Domestic Violence Attorney Arizona: Protecting the Rights of the Accused
The State of Arizona takes domestic violence charges very seriously. If you have been charged with a family violence crime, you should turn to a reputable domestic violence attorney in Arizona for legal advice and advocacy.
Arizona Domestic Violence Attorney
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Domestic Violence Attorney Arizona
An experienced domestic violence attorney in Arizona is necessary when a violent or dangerous crime is alleged to have occurred between household or family members. Domestic (family) violence takes many forms, and the behaviors are generally designed to control another family member through fear and repercussions.
The majority of people committing crimes in the State of Arizona, and the nation, commit those crimes against members of their families. These offenses and charges almost always carry with them high levels of emotion and fluctuations in those emotions.
Throughout the last 20 plus years, domestic violence awareness and prosecutions have increased significantly. There are several reasons for this awareness, likely commencing with the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-1990s. Moreover, domestic homicides continue to gain attention because, sadly, they continue to happen. Approximately 50-percent of homicides in the United States are domestic homicides, meaning they occur between people who have relationships laid out in ARS 13-3601(A)(1)-(6).
Domestic violence offenses are prosecuted aggressively throughout the nation, and especially in Arizona. In fact, the State of Arizona has adopted a “Victim Bill of Rights” in the Arizona State Constitution (Article 2, Section 2). It has also codified the “Victim Bill of Rights” in its Revised Statutes. The Victim’s Bill of Rights is not limited to domestic violence cases but is present in every domestic violence case. A qualified domestic violence attorney in Arizona can further explain.
When You Need an Arizona Domestic Violence Attorney
An Arizona domestic violence attorney is a necessary expense when you are faced with alleged domestic violence. The implications are severe, and the penalties for a conviction are long-term. Domestic violence allegations cover a variety of criminal charges, including elder abuse and spousal abuse.
There are several crimes in Arizona that are charged as domestic violence (DV) offenses when committed against family members, ranging from first-degree murder (all levels of homicide may be charged as domestic violence offenses) to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The mere allegation of domestic violence carries with it an incredibly dark taint.
Criminal law can seem complex, and the ramifications of a conviction are severe. So legal advice from an attorney in Phoenix, AZ, is necessary for your freedom and peace of mind.
Understanding the Arizona Revised Statute Regarding Domestic Violence
“Domestic violence” defined in Arizona Revised Statute (“ARS”) 13-3601 is based on a relationship between an offender and victim. ARS 13-3601(A) discusses the several different crimes that may be charged as domestic violence offenses in Arizona, which include:
- The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage, or former marriage, or of persons residing, or having resided, in the same household.
- The victim and defendant have a child or pregnancy in common.
- The victim is related to the defendant, or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order, as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister, or by marriage, as a parent in law, grandparent in law, step-parent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother in law, or sister in law.
- The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant.
- The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently, or is previously, a sexual or romantic relationship based on relationship type and length, frequency of the interaction, whether the relationship has terminated, and the length of time since.
A reputable law firm can help you navigate the complex and emotional nature of domestic violence laws and Arizona crimes and hopefully avoid a domestic violence conviction.
Best Domestic Violence Lawyers in Arizona for Violent Crimes
When facing domestic violence charges, you want to retain the services of the best domestic lawyers in Arizona. Often what begins as a domestic violence complaint can be embellished to physical abuse or other violent crimes requiring an experienced criminal defense attorney in the Phoenix, AZ area.
Much like sex crimes, allegations of these types can be exaggerated or completely fabricated. Unfortunately, when this fabrication occurs, it is generally designed by the reporting party to gain the upper hand in something (such as child custody, divorce, or rights to property).
All felony domestic violence offenses in Arizona have serious ramifications. Due to the consequences a mere allegation of a domestic violence-related offense carries, it is essential to consult with an aggressive, skilled, and knowledgeable Phoenix domestic violence attorney.
Experienced Domestic Violence Attorneys Arizona
Choosing experienced domestic violence attorneys in Arizona is vital when you have been accused of physical or emotional abuse. Depending on the circumstances, there are many crimes by which domestic violence could be charged according to AZ law. Along with emotional, financial, physical, and sexual abuse, these include:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Child and elder abuse
- Witness intimidation
Based on the intensity of the crime, any of these could be considered “aggravated,” as well. Sometimes, people are accused out of vindictiveness, especially in contentious divorce cases or bad breakups. If you are the victim of a wrongful accusation, you have to protect your reputation and your rights. It is vital that you consult a lawyer as soon as possible.
