Domestic violence charges are very serious and may result in long-lasting consequences.
The term “domestic violence” refers to the domestic relationship (i.e., husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent/child, etc.) between a person charged with an underlying crime and the alleged victim of said crime. Assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, and other criminal charges may fall into this category.
A domestic violence conviction can have a significant negative impact on your life. Domestic violence convictions can prevent you from obtaining employment, possessing or carrying a gun, renting a house or apartment, and obtaining professional licensure (i.e., nursing license, etc.).
If you or a loved one have been charged with a domestic violence offense in Pima County or anywhere else throughout Arizona, contact the law firm of Hernandez & Hamilton, P.C. today for free legal consultation.
Domestic Violence in Arizona
According to A.R.S. 13-3601, the relationships that can be classified as domestic violence are as follows:
- The victim and the defendant are married or were married.
- The victim and the defendant live in the same household or used to live in the same household.
- The victim and the defendant have a child together.
- The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order.
- The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant. They are related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or a person 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.
What is a Domestic Violence Court?
In 2012, Pima County Attorney’s Office (“PCAO”) created the Domestic Violence Court. The Domestic Violence Court adjudicates misdemeanor domestic abuse cases in the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court.
This court handles serious and repeats misdemeanor offenders charged with domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Diversion Program
The domestic violence diversion program allows first-time offenders to avoid criminal charges by participating in counseling. Counseling informs defendants of alternative methods of managing and understanding the behavior that led to them being charged with domestic violence. When a defendant completes the diversion program, they receive a dismissal of their misdemeanor charges.
The diversion programs are operated by the prosecutor’s offices. The prosecutor will consider many factors on whether or not to offer diversion to a defendant. A domestic violence attorney will work to convince the prosecutor that a client qualifies for the diversion program.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charges
Misdemeanors are classified into classes of 1, 2, and 3. The classification of the misdemeanor determines misdemeanor domestic violence sentences.
Maximum Jail Sentences
Class 1 Misdemeanor = 6 months
Class 2 Misdemeanor = 4 months
Class 3 Misdemeanor = 30 days
The maximum fines for misdemeanors are as follows:
Class 1 Misdemeanor = $2,500
Class 2 Misdemeanor = $750
Class 3 Misdemeanor = $500
Maximum probation sentences
Maximum misdemeanor probation sentences are as follows:
Class 1 Misdemeanor = 3 years probation
Class 2 Misdemeanor = 2 years probation
Class 3 Misdemeanor = 1 year probation
Repeat Domestic Violence Convictions
In the state of Arizona, If a person is convicted of three domestic violence charges in an 84-month period, they will go to jail for no less than four months. Persons with four domestic violence charges in that time will go to jail for at least eight months.
Domestic Violence Statistics
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in five women and one in seven men report having been victims of severe physical violence from an intimate partner at least once in their lifetimes. When it comes to sexual violence in a domestic setting, approximately 20% of women and 8.3% of men report having been victims.
Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Violence
People often ask our criminal defense lawyers these questions.
If I’m still in a relationship with the victim, can I talk to them about the case?
Most lawyers will advise you not to talk about the case. Your actions may meet the legal definition of witness tampering or obstruction of justice, which is a new crime.
How long does a restraining order in AZ last?
In the state of Arizona, a protective order lasts for one year from the time that the respondent is served.
Can my alleged victim drop my charges?
No. In Arizona, it is the state and not the alleged victim that decides whether or not to drop charges.
Can I own a gun if I’m convicted of a domestic violence offense?
Anyone convicted of a felony crime of domestic violence is a prohibited possessor. Owning a firearm or ammunition after a qualifying domestic violence conviction is a felony crime in and of itself, separate from your original charge.
Some misdemeanor convictions may cause you to lose your right to carry a firearm.
If you have additional questions about a domestic violence charge in Arizona, contact the experienced law firm of Hernandez & Hamilton, P.C.
Why Is It Important to Hire A Domestic Violence Lawyer?
A domestic violence conviction can take away your right to bear arms, make it difficult to obtain employment, interfere with professional licensing, and prevent you from renting an apartment. A conviction might impact a divorce or child custody case.
What is the APRAIS assessment?
The Arizona Intimate Partner Risk Assessment Instrument System (APRAIS) is a tool used by law enforcement at the scene of domestic violence incidents and is sometimes later used in court. The information gathered by police officers from alleged victims of intimate partner violence is then given to the court and is read at the accused’s initial appearance/bail hearing.
The court uses this document to decide the terms of your release, such as whether or not you will be released on bail or if the court needs to assign someone to supervise you.
Domestic Violence Attorney Tucson
Due to the consequences of even a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, you must take your charge(s) seriously and speak with a seasoned domestic violence attorney. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in Pima County, contact criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, P.C. for a free consultation.