Criminal Defense

Domestic Violence Lawyers in Phoenix

Allegations of domestic violence can stem from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of a partner, spouse, family member, or other person living in the same household. The charge may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the particulars of the case.

Charges of domestic violence can be emotionally and mentally draining. Moreover, a conviction could negatively affect your chances of finding employment and housing in the future. So, if you or someone you know is facing these charges, don’t wait. Contact Alcock & Associates today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced domestic violence defense attorneys.

Our team will work tirelessly to build a strong defense tailored to your unique circumstances and provide you with the legal counsel you require to protect your rights and fight for your future.


Domestic violence charges encompass a wide range of offenses, including assault, criminal damage, and crimes against children. But what sets them apart from regular charges? The key difference lies in the relationship between the accuser and the accused. Police will investigate whether the two parties have a romantic relationship, are related, or live together.

Unfortunately, many individuals charged with domestic violence offenses don’t fully understand why they’ve been charged or the potential consequences they face. Domestic violence is a serious crime, and a conviction can lead to significant penalties, such as lengthy jail time, mandatory counseling, and the loss of gun ownership rights. In fact, prosecutors often seek harsher sentences in cases involving domestic violence allegations.

One significant issue with domestic violence cases is that sometimes the police will make an arrest without fully understanding all the evidence. Unfortunately, this can result in innocent individuals facing serious criminal charges. However, there is hope. This is where the experienced domestic violence attorneys at Alcock & Associates come in.

At Alcock & Associates, we approach each case with an open mind and a determination to see things from your point of view. We listen to your side of the story and investigate the facts of the case to determine the best possible course of action.

We have a deep understanding of the laws surrounding domestic violence charges, including the nuances of Arizona’s domestic violence statutes, and will use our knowledge and experience to challenge the evidence against you and fight for the best possible outcome.

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. We comprehend that this type of criminal charge can destroy careers and even the lives of individuals.

How to Know If You Are Being Accused of Domestic Violence

One way to easily determine if you are being accused of a domestic violence offense is if you look at your ticket and see the letters “DV” or ARS 13-3601. If these letters are there, you are likely facing a Domestic Violence Offense.

Domestic violence charges are not necessarily based on the severity of the alleged crime but on whether the accused has a relationship with the listed victim. The designation of “Domestic Violence” can apply to a range of charges, including homicide, assault, kidnapping, sexual offenses, criminal trespass, criminal damage, interference with judicial proceedings, and disorderly conduct.

It’s important to understand that domestic violence charges don’t always involve physical violence. In fact, you can be charged with domestic violence for actions such as disturbing the peace, trespassing, or making unauthorized contact by phone or in person. What matters most in these cases is whether the “victim” has a relationship with the accused individual.


Domestic violence is a special category of crime within Arizona’s criminal code, often referred to as an enhancement. Enhancements are not crimes simply by themselves; they are statutes that create additional penalties when their elements have been satisfied. Domestic violence offenses require that a person have a special relationship with the victim of the crime.


This means that if someone commits a crime against a family member, that crime can be considered a domestic violence offense. In cases where a crime is classified as a domestic violence offense, the potential consequences can be even more severe. In addition to standard penalties such as jail or prison time and fines, individuals may also lose their right to bear arms and be subject to 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:

  1. “Domestic violence” means any act that is a dangerous crime against children as defined in section 13-705 or an offense prescribed in section
  2. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.
  3. The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
  4. The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
  5. The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
  6. The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former defendant’s spouse or a person who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant.
  7. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship. The following factors may be considered in determining whether the relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship:

(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.


In Arizona, Domestic Violence (DV) offenses are penalized strictly. To be charged with a domestic violence offense, the State must first establish an underlying offense that involves a person as a victim of the offense and that has a domestic relationship with the suspect.