Whether or not the charges filed against you are true, you still need to prove your innocence unequivocally. To initiate defense actions right away, it is vital that you hire a skilled and knowledgeable domestic violence defense lawyer.
Unfortunately, many people attempt to handle a domestic violence case independently, especially if the alleged victim has forgiven them or recanted their story. Since the prosecuting attorney will proceed with the full power of their case, this will likely make things worse. Retain an experienced legal counselor as soon as possible to begin the fight to get you acquitted immediately.
Reasons to Hire a Qualified Domestic Violence Lawyer
There are several legitimate reasons to hire a qualified domestic violence lawyer to assist with your legal proceedings.
According to Arizona Revised Statute (“ARS”) 13-3601, in addition to emotional, physical, and psychological abuse, “domestic violence” includes acts, such as:
- ARS 13-1102: Negligent homicide
- ARS 13-1104: Second-degree murder
- ARS 13-1201: Endangerment
- ARS 13-1203: Assault
- ARS 13-1302: Custodial interference
- ARS 13-1304: Kidnapping
- ARS 13-1425: Unlawful disclosure of images
- ARS 13-1503: Criminal trespass in the second
- ARS 13-1602: Criminal damage
- ARS 13-2904 subsection A, paragraphs 1, 2, 3, or 6: Disorderly conduct
- ARS 13-2921: Harassment
- ARS 13-2923: Stalking
- ARS 13-3601.02: Aggravated domestic violence
- ARS 13-1103: Manslaughter
- ARS 13-1105: First-degree murder
- ARS 13-1202: Threatening or intimidating
- ARS 13-1204: Aggravated assault
- ARS 13-1303: Unlawful imprisonment
- ARS 13-1406: Sexual assault
- ARS 13-1502: Criminal trespass in the third degree
- ARS 13-1504: Criminal trespass in the first degree
- ARS 13-2810: Interfering with judicial proceedings
- ARS 13-2910, subsection A, paragraph 8 or 9: Cruelty to animals
- ARS 13-2916: Use of electronic communication to annoy, harass, intimidate, offend, terrify, or threaten,
- ARS 13-2921.01: Aggravated harassment
- ARS 13-3019: Surreptitious recording or viewing
- ARS 13-3623: Child or vulnerable adult abuse
Suppose you have been accused of violent or aggressive behavior or charged with any other criminal offense involving domestic violence issues. In that case, you need a skilled domestic violence lawyer in your corner.
Why Should You Hire a Domestic Violence Attorney for Charges in AZ?
When the courts have issued an order of protection mandating you keep your distance from your home and family, you should hire a domestic violence attorney in Arizona to provide legal counsel.
Every prosecuting agency in the state of Arizona aggressively prosecutes domestic violence offenses. Prosecutors view these offenses as precursors to what could quickly escalate into a homicide. As a result, the State is generally not willing to dismiss these cases, even if the alleged victim in the case ultimately refuses to cooperate or recants their version of events completely.
By the time a domestic violence investigation turns into a court process and prosecution, the alleged victim in the case may have wholly forgiven what occurred, forgotten it, or concluded in some way that they exaggerated to put the person into custody and get them charged. Whether any of these scenarios occur or are true, it is common for an alleged victim in a domestic violence situation to support the person charged.
However, this will not prevent the State from moving forward with a prosecution. In fact, most Arizona prosecutors take the position that they will try the case and push it as far as it will go because no prosecutor wants to dismiss domestic violence charges in case another crime, especially a violent one, occurs subsequently. Therefore, consider hiring Phoenix domestic violence lawyers as a necessary step in the process.
Choosing a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Choosing a domestic violence defense lawyer is essential in planning your criminal defense for aggressive behavior or causing physical harm to another. Whether misdemeanor or felony, domestic violence offenses are some of the most severe crimes and are investigated vigorously and thoroughly. The escalating seriousness of family violence in Arizona and the nation dictates the need for detailed investigations.
Law enforcement officers responding to domestic violence situations are walking into some of the most dangerous and volatile scenes an officer can walk into. They often enter into scenes where one of the parties has been assaulted or is being intimidated, or they may respond to a hostage situation where a family member, or multiple family members, are being held against their will, possibly with the use of a weapon.
Law enforcement will almost always make an arrest after responding to a domestic violence call. ARS 13-3601(B) gives an Arizona police officer authority to arrest a person, with or without a warrant, if the officer has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence offense, whether or not it took place in the officer’s presence. Also, some law enforcement agencies have the policy to make an arrest after every response to a domestic violence call.
