Fitzgibbons Law Offices - Casa Grande and Maricopa Lawyers



James Sena, Casa Grande Criminal Attorney


Fitzgibbons Law Offices
1115 E. Cottonwood Lane
Suite 150
Casa Grande, AZ 85122



Criminal Law

February 2018

What to Do if You Are Charged with Domestic Violence in Arizona

Domestic violence is an act of violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Charges of domestic violence carry serious consequences.

In Arizona, a domestic violence offense (as defined in A.R.S. § 13-3601) is an attachment to one of several possible criminal charges that may be added if the parties involved in the incident are connected to each other through certain types of relationships. In most domestic violence cases, the parties are married, intimate partners, or former intimate partners. A domestic violence charge can also be applied to disputes between roommates.

Offenses that Can Constitute Domestic Violence

It is possible to be charged with domestic violence for a variety of behaviors, including loud arguments and other aggressive behavior that are not normally considered “violence.” Frequently, domestic violence is attached to a charge of disorderly conduct.

The Legal Consequences of Domestic Violence

Felony convictions come with felony consequences and often include prison time.

A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, while less severe, results in a lifetime ban on the possession of firearms, and courts impose varying amounts of classes and treatment, which come at considerable expense of time and money. Additional penalties can be imposed depending upon the circumstances. (Note: In Arizona, it is possible to petition for firearm rights restoration. Please call to find out how.)

In either case, a pending accusation of domestic violence frequently complicates employment, custody, and living situations, as the courts often take preemptive steps to keep the parties involved in the dispute from being in contact with each other.

What to Do if Charged with Domestic Violence

If you have been arrested or cited for a domestic violence offense, you will likely face immediate restrictions. A judge may issue an order that you avoid contact with the other party. This can be particularly difficult if you are living together or if the other party does not want you to avoid contact.

Always comply with the court order. If you are barred from your residence and you need your personal belongings, contact the police for assistance. Do not attempt to collect them yourself or obtain consent from the other party; this behavior can result in a second domestic violence charge for violating a court order.

Do not try to use a go-between to contact the other party. A third-party seeking to act for you can earn you a domestic violence charge for violating the court order. Emails, social media, phone calls, and text messages are not secure routes around this rule. Even programs that promise anonymity, such as Snapchat, have been successfully used in court as evidence of contact.

In all cases, comply with all court orders and seek legal qualified legal assistance.

Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges

Being charged with domestic violence is a serious problem. There are different strategies for defending against a domestic violence charge, and the most appropriate strategy can be determined only upon careful examination of the incident. The existence of physical evidence and witness testimony are crucial. A consultation with an experienced attorney is essential in determining the right defense.