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Domestic Violence (FAQ)

  • Published: April 9, 2012

In Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-3601 “Domestic Violence Assault,” occurs when an Assault incident involves two (2) people who live together, were romantically involved, or who are somehow related.

The designation of “Domestic Violence Assault” is far more serious and carries additional ramifications.  For example, if a Domestic Violence conviction is on your record then you can no longer carry a firearm.  This could cost a police officer, security guard, or military person their job.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding Domestic Violence Assault charges in Arizona.

How do criminal charges get filed?

When the police arrive to a 911 call for domestic violence, they have the option to issue a charge immediately or send the case to a detective to investigate later on.

The detective investigating the case has the option to send the case to the appropriate prosecuting agency for additional review for criminal charges.

Misdemeanors: Misdemeanors are sent to the City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office.

Felonies:  Felonies are sent to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

After the detective sends the case to the appropriate agency, a prosecutor will review the case and decide whether the charge should be filed.

If you or a loved one has been charged in Arizona, you need an aggressive Domestic Violence Attorney to fight your case.

What happens if there are no charges filed?

The alleged will receive a letter from the respected agency that the charges were not filed.  At that time, the parties involved have the right to speak with the prosecutor on why charges were not filed.

Can the alleged victim drop the charges?

No.  The State assesses the charges, not you.  This is because “Domestic Violence Assault” is a crime.  The State also decided later if the case is dismissed or not.

However, the defendant can most likely discuss the case with the Prosecutor to share their position.

What happens to the defendant after the being booked into jail for Domestic Violence Assault?

After being arrested and booked into jail, the defendant will appear in a special court within the jail to be arraigned by a judge (within 24 hours).

What happens to the defendant after the being arraigned on the charges?

It’s up to the judge whether or not to release the defendant.  The judge will make their decision after hearing from the prosecutor, defense, and possibly the victim.

If the judge allows the defendant to remain out of custody, they will set specific conditions.  For example, they will require a bond to be posted, restrict contact with the victim/others, require the defendant to forfeit their weapons, or other conditions set by the judge.

Can I own a firearm after being convicted of domestic violence?

No. If you were convicted of a Domestic Violence charge, you can not possess a firearm or ammunition.  It is a federal felony offense if you possess a firearm with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction involving physical force or the threat of physical force.

What are some possible defenses against a Domestic Violence Assault charge?

Self-defense is the most common defense against a Domestic Violence accusation.  Many times, alcohol is involved during an altercation and the alleged victim is actually makes the first movement towards the defendant.

For example, the alleged victim goes to push or pull the defendant and loses their balance resulting in an injury.  The defendant, unfortunately, is now the prime suspect by default because they were uninjured in the altercation.

About David Michael Cantor of DM Cantor

David Michael Cantor is a qualified Arizona Domestic Violence Attorney and a Board Certified Domestic Violence Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, DM Cantor is AV® rated (the highest attorney rating possible by Martindale Hubbell®) and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®.