In Arizona, a domestic relationship is broadly defined. Such a relationship may include:

  1. Any biological parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, or sibling;
  2. Any of the above family members established through a marriage of another
  3. Any spouse or former spouse
  4. Any romantic or sexual relationship that occurred in the present or past
  5. Any person impregnated by the suspect
  6. Any person with a child in common with the suspect
  7. Anyone that the suspect has ever lived with, anyone that the suspect has ever had a romantic relationship with, and

The underlying offenses in Arizona that can be made with a domestic violence allegation include the following:

  1. Criminal Damage
  2. Disorderly Conduct
  3. Assault
  4. Aggravated Assault
  5. Interfering with Judicial Proceedings
  6. Harassment
  7. Stalking
  8. Preventing the Use of a Telephone During Emergency
  9. Manslaughter
  10. Negligent Homicide
  11. Murder
  12. Endangerment
  13. Threatening and Intimidating
  14. Custodial Interference
  15. Unlawful Imprisonment
  16. Kidnapping
  17. Sexual Assault
  18. Unlawful Disclosure of Nude Images
  19. Criminal Trespass

If a domestic violation is proven with an underlying offense conviction, there are mandatory minimum additional penalties. To prove a domestic violence allegation, the person designated as the victim must provide testimony in court to prove the allegation via first-hand knowledge.

The State can also attempt other ways to prove a domestic violence allegation, but a skilled defense attorney can object to hearsay or other inadmissible evidence if such an objection applies under the circumstances. However, in some domestic violence cases, the alleged victim may be reluctant to prosecute their loved one. This can pose a challenge for the State if their key witness is unwilling to cooperate and testify against the accused.

It is quite common in Arizona to be charged with a domestic violence offense. Sometimes simple arguments that escalate into yelling may lead to criminal DV charges. In many cases, neither the suspect nor the victim desire prosecution, even when cases are reported. But once the State is called to investigate a family fight, it is highly likely that they may arrest or file charges against the person involved.


The penalties for domestic violence vary based on the underlying crime. For example, if someone commits a misdemeanor assault against their spouse, he could be charged with DV-Assault.


  1. Additional jail or prison time
  2. Restraining orders
  3. Additional fines and fees
  4. Surrender of firearms
  5. Loss of the right to bear arms


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.

Domestic violence charges in Arizona are typically filed as class 1 misdemeanors. Most individuals 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 facing significant jail time either have prior convictions, are accused of causing serious injury, or were charged with using a dangerous weapon in Arizona. So, if you are going to court for the first time and no other factors make your case more serious (use of gun, knife or allegation of broken bones/choking/etc.), then non-jail programs are a likely option for you.

Of course, as a domestic violence attorney in Phoenix, we must inform you and caution you that every case is different and depends on the circumstances and the facts of the case. Ten identical cases in ten different courtrooms would result in ten different outcomes. However, if an attorney tells you you should hire them because you’re facing significant jail time, it’s important to keep a level head and not panic. Ask them, “How many people have you ever seen sentenced to six months for my charges?” The answer will probably be “zero.”

At Alcock & Associates, we have a distinct advantage over other law firms due to our team’s diverse experience. Our team includes former prosecutors, a former police officer, and a former administrative law judge. With decades of combined experience, we have handled thousands of domestic violence cases and have gained valuable insight into the legal system. We understand the severity of domestic violence charges and provide our clients with honest and straightforward advice.

If you are facing domestic violence charges in Arizona and have a court date coming up, we invite you to schedule a consultation with us. We will provide detailed strategies to navigate and potentially win your case. Our goal is to help you minimize the impact of these charges on your life and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Child Abuse

Alcock & Associates offers legal support for parents and caregivers who have been accused by the State of causing harm to a child in their care. We know that unforeseen circumstances and accidents happen, and we recognize the importance of protecting the rights of parents and caregivers. If you are facing allegations of child abuse, having a skilled advocate who will fight for your rights and provide sound legal guidance is crucial.

Arizona person can be accused of Child Abuse under the following circumstances:

A. Under circumstances likely to produce death or serious physical injury, any person who causes a child or vulnerable adult to suffer physical injury or, having the care or custody of a child or vulnerable adult, who causes or permits the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult to be injured or who causes or permits a child or vulnerable adult to be placed in a situation where the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult is endangered is guilty of an offense as follows:

  1. If done intentionally or knowingly, the offense is a class 2 felony, and if the victim is under fifteen years of age, it is punishable pursuant to section 13-705.
  2. If done recklessly, the offense is a class 3 felony.
  3. If done with criminal negligence, the offense is a class 4 felony.

