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Criminal charges alleging domestic violence have wide-ranging implications. A domestic violence charge, including spousal abuse, could impact your job, living situation, and your right to be with your children. You need to be proactive in disputing the allegations and protecting your rights.
If you were charged with a crime against your spouse, get help from a seasoned attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group. A Chandler spousal abuse lawyer at our firm can guide you through the complex legal proceedings and represent your best interests at every stage.
Arizona law does not explicitly define spousal abuse. People accused of physical violence or threats to their spouse usually face charges under Arizona Statute 13-3601, the state’s domestic violence statute encompassing multiple crimes. Alleged offenses against an accused person’s family member or partner can lead to a domestic violence designation.
Common crimes that could be considered spousal abuse include but are not limited to the following:
The penalties for spousal abuse crimes are the same as if the underlying offense were committed against someone other than a spouse. For example, someone convicted of unlawfully imprisoning their spouse, a Class 6 felony, faces a presumptive sentence of one year in prison if they have no prior convictions.
However, Arizona’s sentencing scheme requires judges to add additional time if aggravating factors are present. Allegedly committing a crime against a spouse could be an aggravating factor. Our experienced lawyers in Chandler can present mitigating factors and work to lessen the potential penalties in a spousal abuse case.
A prosecutor could charge a repeat domestic violence offender with aggravated domestic violence, a Class 5 felony. This charge could apply even if the current alleged crime and the prior convictions were for misdemeanor offenses.
The charge could lead to a sentence of one to four years, and a conviction comes with mandatory prison time. Someone convicted of domestic violence for the third time in 84 months must serve at least four months in prison. Someone with three or more prior convictions must serve at least eight months. Sentences could also include fines, probation, and community service.
The law recognizes that people are vulnerable in their homes and need protection from abusive family members. Certain police and court procedures differ when the crime involves potential violence in the home.
Spousal abuse charges often arise from shaky evidence. Sometimes, the only proof of a crime is the alleged victim’s complaint. A police officer can arrest a person they suspect committed domestic violence without a warrant and without witnessing the alleged crime. Once a person is arrested on a domestic violence charge, a prosecutor can move forward with a case even if the complainant withdraws the accusation. If a prosecutor wants to withdraw a domestic violence charge, they must seek permission from the judge.
The complainant could seek an order of protection restricting the accused person’s behavior. The restraining order could prevent an accused person from returning home, contacting their spouse, or seeing their children. The subject of a restraining order might also have to surrender their firearms. Our local attorneys could help a person accused of spousal abuse contest the terms of a restraining order.
To resolve a case, an accused person may need to take a domestic violence awareness course, seek anger management treatment, or adhere to other conditions. A conviction for a crime related to spousal abuse could also affect child custody and visitation. The dedicated lawyers at our Chandler office could work with an accused person to minimize the impact of a spousal abuse charge on their life.
Our savvy Chandler attorneys could raise various defenses to a spousal abuse allegation. For instance, we could argue that the accused person acted in self-defense. We could also call a complainant’s motivation into question, especially if the complainant and the accused were involved in divorce proceedings or custody disputes. Poor police work, such as failing to advise an accused of their rights, coercing a confession, or making inaccurate reports, could convince a prosecutor to drop or reduce a charge.
Any domestic violence charge could have a significant impact on your future. You need a seasoned attorney to help you navigate the legal system and effectively protect your rights.
Contact a Chandler spousal abuse lawyer if you were arrested after a conflict with your wife or husband. Our former prosecutors know how to help you resolve the case with the minimum permanent consequences. Call Grand Canyon Law Group today.