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Domestic violence laws in Arizona: The basics

In general, domestic violence occurs when a relative or household member commits an act of abuse against another relative or household member. However, the act does not necessarily have to be violent. For example, domestic violence can also be emotional abuse, economic control and even neglect. Other types of domestic violence include assault and battery, criminal trespass and even disorderly conduct.

A domestic violence charge or conviction on your record can have some very serious consequences. Not only will you possibly face time in prison but you could feel the effects in other parts of your life as well. If you are facing such a charge, it will be beneficial to understand the basics of Arizona's domestic violence laws.

Multiple charges

If you have been charged and found guilty of misdemeanor domestic violence in the past, an additional offense could be a felony in the eyes of the court. Generally, if the court convicts you for a third time within a seven-year period, the court might upgrade the offense to a felony and sentence you to time in prison.

However, if, instead of a misdemeanor charge, you are facing a possible conviction for aggravated domestic violence, a Class 5 felony, as a first-time offender, you could spend more than two years in prison. In addition to possible prison or jail time, you may have to attend domestic violence counseling and pay restitution to the victim if you are convicted.

It's not up to the victim

You may think that if the alleged victim chooses not to press charges that the case will be dismissed. This is not the case. If the district attorney has filed domestic violence charges against you, only he or she may drop them. Furthermore, a judge must grant the prosecutor's request before the charges are officially dropped.

Fighting back against a domestic violence charge can be incredibly complicated. It is for this reason that you should take advantage of every resource available. By doing so, you might be able to walk into court with a strong defense and avoid a conviction.

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