We Understand What
You are Going Through and
We’re Here to Help

Domestic Violence Lawyer Tucson

The legal term “domestic violence” refers to acts of violence or abuse that occur within a domestic relationship (i.e., husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent/child, etc.) Examples of domestic violence in Arizona include assault, battery, disorderly conduct, harassment, unwanted sexual or physical contact, stalking, and other criminal charges that may fall into this broad category.

Domestic violence charges in Arizona are taken very seriously and a conviction may result in long-lasting consequences. Convictions will be placed on your permanent criminal record and can prevent you from obtaining employment, possessing or carrying a gun, renting a house or apartment, getting approved for a loan like a home mortgage, and obtaining professional licensure (i.e., nursing license, etc.).  A person could also face serious penalties such as jail time, probation, prison, mandatory counseling, and fines.  

It is strongly recommended to seek out an experienced attorney if you are facing domestic violence charges in Pima County or anywhere throughout Arizona.  Domestic violence cases are not to be taken lightly. It is only smart to seek the best counsel to help fight the charges against you.  Contact the law firm of Hernandez & Hamilton, P.C. today for free legal consultation.  

Photo of Domestic Violence

Arizona Domestic Violence Law

The Arizona legislature has codified the state’s domestic violence law in A.R.S. 13-3601.  Accordingly, it defines the type of relationships that can be classified in domestic violence cases.  In particular, DV can occur among people that live in the same household, in addition to family members, or past or present sexual partners, etc..  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.

If you have questions regarding your domestic violence case, contact Hernandez & Hamilton, P.C. today.

Domestic Violence Charges Tucson

Due to the profound impact of domestic violence on families and the surrounding community, Tucson, as well as the rest of Arizona, takes these charges very seriously. Domestic violence charges encompass a wide variety of offenses that occur between individuals in a close relationship. 

Charges faced due to an offense between an adult and a child are typically more severe because of the justice system’s desire to protect individuals who need more protection and support. This heightened level of support is due in part to the vulnerability of children and the significant long-term effects that abuse can have on their development and well-being. 

Standard domestic violence charges include physical assault, which involves causing bodily harm or apprehension of harm to another person. This can range from severe life-threatening injuries to minor injuries. Charges may also be related to emotional or psychological abuse, such as intimidation, threats, or harassment, which may not result in physical harm to the victim but can result in severe psychological effects.

Sexual assault is another form of domestic violence, which is where one partner forces or coerces another into unwanted sexual activity. This charge is severe and carries heavy penalties. Stalking is another charge often seen in domestic violence cases, where one person repeatedly follows, monitors, or contacts another, which can cause severe fear and distress. 

Financial control, or economic abuse, is also a recognized form of domestic violence. This occurs when one person controls their partner’s access to money, resources, or employment. Property damage and restraining order violations are additional charges. Damaging property that belongs to the victim or violating a court-ordered restraining order are serious offenses that can lead to significant legal consequences. 

What is a Domestic Violence Court?

In 2012, Pima County Attorney’s Office (“PCAO”) created the Domestic Violence Court. In the time since, DV courts have been established all over Arizona, and even in other areas of the United States.  In Pima County, the Domestic Violence Court program adjudicates misdemeanor domestic abuse cases in the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court. This court handles serious and repeat misdemeanor offenders charged with domestic violence.  Felony matters are handled in Superior Court, and are prosecuted by specialized felony prosecutors who focus on DV cases.

Domestic Violence Diversion Program

The domestic violence diversion program is a wonderful opportunity for first-time offenders to avoid criminal charges by participating in domestic violence 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 successfully completes the diversion program requirements, they receive a complete dismissal of their charges and will avoid going to trial.  Diversion is most often offered by prosecutors in misdemeanor cases, and only for first time offenders in less-serious DV incidents.  However, a skilled attorney may be able to negotiate a diversion offer in felony cases or for repeat offenders, etc.

The Arizona Domestic Violence Diversion Programs are operated by the prosecutor’s offices. A judge cannot force a prosecutor to allow a defendant to go through the program.  Whether to offer diversion is purely up to the prosecutor.  The prosecutor will consider many factors on whether or not to offer diversion to a defendant. A domestic violence criminal defense attorney will work to convince the prosecutor that a client qualifies for the diversion program.  Contact The Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC today to see if your case could qualify for the diversion program.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges in Arizona

In Arizona, Domestic Violence offenses are punished to the extent the law allows.  A conviction can have a significant negative impact on your life.  Domestic violence offenses are charges which can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. The amount of jail time, probation, prison, and/or fines will vary depending on which crime you are charged with and which charges (if any) you are ultimately convicted of. Misdemeanors are less severe than felony charges, but a DV misdemeanor is still very serious.

