. For example, causing physical injury to another person is an assault, which is a class 1 misdemeanor even if the alleged victim was your spouse or child. However, in certain situations a domestic violence conviction can be more serious. For example, if you commit harassment against someone who has an order of protection against you the crime will be considered aggravated harassment, which is a class 6 felony.
While domestic violence convictions don’t necessarily require longer jail sentences, they do come with other conditions. For example, if you are convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, the judge will likely order you complete a domestic violence offender treatment program.What Is Aggravated Domestic Violence in Arizona?
Under A.R.S. 13-2601.02, aggravated domestic violence charges can be filed if you have two prior domestic violence convictions within the past seven years. Aggravated domestic violence is a class 5 felony, punishable by a presumptive term of 1.5 years imprisonment. However, anyone convicted of aggravated domestic violence is not eligible for probation, parole, or suspension of their sentence until they have spent at least four months in jail.
Notably, all domestic violence felonies count as prior offenses regardless of the date of conviction, and misdemeanor domestic violence convictions count as priors if they occurred on or after January 1, 1999.Have You Been Charged with a Phoenix Domestic Violence Crime?
If you were recently arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense, reach out to the Law Office of James E. Novak as soon as possible. Domestic violence cases are not only emotionally taxing, but they can also quickly spin out of control due to the contentious relationships involved. In these cases, it’s imperative to have a dedicated DV defense attorney by your side to help you navigate the process and avoid making common mistakes. Attorney Novak has more than 25 years of experience successfully representing clients facing all types of domestic violence and aggravated domestic violence offenses, and is prepared to do everything possible to ensure your arrest has as little impact on your future as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call 480-413-1499 today. You can also reach out through our online contact form.