How the State Proceeds if the Alleged Victim Fails to Appear at Trial
If the alleged victim does not show up after they receive a subpoena to court, the prosecutor could get a warrant. They could also charge them with the crime of failing to appear in the first degree (ARS 13-2507) or failing to appear in the second degree (ARS 13-2506), depending on whether the alleged victim failed to appear for a felony or a misdemeanor.
However, an alleged victim who another person is potentially manipulating may not care that the State requests a warrant, which is why they rarely do.
It is difficult for the State to obtain a conviction if the alleged victim does not show up for a trial if there are no eyewitnesses or corroborating “non-testimonial” statements the victim may have made to another person, or even law enforcement. Regardless, it is difficult for the State to move forward in this circumstance due to the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause. The Sixth Amendment provides, in part, that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right… to be confronted with the witnesses against him,” a concept that goes back to Roman times.
State Options When the Alleged Victim Fails to Appear
However, the Confrontations Clause is not an absolute bar to the State going forward with a prosecution without the alleged victim present. In fact, there are a couple of different ways the State may still proceed, depending on certain circumstances.
- The alleged victim made statements to law enforcement that were “non-testimonial” in nature that can be introduced into evidence even if the alleged victim does not appear for trial. “Non-testimonial” statements include a cry for help, a statement not intended to be used at a trial, such as a 911 call, an excited utterance to neighbors or law enforcement, or any statement that was not coaxed out through law enforcement questioning.
- If the State can prove that the alleged victim did not appear at trial because of some action by the person charged, then the State may proceed without the alleged victim and introduce the statements through the law enforcement witness they were made to. This is called “Forfeiture by Wrongdoing.” It is an archaic rule dating back to 17th century English jurisprudence that the United States has clearly adopted as the Supreme Court held in 2006 (Davis v. Washington). Stating “one who obtains the absence of a witness by wrongdoing forfeits the constitutional right to confrontation.” Davis v. Washington, 547 U.S. 813, 832-834 (2006).
The AZ domestic violence lawyers at Oliverson & Huss Law PLLC always advise their clients to comply with court orders and release conditions set by the court, which include having no contact with the alleged victim prior to the trial. It is advisable to consult an Arizona domestic violence attorney throughout the entire process of the investigation and prosecution of a domestic abuse case.
How the State Proceeds if the Alleged Victim Appears at Trial
In situations where the alleged victim does appear for trial, they are either on the accused’s side or the prosecutions, and they still intend to corroborate the prosecution’s version of the case.
If they are still on board with the prosecution, the testimony will likely be consistent with what was reported at the time of the incident. If the alleged victim refused prosecution, there is a likelihood that the account at trial will likely be different than the original one if they respond to the subpoena at all.
However, law enforcement is generally equipped with AXON cameras or some recording device that they activate just before entering a domestic violence scene. These cameras generally capture the entire investigation, law enforcement officer’s angles and perspectives, and the interviews conducted on the scene with the alleged victim.
Sometimes, an alleged victim gives a damning statement on the night in question but changes their story when the case goes to trial. They might blame the injuries on clumsiness and bad luck. In those cases, the jury (or judge if a misdemeanor) will hear the damning account given on the day in question and disregard their change of heart. The prosecutor may “impeach” the alleged victim’s testimony with anything the alleged victim previously stated about the offense (as long as it is material and not collateral to the case).
Best Law Firms for Victims of Domestic Violence in Arizona
Suppose you have suffered violent abuse, including physical assault or emotional abuse. In that case, you should consider the best law firms for victims of domestic violence in Arizona to represent your case in court.
AZ domestic violence offenses may present a myriad of issues, including motives and biases of alleged victims and witnesses. Domestic violence offenses are obviously by nature committed against family members who they know the best. Family dynamics often create issues that escalate into things that get misconstrued or exaggerated. Also, if there are injuries, it is crucial to have a professional review the injury to determine if it is consistent with the account given.
Further, were the injuries obtained in self-defense against the alleged victim? In addition, it is essential to determine any actions an alleged victim may have taken at the time, or leading up to that time, which may explain particular behavior by a person charged. There are a number of factors to explore, and every case presents its own unique issues. Domestic violence cases may present profound complexities in the introduction of evidence due to their emotional nature.
Choosing an AZ Domestic Violence Attorney for Your Case
A person under investigation or charged with a domestic violence offense should consult with an experienced and skilled Phoenix domestic violence lawyer knowledgeable in the nuances of Arizona law. These are very emotional charges and allegations and can ruin a person’s life and reputation. An experienced Arizona domestic violence lawyer will be able to guide you through the wilderness of confusion that everything becomes once charged with such a severe offense after you experience domestic violence.
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