Domestic violence affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds. In Arizona, domestic violence statistics are particularly alarming.
According to a 2017 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 38.6 percent of Arizona residents have been subject to domestic abuse.
The Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.” This may refer to physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, or economic actions or threats designed to manipulate, intimate, frighten, injure, coerce, or otherwise influence another person.
Arizona has a number of laws in place designed to protect and provide justice to victims of domestic abuse.
If you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, speak with a domestic violence lawyer right away. Experienced Peoria domestic violence lawyers have the experience needed to devise the best legal strategy for your case.
Domestic Violence Laws in Peoria
In Arizona, domestic violence can be defined by a number of different offenses committed by an aggressor whose relationship with the victim falls under domestic violence laws.
Common prohibited domestic violence acts include stalking, kidnapping, sexual assault, aggravated assault, endangerment, threatening or intimidating a witness, criminal damage, and negligent manslaughter, homicide or murder.
To fall under domestic violence law in the state of Arizona, the above-mentioned acts must be committed among people who share a specific type of relationship.
Most people associate domestic violence with current or former spouses. However, it can also affect persons who reside in the same household, persons who have a child together, persons who are or were in a sexual or romantic relationship, persons related by blood or court order, or a child who resides in the same household as the defendant.
Domestic violence encompasses a number of acts that are categorized by type. The following are the five main types of domestic violence recognized in Arizona:
In some instances, a victim of domestic violence may have suffered from more than one type of abuse. Peoria domestic violence lawyers have extensive knowledge in this area and can help you present your unique case in the best light possible.
Domestic Violence Penalties in Peoria
Domestic violence offenses in Arizona are punished in the same way as the underlying act, meaning sexual assault between two people in a romantic relationship would still be punished as sexual assault. However, some unique situations may result in additional penalties for the alleged abuser.
If the victim of the domestic crime is pregnant at the time of the abuse and the defendant knew that the victim was pregnant, the maximum prison sentence authorized is increased by two years.
For example, sexual assault in Arizona is considered a class 2 felony and had a punishment of up to 14 years in prison for a first offense, 21 years in prison if the defendant has a prior conviction, and up to 28 years in prison if the defendant has two or more prior convictions. Therefore, if this is the alleged abuser’s first offense and the victim was knowingly pregnant at the time of the abuse, the defendant would face a penalty of up to 16 years in prison.
Aggravated Domestic Violence
Aggravated domestic violence is a class 5 felony in Arizona and punishable by up to 36 months in prison for a first offense.
If the defendant has two prior convictions for domestic violence acts, they must serve a minimum of four months in jail. If the defendant has three or more prior convictions relating to domestic abuse, he or she must serve a minimum of eight months in jail.
In addition to possible probation and jail time, a person that is convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense must also attend a treatment program for domestic violence offenders.
Defenses for Domestic Violence in Peoria
When charged with domestic abuse, the defendant may choose a number of defenses designed to refute or lessen their involvement in the crime.
Some of the most common defenses used in domestic violence cases include complete denial of participating in the act, stating that the act was an accident or performed in self-defense, or arguing that the prosecutor failed to prove that the crime actually occurred.
If there is sufficient evidence, the defendant may admit to guilt but may try to prove that law enforcement made errors during the investigation and therefore cannot bring charges against him or her.
At JacksonWhite Law, we offer a full range of legal services to individuals and families suffering from the consequences of domestic abuse claims. If you have been accused of domestic abuse in Peoria, you need strong legal representation.
Call the Peoria JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.