A conviction for domestic violence can result in serious penalties and a criminal record that impacts the rest of a person’s life. In addition, a domestic violence offense, even if it is misdemeanor, makes you a prohibited possessor of firearms. It strips you of your Second Amendment rights. However, if you are facing these charges, you may have options for alternative sentencing that can avoid all of these consequences.
Domestic violence “diversion programs” (also called deferred prosecution or deferred sentence agreements) in Mesa are meant to prevent repeat crimes and give accused individuals a second chance without the consequences of a permanent criminal record. An experienced lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can help determine whether you are eligible and advocate for your acceptance into one of these programs in court.
Under ARS § 13-3601, domestic violence is defined as abuse perpetrated against a child, or by one family member or household member against another. A household member may include a spouse, significant other, relative, co-parent, or former significant other. It can also extend to people not in the same household, such as people who formerly were in a romantic relationship, have a child in common, are related by blood and live in different places, etc.
Domestic abuse is often associated with physical injury. Common examples of domestic violence crimes include battery, assault, disorderly conduct, and homicide. However, the offenses are not necessarily violent. The following may also lead to domestic violence charges:
If a police officer has probable cause, he or she can arrest someone for suspected domestic abuse, even without a warrant. To make an arrest, the officer does not need to have seen the crime. A call to the police from a member of your household alleging violence or abuse may lead to your arrest, even without proof that the accusation is valid.
The truth is that once someone calls the police and accuses domestic violence, they lose any control and have little say about what police will do about it. Often, the caller just wishes for the police to calm the situation or take a report. But police then decide to arrest one or more people and file criminal charges. Then it is the accused who needs to deal with the aftermath.
Even if the “named victim” does not wish to be a victim in the case and does not desire prosecution, the prosecutor is the one that decides to keep the case moving forward and seeks a conviction. However, in these situations, the victim’s position can give the accused a strong position for trial or in getting diversion to avoid the conviction.
The sentencing for domestic violence in Mesa is outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes. However, penalties vary depending on the nature of the offense, mitigating or aggravating factors, and the defendant’s criminal history. Domestic violence can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, and this will really determine the range of penalties.
At the Grand Canyon Law Group, our lawyers are former prosecutors who know how to use mitigating factors to a defendant’s advantage. We could use these factors when convincing a Mesa prosecutor to refer a defendant to a domestic violence diversion program, thus avoiding criminal charges.
Mitigating circumstances may include:
A person convicted of a Class1 domestic abuse misdemeanor could face 180 days in prison for a first offense. A $500 fine and up to 30 days in prison can be imposed if the crime is classified as a Class 3 misdemeanor. A Class 2 misdemeanor includes a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum sentence of 120 days in jail.
Repeat offenders will receive a felony charge if they get a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge for a third time in seven years. In this scenario, the penalties may include jail or prison time, and maximum sentences can be increased up to many years.
Aggravated domestic violence is considered a class 5 felony. Under ARS § 13-702, a class 5 felony carries a minimum sentence of 6 months (with mitigating factors) and a maximum of two and a half years under aggravating circumstances. A dedicated lawyer at our firm can help pursue admission into a domestic violence diversion program to avoid repeat offenses and aggravated sentencing.
A diversion program is a way for a defendant to avoid having a criminal conviction appear on their record. Diversion programs are intended to provide eligible offenders with an alternative to traditional prosecution. These educational/treatment programs address the risk factors that contribute to repeat domestic abuse offenses. The end goal is to reduce the number of repeat offenders while conserving prosecutorial resources.
Domestic violence charges can be life-altering. Your freedom, future, and way of life are all at risk. However, you may have options for avoiding a permanent criminal record through domestic violence diversion programs in Mesa.
The knowledgeable attorneys at the Grand Canyon Law Group have helped many clients successfully pursue this alternative, thus decreasing the impact of these charges on their lives. To learn more, call our office today and schedule a consultation.