Photo of Domestic Violence

Misdemeanors Domestic Violence Penalties

Misdemeanors in Arizona are classified into classes of class 1, class 2, and class 3, with class 1 being the most serious and class 3 being the least serious. The type of class will affect the type of penalty an offender will receive.  

Maximum Jail Sentences

Class 1 Misdemeanor = 6 months

Class 2 Misdemeanor = 4 months

Class 3 Misdemeanor = 30 days

Maximum Fines

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

Felony Domestic Violence Penalties

In the state of Arizona, if a person is convicted of more than two misdemeanor domestic violence charges within a seven-year (84 month) period, they can face charges of Aggravated Domestic Violence for the third or subsequent offense.  Aggravated Domestic Violence is classified as a Class 5 felony and could come with up to 2.5 years in prison, even for a first time felony offender. The point is: Arizona law takes DV offenses very seriously.  The penalties for DV offenders, particularly repeat offenders, can be severe.  If you have multiple domestic violence charges against you, it is crucial for you to contact Hernandez & Hamilton, PC today to determine your domestic violence offenses, and what options might be available to you to fight your case to the full extent of the law.

Domestic Violence Statistics

The statistics for domestic violence in the United States are shocking.  The Centers 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.

Closeup of Handcuffed Man

Tucson Domestic Violence Charges

Under Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) § 13-3601, a domestic violence charge covers a wide range of actions, including assault, assault with weapons or severe injury, sexual assault, stalking, trespassing, and emotional and psychological abuse (like isolating the victim from friends and family).

The spouse is not the only one who the law protects in these cases; it extends to anyone you have ever lived with, blood relatives, and any past or current romantic partners.

Tucson Domestic Violence Defenses 

If you are accused of mistreating a partner or a family member, you are not required to prove you are innocent. It is the prosecutor’s job to prove you are guilty. If they fail to convince the court and establish your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” you cannot be convicted.

Your attorney at the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC will create that “reasonable doubt” into the minds of the judge or jury by, say, showing inconsistencies in the accuser’s story or pointing out flaws in the police investigation.

Our potential defense strategies include using an “affirmative defense”, where we argue that you had a valid reason (self-defense or defense of others); or a “justification defense” which includes defense of others, defense of property, and defense of premises.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.  In many cases, victims are encouraged to get a protective order against the offender.   It is also common for persons charged with DV offenses to be prohibited from contacting the victim as a condition of release.  You should avoid all contact with a victim in any criminal case unless and until you have had a chance to talk to an attorney beforehand.  The law in Arizona is extremely punitive and talking to a victim, or even attempting to talk to a victim can have catastrophic impacts on your case.

How long does a restraining order in AZ last?

In the State of Arizona, a protective order generally lasts for one year from the time that the respondent is served. However, the Arizona Legislature recently amended the law in this area and, as of 2023, some orders will remain in effect for 2 years from the time that the respondent is served.  Contacting someone who has obtained such an order against you can result in criminal charges being filed against you, including interference with judicial proceedings and aggravated harrassment.  

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.  Even if the victim does not cooperate with the case, the state may still file charges against you, and refuse to dismiss them.  

Can I own a gun if I’m convicted of a domestic violence offense?

Gun rights is a complicated area of the law.  Generally speaking, anyone convicted of a felony is a prohibited possessor. However, persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses may also be prohibited possessors.  Owning a firearm or ammunition after a qualifying domestic violence conviction is a felony crime in and of itself, separate from your original charge.

If you have additional questions about a domestic violence charge in Arizona, contact the experienced law firm of Hernandez & Hamilton, P.C

Photo of Domestic Violence

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 domestic violence conviction can also impact a divorce or child custody case.  As a conviction can tear apart many facets of your life, it is very important to take any domestic violence offense charges against you very seriously.  Contact an experienced Tucson lawyer as soon as you can.   

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 at the earliest possible opportunity. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in Pima County, or anywhere in Arizona, please contact criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC for a free consultation.