No family is perfect. Most individuals in Arizona will get into a fight with their spouse, child, romantic partner or other family member from time to time. Most of the times these fights are ultimately not that serious, and the parties resolve the situation relatively quickly and easily. However, other times, one party will claim the other party has committed an act of domestic violence, which could open a “Pandora’s box” of legal ramifications for the accused.

People might assume that domestic abuse only refers to physical attacks. However, domestic abuse could include emotional abuse, sexual assault, financial abuse and neglect. Some specific crimes in Arizona that could constitute domestic abuse include assault and battery with or without a weapon, trespassing, intimidating witnesses, kidnapping, making threats and disorderly conduct.

Moreover, in Arizona, the victim cannot change their mind and have the charges against the accused dropped. Even if the victim decides not to press charges, once a person has been charged with domestic abuse, the court will not dismiss their case just because the victim has asked it to. Only the district attorney has the ability to have a domestic abuse case dismissed. The reason the victim cannot have the charges dropped is because once the accused is charged, the victim is considered to be a witness. In fact, even if the victim refuses to provide testimony in the case, the case can still be prosecuted.

As this shows, being charged with a domestic abuse crime in Arizona is very serious. It could affect a person’s life for years to come, especially given the fact that even if the parties resolve the matter between themselves and the victim wants to drop the case, the victim does not have the authority to do so. Therefore, it is important for those accused of domestic abuse to develop a solid defense strategy. A criminal defense attorney can assist in such matters.

Source: FindLaw, “Arizona Domestic Violence Laws,” Accessed Nov. 26, 2017