Domestic violence cases in Mesa, Arizona are taken very seriously, often carrying harsher penalties than when the same crime is committed against an unrelated third party. Making matters harder, guilt is often automatically presumed in domestic violence cases, even though the American legal system should assume innocence until proven guilty.
The result is often unfair cases, biased juries, and unnecessarily severe sentences. The good news is that with an experienced attorney in your corner you can fight baseless charges, present an effective defense in court, and negotiate with the prosecutor and judge for lesser sentencing.
In some cases, that may mean having the domestic violence charges dropped entirely. In other cases, it could mean successfully defending against the charges in court, or reaching a plea agreement with the prosecutor.
Domestic Violence in Mesa, Arizona
Domestic violence in Mesa and Arizona takes many forms, from sexual, physical, emotional and financial abuse. A key determining factor for domestic violence is the relationship between the defendant and victim.
According to Arizona law, domestic violence charges could arise in any of the following relationships:
- Current or former spouses; individuals living together (or have resided together previously); those sharing children.
- One individual becomes pregnant through sexual contact with another individual; with either of the parties being involved being the victim’s parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparents/grandparents/step-children/step-grandchildren as well as brother or sister in law (stepparenting is sometimes known).
- The victim in this case was a child living in the same household with both defendant and victim; additionally, both parties engaged in or have previously engaged in an intimate or sexual relationship between themselves.
In Arizona, the following crimes may be considered domestic violence:
- Animal cruelty
- Assault or aggravated assault
- Criminal damage or trespassing
- Custodial interference
- Dangerous crimes against children or child abuse
- Disorderly conduct
- Emotional abuse
- Endangerment or kidnapping
- Harassment or aggravated harassment
- Manslaughter, murder or negligent homicide
- Stalking or sexual assault
- Surreptitiously photographing, videotaping, filming, digitally recording, or viewing
- Threatening or intimidating a witness
- Unlawful imprisonment
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Mesa
Domestic violence offenses typically carry similar legal ramifications as non-domestic violence offenses; for instance, if a particular crime usually carries a sentence range between 6-12 months in prison, similar charges committed in domestic violence context will often incur the same sentence range in jail time.
But it should be remembered that domestic violence cases typically receive harsher sentences due to their nature and impact on victims, with judges and juries often being less inclined to grant any leeway due to judge-run trials and victim testimony.
Domestic violence charges typically follow the same sentencing guidelines as the original offense; however, in certain circumstances domestic violence charges can have different legal repercussions and it may even be possible – though difficult – for a charge to be dropped under certain conditions.
When facing domestic violence charges, it is essential that you seek legal advice and guidance from an experienced attorney for accurate advice and guidance tailored specifically to your unique situation. They are equipped to offer tailored assistance tailored just for you.
Domestic violence cases that end in jail time or probation typically require defendants to complete an Offender Treatment Program for domestic violence offenders – also referred to as “DV classes”.
Under Arizona Law, when pregnant victims of felonies face enhanced penalties under criminal law due to defendant’s knowledge, their maximum prison sentences may increase by two years. A standard Class 6 felony typically carries up to three years imprisonment; in cases involving domestic violence where defendant knew victim was pregnant however, their prison time could potentially increase up to five years of incarceration.
Aggravated Domestic Violence
An individual convicted three times within seven years for misdemeanor domestic violence may be charged with the Class 5 felony aggravated domestic violence, carrying with it potential prison sentences of up to 2.5 years per offense for their first conviction.
Defending Against Mesa Domestic Violence Charges
There are a number of ways you can defend against domestic charges. After consulting your case with a lawyer, the attorney may recommend any of the following strategies:
- Asserting self defense
- Establishing reasonable doubt for or disproving the underlying crime
- Contesting that the relationship qualifies for domestic violence classification
The first example is probably the most common defense. If you can establish that the alleged victim initiated the altercation, they would be guilty of domestic violence while you were actually defending yourself. Or, at the very least, you can establish that both parties were equally guilty, which may lead to the prosecutor dropping the charges against you.
