Phoenix lawyer discusses FAQ’s about domestic violence crimes.
Being arrested on a domestic violence charge can affect your reputation, your livelihood and your relationships with family, friends and business associates. Many people will assume you are guilty without even knowing the facts, let alone being convicted. Because of the seriousness of these charges, and the confusion that often accompanies a domestic dispute, there are many questions that are frequently asked about the nature of domestic violence and its consequences. Here are some of the questions we often hear from our clients regarding domestic violence charges.
Q: If you have only dated a person for just a few times, is it possible to be charged with domestic violence?
A: The short answer is that it is possible to be charged with domestic violence where you and the other person are merely involved in a dating relationship. Whether your particular relationship will qualify for treatment of the offense as domestic violence is a function of a number of factors, including the type of relationship, and how long and how often you dated. In some cases, you can be charged even when the relationship has ended prior to the alleged domestic violence incident.
Q: What crimes can be charged as domestic violence in Arizona?
A: The list of crimes included among possible domestic violence offenses is lengthy. Not all the crimes require physical injury or even physical contact. Domestic violence can involve dangerous crimes against children (sexual assault, attempted murder, aggravated assault, etc.); homicide; assault; aggravated assault; endangerment; criminal threats; kidnapping; sexual assault; revenge porn and similar unlawful disclosure of nudity or sexual activity; criminal trespass; and criminal damage, among others.
Q: What are the penalties if I am convicted of domestic violence?
A: As a general matter, the potential sentence if you are convicted of a domestic violence offense is the same as for the underlying crime (assault, threats, etc.). On the other hand, enhanced sentencing can be imposed for domestic violence charges in some situations depending upon your prior history, if any, of domestic violence, the age of the victim, and whether the victim was pregnant at the time, among other factors.
Q: What is “aggravated domestic violence”?
A: Aggravated domestic violence, a class 5 felony, is an offense based upon a third or subsequent domestic violence conviction within a period of 84 months. If you are convicted of domestic violence and you have two prior domestic violence convictions within that period, you must serve at least 4 months in jail. With three prior convictions, you must serve at least 8 months in jail. The time periods for calculating the 84 months runs from the dates of the commission of the offenses
Q: What should I do if I am arrested for domestic violence?
A: Many innocent people are arrested for domestic violence. The reason for this is that the police are under enormous pressure to diffuse domestic situations, and that often means that a hasty (and often incorrect) decision is made as to which person is at fault. If you are arrested for domestic violence, speak to no one, including the police, and call The Feldman Law Firm as soon as possible.
Q: What is a domestic violence restraining order?
A: A domestic violence order of protection (also known as a restraining order) is issued in order to prevent the continuation of family violence. The intention of an order of protection is to attempt to make sure that the alleged wrongdoer does not contact the alleged victim. The order may prevent contact at specific locations, such as home or work. In addition, in some cases the order may require a person to surrender any guns or other firearms in the person’s possession. It is sometimes possible to obtain an emergency order of protection, where the alleged victim appears to be in imminent danger of domestic violence.
Q: What happens if I am charged with violating a domestic violence restraining order?
A: If a peace officer has probable cause to believe that you violated a domestic violence order of protection, you can be arrested, and may have to remain in custody until a judge sets the terms for your release. You may also face an additional criminal charge as the result of the alleged violation.
While the above information will provide you with some general answers to commonly asked domestic violation questions, they are not meant as legal advice. Every case is different, and if you are charged with domestic violence, contact an experienced Phoenix domestic violence attorney at The Feldman Law Firm. We will give you the answers you need.