If a person in Arizona is charged with a domestic violence crime, it can be a very serious situation, especially where firearms are concerned. The right to bear arms is very important to many residents of Arizona, so understanding how accusations of domestic violence can affect a person's right to own a weapon is important.
Under Arizona Statutes, when police are called to the scene of a reported domestic violence situation, if they find that a firearm is on the premises, they have the right to seize it if it was in "plain sight" or was discovered through a search performed under consent, and they have reason to think that the firearm presents a risk of serious physical harm or death to a person on the premises. That being said, in order for police to seize a firearm belonging to the alleged victim, there must be probable cause to think that both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator have both engaged in an act of domestic violence. Any firearm seized will be kept for a minimum of 72 hours.
If there is reason to believe that the alleged victim would be put in danger should the firearm be returned to its owner, the firearm may be retained by the police for a maximum of six months. The owner of the firearm can ask for a hearing in order to argue that the firearm should not have been seized or to request the return of the firearm. At such a hearing, the firearm may be returned if it can be shown that the alleged victim will not be put in danger through the return of the firearm.
Possessing a firearm is very important for many people in Arizona. Most of the time, these people are very responsible with their weapons and do not use them in any way to harm another person. It may seem unfair, then, that a firearm can be seized temporarily even if a person is not ultimately convicted of a domestic violence crime. Residents of Arizona who find themselves in such situations may want to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney, as this is only a general overview of the seizure of a firearm in a domestic violence case, and cannot serve as legal advice.