B. Under circumstances other than those likely to produce death or serious physical injury to a child or vulnerable adult, any person who causes a child or vulnerable adult to suffer physical injury or abuse or having the care or custody of a child or vulnerable adult, who causes or permits the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult to be injured or who causes or permits a child or vulnerable adult to be placed in a situation where the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult is endangered is guilty of an offense as follows:

  1. If done intentionally or knowingly, the offense is a class 4 felony.
  2. If done recklessly, the offense is a class 5 felony.
  3. If done with criminal negligence, the offense is a class 6 felony.

A common scenario leading to a child abuse charge against a parent or caregiver is as follows: A busy parent with three young children is driving to the supermarket. The baby falls asleep in the car seat while the two and five-year-old children cry and demand attention. The parent gets out of the car to take care of the children and forgets the sleeping baby in the car seat. After entering the store for about five minutes, the parents realized they left the baby in the vehicle and returned to the car. However, during that time, a bystander called the police, who arrived just as the parent returned to check on the baby. Although the baby is unharmed and removed from the car, the parent is arrested and charged with child abuse.

Another common scenario involves the discipline of children. Parents or caregivers may choose to administer discipline, which sometimes includes spanking or other forms of corporal punishment. But is spanking legally allowed in Arizona? The answer is yes. According to ARS 13-403, “a parent or guardian and a teacher or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a minor or incompetent person may use reasonable and appropriate physical force upon the minor or incompetent person when and to the extent reasonably necessary and appropriate to maintain discipline.”

However, even with this legal provision, misunderstandings can happen. Sometimes, teachers, school administrators, daycare providers, and other well-meaning individuals mistake lawful discipline for child abuse and report it to the police. As a result, felony child abuse charges are filed against the parent or caregiver.

A third and very common scenario arises during divorce proceedings. Both parents are fighting for custody of a young child. One of the parents calls DC, formally known as CPS, and accuses the other parent of physically abusing their common child. Although the accused parent denies the accusations, charges are filed against the parent.

If you find yourself in these circumstances, you need an aggressive, experienced criminal law attorney who will fight for you. Our domestic violence defense attorneys at Alcock & Associates are here to help you navigate the complex legal system, protect your rights, and defend you against accusations made by the state.

When faced with a domestic violence charge, it is important to have an attorney who understands how the legal system works and how the family dynamic functions. Many of our attorneys are parents themselves. We will fight for you, and we will fight for your family.


Being charged with domestic violence can have serious consequences, both legally and personally. Unfortunately, many innocent people are wrongly accused of domestic violence. Police officers often make an arrest based on incomplete or biased information, and they may arrest first and ask questions later. It is also obvious that there is a preference to arrest men over women.

In many cases, the arrest is based solely on the testimony of one witness, without hearing both sides of the story. This can be incredibly unfair and result in innocent individuals facing serious criminal charges.

At Alcock & Associates, we believe that everyone is entitled to a fair trial and a strong defense. We will work tirelessly to investigate the facts of your domestic violence case and build a strong defense strategy to protect your rights and your reputation. We understand that your future is at stake, and we will do everything in our power to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have been charged with a domestic violence offense. Our goal is to win your case and help you get your life back on track. Call us today, and let us develop constructive strategies to defend your rights and preserve your freedom.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Domestic Violence Cases

  • What does a prosecutor think about when they assess a case and offer a plea agreement?

    Luckily our team of attorneys includes former prosecutors. We understand cases from the prosecution perspective. We understand how prosecution offices operate because we were once there. We understand what prosecutors think about when assessing a criminal case. Generally, plea agreements are initially based on the type and severity of the alleged offense. A plea agreement may also be dependent on the named victim’s input. In domestic violence cases, the prosecution will look at whether or not they can prove their case with or without the presence of certain evidence or witnesses. In cases where the prosecution has admissions from a suspect the plea offer may be harsher because their case may be easier to attempt to prove. As cases go on defense attorneys work to identify potential pre-trial and trial defenses. These defenses are often used to negotiate better plea agreements or even pre-trial dismissals. Some identified defenses may be saved for trial if the case is set to trial. Litigating cases effectively is an art and a skill that involves knowing when to act and when not to act. Plea offers may be negotiated and/or extended during the pre-trial or even trial stage. Every plea or resolution is entirely case specific and dependent on individual case facts and defenses.

  • How much time in jail can I get for Domestic Violence?

