Our extremely dedicated and passionate team of domestic violence attorneys have had the opportunity and pleasure of being able to help hundreds of people charged with domestic violence and we comprehend that this type of criminal charge can destroy careers and even the lives of individuals. There are often times where the police will arrest an individual without a full comprehension of all the evidence. As a result of this action, people that are innocent sometimes face very serious criminal charges.
There are many charges that can be considered domestic violence crimes including assault, criminal damage, and crimes against children. What makes a domestic violence charge different from regular charges? Firstly, the police will look to see if the accuser and the accused have a romantic relationship, are related, or are living together.
Many individuals who are charged with domestic violence offenses do not necessarily understand why they were charged with these offenses or what the consequences can be for a crime such as this. Domestic violence is a type of crime that carries very serious allegations, because of the fact that conviction can result in significant penalties, including substantial jail time, counseling classes, and the loss of one’s right to bear arms. Furthermore, prosecutors often times seek greater jail sentences when there is an allegation of domestic violence.
One way to easily determine if you are being accused of a domestic violence offense is if you look on your ticket and see the letters “DV” or ARS 13-3601, if these letters are on there this means that you are likely facing a Domestic Violence Offense. A Domestic Violence offense is alleged not due to the severity of the crime, its based on whether or not the person charged has a relationship with the listed victim. A “Domestic Violence” designation can be applied to the following charges. Homicide, Assault, Kidnapping, Sexual Offenses, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Damage, Interference with Judicial Proceedings, and Disorderly Conduct. Keep in mind, however, that domestic violence does not require “violence” per se. For instance, you can be charged with domestic violence for disturbing the peace and quiet, trespassing or unauthorized telephonic or in person contact. The deciding factor in these type of cases is whether or not the “victim” has a relationship with the individual who is being accused.
Domestic violence is a special category of crimes within Arizona’s criminal code, often referred to as an enhancement. Enhancements are not crimes when they are simply by themselves; rather, they are statutes that create additional penalties when their elements have been satisfied. Domestic violence, or DV offenses, require that a person have a special relationship with the victim of the crime.
It means that, if someone commits a crime against a family member, that crime can be considered a domestic violence offense. Additionally, if the crime is a domestic violence offense, there may be additional jail or prison time, extra fines and fees, the loss of the right to bear arms, and the court might issue a no-contact or restraining order.
Crimes like assault, criminal damage, endangerment, and criminal trespass can all be assigned a domestic violence enhancement.
A.R.S. § 13-3601 is the statute that defines domestic violence:
(a) The type of relationship.
(b) The length of the relationship.
(c) The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant.
(d) If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination.
Because of the fact that domestic violence offenses are not crimes in and of themselves, the penalties vary quite a bit based on the underlying crime in question. For example, if a person commits a misdemeanor assault against their spouse, he could be charged with DV-Assault.
Whenever there is a domestic violence issue at stake, one of the most frequent questions that we are asked is, “How much jail time am I looking at?”. For whatever reason, many people come to us with the idea that they are legitimately facing the maximum sentence for their charges. Lawyers can have a tendency to freak people out. This is especially the case when a person is facing the criminal justice system for the first time.
Here’s the straight story. Domestic Violence charges in Arizona are typically, and usually filed as class 1 misdemeanors. Most individuals who are charged with first offense misdemeanors do not face significant jail time. For example, anyone charged with a class 1 misdemeanor technically is facing up to six months in jail. A reasonable person could meet with an attorney and walk away from that consultation thinking that six months is a realistic sentence for a domestic violence offense.
The reality of the situation, however, is that counseling and non-jail programs are available for many first time offenders. Individuals who are facing significant jail time either have prior convictions or they are accused of causing serious injury or were charged with the use of a dangerous weapon in Arizona. So given this, if you are going to court for the first time ever and there are no other factors that make your case more serious (use of gun, knife or allegation of broken bones/choking/etc) then these classes may likely be available to you.
Of course, as a domestic violence attorney in Phoenix, we have to inform you and caution you that every case is different and depends on the circumstances and the facts of the case. We inform our clients that 10 identical cases in 10 different courtrooms would result in 10 different outcomes. The most significant key to surviving and pushing through a domestic violence charge is to not panic. If you are hearing from an attorney that you should hire them because you are facing six months in jail, take a deep breath. Ask the following question. “How many people have you ever seen sentenced to six months for my charges?” The answer will probably be “zero”.
One advantage that our team here at Alcock possesses is that our team consists of former prosecutors, a former police officer and a former administrative law judge. Throughout the years here at Alcock and Associates, we have seen thousands of domestic violence offenses and we will always tell our clients the unvarnished truth about their situation. If you are facing domestic violence charges and have a court date, come on in and we will give you detailed ideas on how to survive and potentially win your domestic violence case in Arizona.
Here at Alcock and Associates our team of lawyers understand that there are many innocent people are charged with domestic violence when in fact they did nothing wrong. There are often times where the police arrive at the scene of a disturbance call and they arrest first and ask questions later. It is quite obvious that there is a preference to arrest men over women. Also police oftentimes will make an arrest based solely on the testimony of one witness as opposed to hearing both sides.
The ultimate goal of our law firm is to win your case. If you are charged with a domestic violence offense, contact us and let us help you today. Give us a call and allow us to work to develop constructive strategies to give you your life back.
Here at Alcock and Associates our team and staff are dedicated to helping and representing YOU. The first step is to understand your case. We will take the time to get to know you and your legal situation so that we are best able to answer all of your questions. After your initial consultation with our attorneys, you will know what you are facing and what can happen to your case.
EVERY CONSULTATION IS COMPLETELY FREE AND COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL.
Alcock & Associates P.C.
2 North Central Avenue, 26th Floor
Phoenix AZ 85004