What Defenses Are Available to me on a Domestic Violence Charge?

Domestic violence charges are serious business in Arizona. A victim doesn’t even have to be injured for someone to be sentenced. In some cases, a spouse or domestic partner may even cook up a domestic violence accusation in order to get their significant other to do something or stop doing something, like pay child support, move out, etc. Regardless of innocence or guilt, a domestic violence charge on your record can have life-long consequences. In any domestic violence case, there are a number of potential defenses that can reduce or eliminate sentences altogether.

What Is Domestic Violence in Arizona?

All states have domestic violence laws in one form or another. In Arizona, a domestic violence offense is one in which an act of criminal abuse is committed against a member of that person’s household or family member. This can include someone that:

  • you have had a child with
  • you are in an intimate or sexual relationship with
  • you are related to by blood
  • is related to someone you are in a romantic relationship with
  • is a former spouse

These acts of abuse can be emotional, sexual, or physical, and can include acts of neglect or economic control. Arizona domestic violence offenses can include things like:

  • kidnapping
  • trespass
  • assault and battery (with or without a dangerous weapon)
  • disorderly conduct
  • sexual assault
  • stalking

Once domestic violence charges have been made, the victim cannot drop them. Whether domestic violence charges are dropped is in the sole discretion of the district attorney.

Defenses To Domestic Violence Charges

Just because you have been accused of domestic violence, does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. There are a number of defenses available to people that have been accused of domestic violence offenses. These defenses include:

  • Self-Defense – if you are accused of domestic violence, but you were in fact defending yourself against aggression initiated by the other person, you may use this as a defense.
  • Failure to Prove the Crime – every criminal offense in Arizona has certain elements that must be proven in order for a charge to stick. For example, in order to prove the crime of battery, the prosecutor must prove that you made contact with the victim, that contact caused harm to the victim, and the harm caused the victim to suffer damages. If any one of these three elements is not proven by the prosecutor, the charge cannot stand.
  • Failure to Prove Domestic Relationship – as discussed above, if crimes are committed against a certain set of individuals, like family members, domestic partners, or someone you have had a child with, then domestic violence charges may be brought. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the victim is one of these specially protected victims, then the domestic violence charge will not stand.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you need to speak with an attorney, so call us today to set up a free legal consultation.