    This will greatly depend on the underlying offense. If a misdemeanor charge or charges are pursued there may not be a mandatory minimum jail term. Often prosecutors will seek deferred jail dependent on the suspect completing a domestic violence counseling program. Prosecutors may also seek initial jail time in misdemeanor domestic violence cases. If the underlying offense is a felony offense in some cases there will be mandatory minimum prison terms. These vary widely dependent on the charge. For example if the suspect is charged with Aggravated Assault (as a dangerous offense) the presumptive sentence would be 7.5 years in prison. On the other hand, if the suspect is charged with a felony that is probation eligible they may only face a short initial jail term or no jail at all.

  • Will I lose my right to bear arms?

    Domestic violence convictions can result in serious penalties including the loss of one’s right to bear arms. Arizona state law and Federal law each have their own set of rules to prohibit certain domestic violence offenders from bearing arms. Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition by after certain findings are made in some domestic violence offenses. Arizona further prohibits possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a domestic violence offense while the person is serving a term of probation for that conviction. At times, there may be avenues that can be taken to prevent the loss of this right or to restore this right after it was taken away.

  • Is there a way to “set aside” a DV conviction?

    Yes, in Arizona a set aside for a conviction may be sought in certain cases. See our section on set asides for more detailed information. For instance, if a Defendant was convicted of criminal damage, as a domestic violence misdemeanor offense, once they complete their court-ordered requirements they may seek a set aside and the judge may grant this motion at his or her discretion.

  • What will happen on the first court appearance for a DV case?

    In most court the first hearing will consist of either an initial appearance after an arrest or an arraignment. At an initial appearance a judge will inform the Defendant of the charges against them and determine a bond amount or whether other release is appropriate. At the arraignment hearing the judge will advise of the charges and release conditions, if any are being imposed. A court may consider release conditions at this hearing in limited circumstances. A Defendant may choose to plead guilty to the charges or enter a plea of not guilty. Court dates will be determined and the Defendant will be advised of what could occur if they fail to appear.

  • How long is a DV trial and how does it work?

    This varies widely and depends completely on the type and circumstances of the case. Some trials can last a year or more while others may last only for an hour. The trial will begin with opening statements usually from both sides. The State will present their case first through their witnesses and exhibits. After presentation, the State will rest. Next defense will argue for a directed verdict for dismissal as the State is required to present substantial evidence of each element of the crime they seek to prove. If the argument for directed verdict is not submitted the defense will usually present their case. After the defense, the State can present any rebuttal evidence. Once all sides rest the parties may each submit closing arguments.

    Some offenses have the right to a jury trial and some will be presented before a judge. If a jury trial is conducted a jury will make the decision as to whether the Defendant has been proven guilty or not guilty. A judge will determine sentencing if a Defendant is convicted. Conversely, in a bench trial one judge will decide guilt and sentencing if applicable.

  • How long can my probation be and what are the terms of DV probation?

    This various widely and depends completely on the type and circumstances of the case. In most misdemeanor DV convictions probation may last as little as six (6) months to as much three (3) years probation. If the conviction is a felony a term of probation can include up to lifetime on certain higher class felonies. Generally, probation terms on any misdemeanor or felony matter will involve a mandatory term to complete a domestic violence program which is usually a 26 week program. It is important to strive to resolve a case without a DV allegation if possible.

  • I’ve heard that you can get deferred prosecution. What is that and how does it work?

    In some domestic violence cases a deal can be negotiated with a prosecutor for deferred prosecution. This can be an advantageous deal in certain cases. Generally, under a deferred prosecution deal the Defendant will be required to complete certain conditions and stay law abiding for a chosen period. If all conditions are satisfied then the case can be dismissed. A skilled defense attorney can analyze if this would be a beneficial deal on a case by case analysis as well as will determine the best avenue to secure such an agreement.

  • What should I have done when I got arrested? I spoke with the police, was that the right thing to do?

    Other than providing your name and date of birth it is not advised to speak with law enforcement without the presence of an attorney. Please refrain speaking to law enforcement until you are represented by counsel. If you have already made statements to police and are concerned it is vital to have an attorney review your case. There are many factual circumstances in which defense can argue to preclude Defendant statements based on legal authority. For instance, if you had been arrested but were not given certain advisement’s prior to questioning your answers may be subject to preclusion.

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