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
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
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
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
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