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Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges in Arizona

Posted on November 9, 2023 in

Arizona Law defines domestic violence as one of several criminal offenses in which the victim is related to the alleged perpetrator by marriage, former marriage or having resided in the same household. Normally “domestic violence” by itself is NOT a crime. Rather, it is a legal term that, when used, serves as an allegation that prosecutors use to obtain more enhanced sentences.

Normally, when we speak of domestic violence, it means that one has committed an underlying misdemeanor or felony for any number of crimes that may include, but are not limited to, assault, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, harassment, threats, or crimes against a child that rise to the level of abuse, endangerment, or sex crimes. The underlying crime may be a misdemeanor or a felony. But, if the relationship makes the crime one of domestic violence, then the enhanced punishment will be mandatory.

Marital or family conflicts sometimes do not end with a simple argument. When one of the parties loses control, a verbal conflict may lead to a violent crime. Strong emotions could lead to bodily injury, and, eventually, criminal convictions. The allegations in some matters, and certainly a conviction in most matters involving domestic violence will jeopardize one’s employment, professional licenses, status, and gun rights to name just a few real-world repercussions of a domestic violence crime.

Without the right legal representation, you may be sentenced to costly fines, penalties, and imprisonment. You really need to consider retaining an experienced, Board Certified Expert in criminal law to help you deal with the process and minimize the risks of punishment.

Defense Strategies for DV Crimes

Unlike other forms of violent crimes, prosecutors are typically unable to dismiss criminal charges at the request of the alleged victim. Even if the victim is demanding a dismissal, the prosecutors push their case. They don’t want a headline in the news where they dismissed a case only to have the alleged abuser again harm the victim. They would rather prosecute and lose than not prosecute at all.

One Caveat: In many first-time offenses, you may be offered diversion. If offered and accepted, it means that you can attend a counseling program and charges will be dismissed if successfully completed. But, diversion may or may not be your best option. In most cases with diversion, you are required to admit that you committed the underlying offense. That admission alone can cause you issues with employment, maybe custody and visitation, and affect your professional licenses. The goal is always to have a charge dismissed. And, diversion guarantees the dismissal. But it is not always the best outcome.

Where diversion is neither offered nor desired as an outcome, you must consider taking your matter to trial. You may elect to pursue a trial if you are truly innocent, or the plea offer is outrageously harsh.

To obtain a favorable plea offer or in preparation of trial, you may have many ways of preparing your case, establishing your defenses, and mitigating the outcome.

Some defenses that may be used to reduce punishment (or even dismiss charges against you) for alleged criminal domestic violence include:

  1. Developing facts and evidence to challenge each and every claim by the victim;
  2. Establishing motive for the victim to exaggerate or lie;
  3. Establishing a valid self-defense claim;
  4. Pointing out a lack of corroborative evidence or witnesses from others;
  5. Researching prior false claims or criminal history of the victim;
  6. In the event of a conviction or for purposes of obtaining a more favorable plea offer, developing mitigating information for the prosecutor and judge to consider

To obtain the best possible outcome, it is important to consult with experienced, hands-on criminal defense attorneys. You need an attorney that study your case, listen to your needs, walk you through the process, and develop a strategy based on the facts for the most favorable outcome possible. You need to consult with a Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer specialized in the complexities of crimes of domestic violence and other criminal cases.

You need the Snader Law Group fighting for you. Please give us a call at 602 899-3934 for a FREE case evaluation.