When it’s impossible to have the charges against you dropped or the case dismissed, your attorney may discuss the possibility of reaching a plea deal with the prosecutor. This is often the preferred solution when you are guilty and the prosecutor has solid evidence against you.
In a plea deal, the prosecutor may agree to lower the charges against you in exchange for a guilty pleading. For example, instead of facing a class 6 felony, the prosecutor could drop the charges to a class 1 misdemeanor, resulting in a lighter sentencing.
Can the Victim Drop Domestic Violence Charges?
Domestic violence cases fall under the jurisdiction of prosecutors alone; therefore the decision on whether or not to proceed rests solely with them. While taking into account victim wishes is considered, their primary duty lies with assessing evidence and deciding if continuing the case would serve the public and justice more efficiently, regardless of victim cooperation.
What Determines Domestic Violence in Arizona?
Police responding to domestic violence calls may take at least one person into custody if there are reasonable grounds to believe the situation warrants such action. Their goal should be objective assessment without assigning blame or prioritizing who started an argument or made the call.
Domestic violence charges in Arizona may be filed in any of the following circumstances:
It appears the victim and defendant may be married or resided together at some point; both parties share children together. Either party could become pregnant due to exposure or being hit by one party’s violence against the other; furthermore either party could be related through blood or court order to either party involved in this matter.
If the relationship has come to an end, courts will consider factors such as its nature and duration, frequency of interaction and how long ago its termination occurred.
Domestic Violence includes crimes such as sexual violence, assault, battery, disorderly conduct, murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment stalking violations of restraining orders obstructing telephone use intimidation harassment and child abuse among others.
Mesa Domestic Violence Lawyers
Have you been charged with domestic violence? Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges, it’s important to consult with a defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Mesa defense attorney can negotiate for your release from jail on a fair bond, protect your legal rights, and present a strong defense for the charges against you. We can also help with other charges, like sexual assault or sexual abuse.
Police investigators often take a hardline approach to domestic violence cases, so it’s critical you have an attorney present during any interview or interrogation. You should not accept a plea deal from the prosecutor or strike a deal with the police interrogator without first speaking to an attorney, even if they tell you the deal is off the table if you call an attorney.
Domestic Violence Defense Results
With all our clients, we work toward the best available legal outcome. In many cases, this could be a dismissed case, reduced charge or lesser penalties. Many times, this reduction in penalties or charges can make all the difference in the way a conviction affects your life.
If, for example, you’re facing a felony charge, having that charge reduced to a misdemeanor means you can avoid becoming a felon, which can make it much more difficult to get the work, school or living arrangement you need.
At JacksonWhite, our case results speak for themselves. Our talented attorneys and legal team work diligently to obtain the best potential results for our clients.
Here’s a look at some of our most recent domestic violence case results:
Client #1: one count domestic violence, one count disorderly conduct
Our results: domestic violence charge dropped, anger management class ordered instead
Client #2: one count domestic violence
Our results: case dismissed
Client #3: one count domestic violence, one count criminal damage
Our results: diversion program and domestic violence class
View more of our recent case results here.
MESA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PENALTIES REDUCED
The difference between a successful outcome and one that is not often comes down to the attorney. With the right attorney and legal team, you have a much better chance of minimizing your penalties and the impact of your charge.
At JacksonWhite, we routinely secure reduced charges and dismissed case for our clients. We strive to obtain the best results and our familiarity with the court system allows us to have a high success rate in all areas of criminal defense.
To see how we can help you, we invite you to call our office for your free case review. One of our attorneys will review your information and help you make a decision on moving forward with your case. There’s no obligation, and we look forward to offering our assistance.
Call (480) 418-4281 for your domestic violence consultation today.
Address: 40 N. Center St, Mesa, AZ 85201
Phone number: (480) 418-4281