What are Domestic Violence Cases?

In Arizona, “domestic violence (DV)” isn’t a crime, instead it is a classification (or label) for a few different types of actions that are themselves statutorily prohibited. For instance, common domestic violence crimes are assault, trespassing, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, which is also known as disturbing the peace. See A.R.S. 13-1203; A.R.S. 13-1602; A.R.S. 13-1503; 13-2904. Other common types of domestic violence charges are preventing the use of a phone in an emergency and interfering with judicial proceedings (violating an order of protection). See A.R.S. 13-2915 and 13-2810.

For these, or other offenses, to be classified as DV, the suspect and victim must have a qualifying relationship under A.R.S. 13-3601. Often, this means that the suspect and victim have a child in common, a present or past romantic relationship, live in the same household, or are related to each other by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.

Each prosecutor’s office has their own, and often very strict, policies on how to prosecute domestic violence offenses. Rarely, a prosecutor will dismiss the case simply because the Victim no longer wants prosecution. Often, at trial these cases are dismissed because the State cannot prove its case due to the unavailability of the Victim to testify, or other credibility problems in the State’s case. The admissibility of 911 calls and the suspect’s self-incriminating statements (admitting guilt) become very important to how the case can be resolved.

These cases are routinely won or negotiated to a diversion dismissal, but the legal analysis needed is complicated. If you or a loved one is charged with a domestic violence offense, you should hire an attorney who has tried many DV trials, and knows the law regarding the admissibility to self-incriminating statements (Miranda); 911 calls; and hearsay when the declarant (Victim) is unavailable. I have tried somewhere between 30-50 DV trials and defended 400+ DV cases. I know the area of the law. In 2019, I was able to get approximately 15 of these cases dismissed, and many more negotiated to a very lenient resolution.

 

 

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