How to get domestic violence charges dropped in Arizona?

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You are at home, an argument escalates, and the next thing you know, you are being charged with domestic violence. Whether it’s from a heated argument, a misunderstanding, or a false accusation, suddenly you are facing a legal battle that can wreak havoc on your reputation.

Remember, a charge is not a conviction. In Arizona, there are ways to get domestic violence charges dismissed. The right criminal defense lawyer in Tucson, Arizona can help. At the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, our domestic violence team has represented clients across Arizona. We are familiar with the local judges, prosecutors, and court staff and can navigate the system with ease. Get in touch with us today and let our expertise work for you.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence in Arizona?

The term “domestic violence” covers a wide range of criminal offenses that involve a domestic relationship between the victim and the defendant. It is not a separate crime in Arizona, but rather a designation that applies to certain violent crimes when they are committed against someone who has or had a close relationship with the defendant – this could be a spouse, family member, or even a former partner.

According to ARS 13-3601 – the statute that defines domestic violence in Arizona – any of the following crimes can be considered a domestic violence offense:

  • Child or vulnerable adult abuse
  • Dangerous crimes against children
  • Endangerment
  • Stalking
  • Threatening or intimidating
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Criminal trespass
  • Criminal damage
  • Custodial interference
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual assault
  • Preventing the use of a phone in an emergency
  • Interfering with judicial proceedings
  • Unlawful disclosure of pictures depicting specific sexual activities or states of nudity
  • Surreptitious photographing, videotaping, filming or digitally recording, or viewing
  • Use of electronic communication to intimidate, terrify, threaten, or harass
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Negligent homicide

Whether or not you can get the charges dropped depends on several factors, including the relationship between you and the alleged victim. The domestic violence statute in Arizona covers a wide range of relationships:

  • Spouses and ex-spouses
  • Current and former cohabitants
  • Parents of a child together
  • Pregnant partners
  • Relatives by blood or marriage, including in-laws and stepfamily
  • Children who live or lived with the defendant and are related to their former spouse or cohabitant
  • Current and former romantic or sexual partners

These people have a legal right in Arizona to file a domestic violence complaint against you. If you are accused of harming or threatening any of them, you could face serious consequences. Depending on the severity of the charges and your criminal history, you could be:

  • Sentenced to jail or prison for up to life, or even the death penalty in some cases of first-degree homicide
  • Ordered to pay a monetary penalty to the state, ranging from $300 to $150,000
  • Required to compensate the victim for any damages or losses caused by your offense
  • Placed under supervised release with conditions such as reporting to a probation officer, attending counseling, performing community service, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and avoiding contact with the accuser

If the alleged victim is your child or co-parent, a conviction can affect your parental rights as well.

Also, under Arizona law, you can be charged with “Aggravated Domestic Violence” – a class 5 felony – if you have two or more prior domestic violence convictions within a seven-year period. This is considered a much more serious offense due to the repeat nature of domestic violence crimes and carries up to two and a half years in prison for a first conviction.

How to Get Domestic Violence Charges Dropped?

Now that you know how devastating a conviction can be in domestic violence cases, it’s vital to contact a Tucson domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible so they can work out an action plan and get your domestic violence charges in Tucson dismissed. Our team at the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, has a proven track record of success in defending clients accused of domestic violence in Arizona.

Here are some of the ways we can help:

Negotiate with the Prosecutor

If you are a first-time offender charged with a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, the prosecutors might be open to negotiation and may reduce or drop charges. This is known as “plea bargaining”. They might be willing to dismiss the charges in exchange for your completion of a diversion program, counseling, or community service. A diversion program could be a class or a workshop that teaches you about anger management, healthy relationships, or the effects of domestic violence on people.

Challenge the Evidence

Another way we can defend you is by challenging the evidence that the prosecutor has against you for felony offenses. Their evidence has to meet two criteria – it has to be sufficient and admissible.

Sufficient means there is enough evidence to convince a jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of proof in criminal cases. Admissible means that the evidence was obtained in a legal and proper way, following the rules of the court and respecting your rights. If either of these criteria has not been met, your domestic violence attorney can argue that the evidence should not be used against you.

Investigate False Allegations

One of the first things we do in a domestic violence case is find evidence that supports our client’s version of the events and shows that the charges are either untrue or exaggerated. So, we talk to people who witnessed the incident or know you and the accuser and ask them to testify on your behalf. We may also get documents or records that can prove your alibi, your character, or the accuser’s motive.

We can also hire experts to analyze the evidence and provide their professional opinion on the case. If there are injuries involved, for instance, we can hire a medical expert who can explain how they were caused and whether they are consistent with the domestic violence charge against you.

Present Defenses

Another strategy is to present domestic violence defenses that may justify your actions and get the case dismissed. In cases where our clients acted in self-defense or defense of others, we have successfully argued that they used reasonable force to prevent imminent harm.

It is possible that you accidentally pushed the accuser while trying to get away from them. Here, your domestic violence defense attorney can argue that you did not act intentionally or recklessly at all. We can also show any mitigating factors that may explain why you acted the way you did or why you deserve a lighter punishment. This includes if the accuser provoked you by saying or doing something offensive or threatening, or if you suffer from a mental health issue or substance abuse problem that affects your judgment.

Experience Matters: Choose Hernandez & Hamilton, PC for the Strongest Defense Possible

You may feel like you have no control over your fate when you are facing a domestic violence allegation. But you don’t have to face this alone. At the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, our dedicated criminal defense attorneys have been fighting for the rights of the accused for years. Our attorneys have been recognized as Rising Stars by Southwest SuperLawyers and consistently featured as Top Attorneys in Arizona by Phoenix Magazine.

If you are facing domestic violence charges, don’t delay any longer. Call our experienced attorneys at 520-882-8823 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

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