Getting charged with a crime of domestic violence, even if it is the first time a person has been in any kind of legal trouble, is a serious affair. In addition to having to face the possibility of jail time, probation and the like, a conviction on crimes related to domestic violence have far-reaching civil consequences. This is true even when the crimes one is accused of are classified as misdemeanors.

This blog has already talked about how domestic violence crimes can affect one’s rights to own or possess a firearm. However, these crimes can also profoundly impact one’s ability to have custody or even parenting time with his or her children. This is significant since many domestic violence cases begin when a couple is in the process of breaking up or has recently done so.

Under Arizona law, should there be a valid accusation of domestic violence, it will likely mean two things for the person accused. For one, he or she will probably not be given significant decision-making authority in the life of his or her child, at least not without having to jump through a lot of extra legal hurdles.

Perhaps more importantly, the parent may not be able to obtain a court order for parenting time at all and, if he or she does, it could be for supervised visits only or for parenting time subject to fairly strict limitations and conditions.

Of course, if someone really has committed domestic violence due to a one-time lapse in judgment, then the best thing may be for that person to admit the mistake and get appropriate help. On the other hand, one can easily see how a parent could try to use a charge of domestic violence to get an edge in a custody battle over the other parent.

In any event, a resident of Prescott, Prescott Valley, or the surrounding area who has been accused of domestic violence should consider seeking the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, particularly if that person is subject to a custody or parenting time order.