The term “domestic violence” has gotten quite a bit of hype in recent years. Several high profile abuse cases have turned the public attention to these types of crimes. Despite all of the press, however, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that domestic violence is a serious criminal charge with very real criminal and civil consequences. As such, it’s important to understand what domestic violence actually entails. Today’s post will explore what is required under Arizona law for an act of violence to be deemed “domestic,” as well as the potential ramifications.
Domestic Violence Defined
Different states may have slightly different interpretations of what domestic violence actually is. Here in the state of Arizona, the definition of domestic violence is laid out in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3601. Here, the law determines that domestic violence is any type of criminal act involving violence (or the threat of violence) against a family member, a significant other, or, in certain situations, an acquaintance. Schill Law Group has worked with many clients who were unfortunately dragged into domestic violence cases because of the nature of their relationships with the people they know. The following list outlines the scenarios in which domestic violence charges can be applied:
- The parties involved are married, were formally married, reside in the same household currently, or formerly resided in the same household.
- The accused and the alleged victim have a mutual child.
- The alleged victim is carrying the child of the accused.
- The alleged victim and the accused are related either by blood or by law.
- The accused resides in the same home as a minor victim and is either related by blood, by law, or by a prior spouse.
- The parties involved are involved either romantically or sexually.
In addition to this list, there are other circumstances which may move a court to treat the case as domestic violence. Here, a court will take certain factors into consideration, such as:
- The nature of the relationship between both parties.
- The length of the relationship between the victim and the accused.
- The frequency with which the victim and the accused interacted.
- Whether or not the relationship is ongoing or has been terminated. If terminated, the court will consider how much time has passed since the termination.
Because the breadth of the definition of domestic violence is so extensive, these cases can quickly become quite complicated. Domestic violence is a serious charge, and those who have been accused can find themselves in situations where they will face severe penalties because of a technicality. Consequently, it’s of the utmost importance that you seek legal representation immediately if you are ever accused of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence in Arizona: Felony vs Misdemeanor
In Arizona, a domestic violence case may be treated as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. ARS 13-3601 shows that domestic violence can include 29 different types of offenses, ranging from negligent homicide to adult abuse. While a domestic offense involving related endangerment could result in a class 1 misdemeanor, for instance, a domestic violence case involving related disorderly conduct with a weapon could be classed as a felony. Once again, it’s very important that you have a skilled attorney on your team who understands the different types of charges involved with domestic violence cases and who can fight on your behalf.