Disagreements happen in every relationship. Sometimes these disagreements escalate, and police become involved. Unfortunately, police agencies are not equipped to distinguish between situations that are of real concern and should result in criminal charges, and which just required their presence to de-escalate. As a result, “domestic violence” charges are extremely common in Arizona, and the Gilbert domestic violence attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group handle many of them.
Ryan McPhie and David Lish are former prosecutors who know the best strategies to avoid or minimize domestic violence charges. In fact, Gilbert domestic violence charges (DV) are some of the most dismissed charges in our practice, but must be handled correctly. The wrong approach can lead to a long-term devastating “DV” conviction, when it often can be avoided or negated. Call today to learn more through a free consultation with an actual lawyer. We strongly recommend against going it alone and having that first conversation with the prosecutor that can destroy your defense and ability to improve the result.
Many people do not realize the devastating impact of pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge until it is too late. Since there is often no right to a court-appointed attorney that applies in these cases when charged as a misdemeanor, no one ever tells them all the terrible effects of a domestic violence conviction. It can sound pretty temping if the prosecutor says they can just plead guilty and eat the fine and take the classes. But this is bad decision. While it is true that people risk jail, probation, and hefty fines, the more serious effects are on their criminal record. “domestic violence” is a tag that follows people. It can lead to loss of employment, ineligibility for employment and licensing, disqualification for housing, and will make it illegal for them to possess a firearm and brand them a “prohibited possessor”. Some people only find this out years later when their background check leads to being told they cannot purchase a gun from a Federal Firearms Dealer. Even worse, some people only realize it when arrested for a felony offense of “misconduct involving weapons” because they are caught possessing a gun as a prohibited possessor. This is a terrifying situation that often leads to prison time. Speak to one of the Gilbert domestic violence attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group before you make any decisions in your case. Your future may depend on it.
There is no actual crime called “domestic violence” in Arizona law. Instead, DV is a tag that is placed on another crime. And it really has little or nothing to do with “violence” at all, despite the name. It is purely about who the named victim is in the case and their relationship to the accused person. So if someone is accused of a crime, it will be tagged as domestic violence if the accused and the named victim are:
So any “victim crime” can be charged as domestic violence if the police believe that the relationship qualifies. The most common ones, by far, are:
But we also see many others:
Many a defendant has turned a weak case into a slam dunk case conviction by failing to shut their mouth when police arrive. Often we feel that all will be well if we explain to police that we were in a simple argument with our significant other, but the trouble has now passed. And we want to be cooperative. Unfortunately, this can often provide police with the basis for an arrest and the prosecutor with the evidence at trial to convict. If police are called to a domestic dispute, even if you are innocent, maybe especially if you are innocent, even if the other party has made accusations that may lead to an arrest, you are far better off to say something to the effect of “I exercise my right to remain silent and my right to an attorney”. Then stay quiet and call Grand Canyon Law Group and let the experienced domestic violence attorneys handle the case in way that minimizes the prosecutor’s ability to convict you. The weaker the case against you, the stronger the starting negotiation position for your defense.
Often domestic violence charges come along with the filing of a protective order, either an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment against the accused defendant. Rather than a criminal charge filed by the State, this is a civil action requested by a named victim. Even when the criminal case is pending and the defendant is presumed innocent under the criminal justice system, the filing of an order of protection can negatively affect a person’s record and can impose restrictions on the defendant.
The Gilbert domestic violence attorneys at the Grand Canyon Law Group can help fight this order against our clients, or can help victims file them and fight to hold them when challenged. These hearings look like a miniature trial but have their own rules and can be hard-fought. If only one party hires an attorney, that party has a high chance of victory.
In almost all domestic violence cases, the court will restrict the accused from contacting the “named victim” in the case in the criminal case, completely separate from a protective order as described above. This is commonly causes extremely difficult and unrealistic restrictions. For instance, a husband is often forbidden from returning home, even though the wife wants him to. Your Gilbert domestic violence attorney can file the appropriate motions to fix this situation, but it takes time and is incredibly difficult for the accused and the named victims in the meantime. This must be done quickly to minimize the damage to the family.
Whether authorities charge alleged offenders on misdemeanor or felony charges depends on the nature of the underlying offense (for example, stalking versus rape) and the defendant’s criminal record. The more violent the encounter, the greater the likelihood of serving time in jail or state prison and the higher the fine imposed. Repeat offenders risk charges of aggravated domestic violence, a Class 5 felony, which carries a minimum incarceration sentence of eight months.
Once found guilty, all offenders must pay for and complete a treatment program at a court-approved facility.
Those wrongly accused or who acted in self-defense still need to present their side in court. A trained domestic violence attorney will work diligently to persuade the prosecutor, judge, or jury that an acquittal or a minimum sentence is appropriate.
As this process moves forward, it may feel like the case is beyond your control, but you can decide who represents you to fight these charges. No matter the severity or facts of your case, our experienced attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group can work to get the best result possible so you can move forward with your life. A Gilbert domestic violence lawyer is the best choice because we appreciate the gravity of the allegations and know how to mount an effective defense in this court with this prosecutor. Let us start working on your behalf by calling to schedule a consultation today.