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Spousal abuse and other acts of domestic violence have significant implications for an accused’s life. Spousal abuse could lead to an arrest, jail time, and fines. You might have to take a batterer’s intervention class and stay away from your home and children for a period. Spousal abuse charges also could negatively impact child custody, have repercussions at work, and damage your reputation.
If you are facing domestic violence charges because of an altercation with your spouse or intimate partner, contact a Scottsdale spousal abuse lawyer immediately. The experienced domestic violence attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group understand how the system manages these offenses and could secure the most favorable outcome possible under the circumstances.
Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3601 defines domestic violence crimes. Any dangerous or threatening action against a spouse, former spouse, co-parent, or other people in a family or intimate relationship is domestic violence. Domestic violence crimes include:
This state does not have a statute that defines spousal abuse. It is generally understood as domestic violence against a spouse or former spouse. If someone faces a charge like threatening, for example, the person faces enhanced penalties because the alleged victim is a family member. Spousal abuse charges are usually Class 1 misdemeanors, the most serious category.
If an offender has a prior history of domestic violence, prosecutors could bring aggravated domestic violence charges under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3601.02. A person commits aggravated domestic violence charges if they have committed three or more domestic violence crimes in the last 84 months.
Aggravated domestic violence is a Class 5 felony. A person convicted of this crime must serve at least four months in jail.
Other circumstances could cause a prosecutor to bring a more serious charge or a judge to impose a more severe sentence. For example, penalties will likely be more severe if the alleged victim is pregnant. Similarly, if the spousal abuse resulted in significant injury, the injury could affect sentencing. Possessing a weapon during a domestic violence incident could enhance the charge and potential penalties. A knowledgeable Scottsdale spousal abuse attorney could explain how prior convictions could impact charges and potential sentences in a specific case.
Domestic violence cases have implications beyond fines and jail sentences. A conviction in connection with spousal abuse will likely have an impact far into the future.
An offender might have to agree to therapy, counseling, anger management, or batterer’s intervention. They might have to complete domestic violence school. A court may issue a protective order requiring them to stay away from the alleged domestic violence victim.
If the alleged victim is a spouse or co-parent, an accused might be unable to return home or see their children for weeks or months. Domestic violence convictions have an impact on child custody disputes in most cases. A committed legal professional in Scottsdale could help an individual mitigate the effect of their domestic violence history when fighting for custody or visitation rights.
Domestic violence incidents often have few witnesses, if any. Police often arrive after the incident and make an arrest based on who seems to be more agitated or likely to pose a threat rather than who is likely guilty.
As former prosecutors turned dedicated criminal defense attorneys, we know that a prosecutor must prove every element of a crime—and if they cannot do so—the accused must be acquitted. Lack of evidence sufficient to prove each element could be an effective defense. A diligent attorney could also challenge the motives of the person or people making accusations. A jury might question an accuser’s motives if they are involved in a divorce or custody battle with the accused.
Other defenses, such as self-defense or defense of others, might be effective in a specific case. A skilled spousal abuse lawyer in Scottsdale could propose and execute a defense based on the circumstances surrounding an arrest.
Spousal abuse charges might elicit feelings of shame, embarrassment, or anger. However, those feelings should not stop you from engaging a capable defense attorney.
A Scottsdale spousal abuse lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can help you respond to domestic violence charges in the way that has the least long-term impact. Call today to speak with a proactive attorney.