Today, domestic violence continues to be a serious problem in Arizona, and the state takes these cases very seriously. Although violence can occur in any relationship, many individuals are falsely accused and arrested with little evidence. In fact, a police officer who arrives on the scene of a domestic violence incident can make an arrest if he or she merely has probable cause that a crime has occurred. It is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner if you have been charged with domestic violence.
The Blischak Law Firm has a proven track record of successfully defending clients against domestic violence charges in the state of Arizona. We believe that anyone accused of a domestic violence crime is innocent until proven guilty and we will fight to protect your rights and preserve your freedoms.
What is Domestic Violence in Arizona?
While many people believe that domestic violence is a crime that occurs between a husband and wife, this crime involves any act or threat of violence against any person with whom the accused has or had an intimate relationship, such as current or former spouses, parents, children, grandparents, in-laws, romantic partners, or anyone residing in the same household.
In particular, under ARS §13-3601, domestic violence offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Aggravated Assault
- Child abuse or vulnerable adult abuse
- Criminal damage
- Dangerous crimes against children
- Disorderly conduct
- Interference with judicial proceedings
- Sexual Assault
- Threatening and intimidating
- Unlawful restraint
Domestic violence crimes may also be committed against a third party or property in an attempt to intimidate or harass a person with whom the accused has or had an intimate relationship. This might involve acts such as threatening one’s in-laws or vandalizing a spouse’s car.
What is a Restraining Order?
The court will issue a mandatory restraining order barring the accused from contacting, threatening or harming the alleged victim when an individual has been charged with a domestic violence offense. The accused may also be ordered to vacate the home, surrender firearms, or refrain from other acts such as consuming alcohol. A person who violates a restraining order will face additional criminal charges. If the court determines the accused has taken any action that poses a threat of harm in the future, the order may be made permanent.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
In Arizona, domestic violence crimes are aggressively prosecuted. Even if the victim withdraws the complaint, the case will not be dismissed because the victim is a witness for the state. In fact, the state may decide to prosecute the case whether or not the victim agrees to testify. The charges can only be dropped by the district attorney, provided that a judge approves the request.
Domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony and a conviction can result in a prison sentence, fines, court fees, probation, a permanent restraining order, mandatory enrollment in a domestic violence treatment program, and costs of treatment. In addition, you may lose your right to own a gun and be denied access to your children.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges in Arizona
There are a number of potential defenses to a domestic violence charge. First, many alleged victims make deliberately false accusations out of spite. This often occurs in contentious divorce cases and child custody disputes. We will look to find inconsistencies between the accuser’s claims and police records and witness accounts. Similarly, we may also be able to demonstrate that the state failed to meet the required burden of proof.
In addition, it may be possible to show that another person was responsible for the abuse. This requires proving that the defendant was not at the scene of the alleged incident. In many domestic violence cases, the defendant was acting in self-defense or to protect his or her children. This requires showing that the defendant was not the initial aggressor, he or she reasonably perceived an imminent threat and that the response was proportional.
Experienced Arizona Defense Attorney
The Blischak Law Firm fights for the rights of those who have been charged with domestic violence. As a former FBI agent and Maricopa county prosecutor, John W. Blischak is well versed in the applicable Arizona domestic violence laws. Our defense attorneys have a proven track record of aggressively and successfully defending clients.
The consequences can be long lasting if you are convicted of domestic violence. In addition to losing your freedom, you may lose your job or find it difficult to find employment in the future. Even if you are not convicted, merely being arrested can cause damage to your reputation. Although violence in any relationship is unacceptable, we believe that anyone who is accused of a crime has the right to a vigorous criminal defense. If you have been arrested or are facing charges for domestic violence, call our office today at (602) 252-1984 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.
The Law Office of John W. Blischak serves clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale, and throughout the state of Arizona.