Gilbert Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

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Gilbert Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Disagreements happen in every relationship. Sometimes these disagreements escalate, and police become involved. Unfortunately, police agencies are not equipped to distinguish between situations that are of real concern and should result in criminal charges, and which just required their presence to de-escalate. As a result, “domestic violence” charges are extremely common in Arizona, and the Gilbert domestic violence lawyers at Grand Canyon Law Group handle many of them.

Ryan McPhie and David Lish are former prosecutors who know the best strategies to avoid or minimize domestic violence charges. In fact, Gilbert domestic violence charges (DV) are some of the most dismissed charges in our practice, but must be handled correctly. The wrong approach can lead to a long-term devastating “DV” conviction, when it often can be avoided or negated. Call today to learn more through a free consultation with a dedicated lawyer. We strongly recommend against going it alone and having that first conversation with the prosecutor that can destroy your defense and ability to improve the result.

EFFECTS OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTION

Many people do not realize the devastating impact of pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge until it is too late. Since there is often no right to a court-appointed attorney that applies in these cases when charged as a misdemeanor, no one ever tells them all the terrible effects of a domestic violence conviction. It can sound pretty temping if the prosecutor says they can just plead guilty and eat the fine and take the classes. But this is a bad decision.

While it is true that people risk jail, probation, and hefty fines, the more serious effects are on their criminal record. “Domestic violence” is a tag that follows people. It can lead to loss of employment, ineligibility for employment and licensing, disqualification for housing, and will make it illegal for them to possess a firearm and brand them a “prohibited possessor”. Some people only find this out years later when their background check leads to being told they cannot purchase a gun from a Federal Firearms Dealer. Even worse, some people only realize it when arrested for a felony offense of “misconduct involving weapons” because they are caught possessing a gun as a prohibited possessor. This is a terrifying situation that often leads to prison time. Speak to one of the Gilbert domestic assault attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group before you make any decisions in your case. Your future may depend on it.

WHEN CAN SOMEONE BE CHARGED WITH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

There is no actual crime called “domestic violence” in Arizona law. Instead, DV is a tag that is placed on another crime. And it really has little or nothing to do with “violence” at all, despite the name. It is purely about who the named victim is in the case and their relationship to the accused person. So if someone is accused of a crime, it will be tagged as domestic violence if the accused and the named victim are:

  • Spouses / Partners
  • Parents
  • Have children in common
  • Current of previous romantic relationship
  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Roommates
  • Grandparents

So any “victim crime” can be charged as domestic violence if the police believe that the relationship qualifies. The most common ones, by far, are:

  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Criminal damage
  • Assault

But we also see many others:

IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISING YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT AND RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY

Many a defendant has turned a weak case into a slam dunk case conviction by failing to shut their mouth when police arrive. Often we feel that all will be well if we explain to police that we were in a simple argument with our significant other, but the trouble has now passed. And we want to be cooperative. Unfortunately, this can often provide police with the basis for an arrest and the prosecutor with the evidence at trial to convict. If police are called to a domestic dispute, even if you are innocent, maybe especially if you are innocent, even if the other party has made accusations that may lead to an arrest, you are far better off to say something to the effect of “I exercise my right to remain silent and my right to an attorney.” Then stay quiet and call Grand Canyon Law Group and let the experienced domestic battery attorneys handle the case in way that minimizes the prosecutor’s ability to convict you. The weaker the case against you, the stronger the starting negotiation position for your defense.

THE CONNECTION AND IMPACT OF A PROTECTIVE ORDER

Often domestic violence charges come along with the filing of a protective order, either an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment against the accused defendant. Rather than a criminal charge filed by the State, this is a civil action requested by a named victim. Even when the criminal case is pending and the defendant is presumed innocent under the criminal justice system, the filing of an order of protection can negatively affect a person’s record and can impose restrictions on the defendant.

The Gilbert domestic violence attorneys at the Grand Canyon Law Group can help fight this order against our clients, or can help victims file them and fight to hold them when challenged. These hearings look like a miniature trial but have their own rules and can be hard-fought. If only one party hires an attorney, that party has a high chance of victory.

CHALLENGES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE “RELEASE CONDITIONS”

In almost all domestic violence cases, the court will restrict the accused from contacting the “named victim” in the case in the criminal case, completely separate from a protective order as described above. This is commonly causes extremely difficult and unrealistic restrictions. For instance, a husband is often forbidden from returning home, even though the wife wants him to. Your Gilbert domestic violence attorney can file the appropriate motions to fix this situation, but it takes time and is incredibly difficult for the accused and the named victims in the meantime. This must be done quickly to minimize the damage to the family.

NAVIGATING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Whether authorities charge alleged offenders on misdemeanor or felony charges depends on the nature of the underlying offense (for example, stalking versus rape) and the defendant’s criminal record. The more violent the encounter, the greater the likelihood of serving time in jail or state prison and the higher the fine imposed. Repeat offenders risk charges of aggravated domestic violence, a Class 5 felony, which carries a minimum incarceration sentence of eight months.

Once found guilty, all offenders must pay for and complete a treatment program at a court-approved facility.

Those wrongly accused or who acted in self-defense still need to present their side in court. A trained domestic assault lawyer will work diligently to persuade the prosecutor, judge, or jury that an acquittal or a minimum sentence is appropriate.

WHEN IS THE POLICE REQUIRED TO MAKE A DOMESTIC ABUSE ARREST?

Whether law enforcement makes an arrest will depend on the agency, as each has its own policies. Generally, they will arrest if they think a domestic violence incident has occurred or if they think there is any risk of someone being injured or harmed. All they need is probable cause to arrest a person.

PROBABLE CAUSE

There is no strict definition of probable cause. This term simply means that there is enough evidence for a reasonable person to believe domestic violence occurred. This is a low standard compared to “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is what the prosecution must prove to get a conviction at trial. As our Gilbert attorneys can attest, it takes much less evidence to arrest somebody than to convict them of domestic violence.

THE PROCESS AFTER A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARREST IN GILBERT

After a domestic violence allegation, the accused person will likely be arrested and booked in a city jail. They could even be booked under felony charges if there were serious accusations of harm like choking or strangulation or if they had prior domestic violence offenses.

The arrested person will then go through the process of appearing before a judge and getting release conditions, which will likely include no contact with the named victim. It is crucial for a person arrested on domestic violence charges to work with a skilled local attorney throughout the pre-trial process. From the moment a person is arrested, the lawyers at our Gilbert office can work to prepare for a domestic violence trial while negotiating a favorable plea agreement or case dismissal.

WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN FACING ARREST

Anything a defendant says can and will be used against them in court. An arrested person should not make statements to the police or try to justify their actions, nor should they get confrontational or fight against the police. It is best to remain silent and contact a seasoned attorney who can help tell their story the right way.

Having legal counsel as early as possible in a domestic violence case can have a significant impact on the outcome. A lot of evidence in these cases involves people’s own statements, and a skilled attorney can help ensure that your story is not twisted or taken out of context.

CIVIL CASES INVOLVING DOMESTIC ABUSE

Civil cases for domestic abuse allegations typically involve orders of protection or other injunctions against harassment. The named victim may ask the court to create an order preventing the alleged domestic abuser from contacting or going near them for one year. This is a civil action brought by the named victim rather than a criminal charge brought by the state.

However, civil cases often become intertwined with criminal domestic violence cases. Both can occur simultaneously, and an order of protection creates a mechanism for a person to be accused of a crime if they violate the order. An experienced attorney at our Gilbert office can both challenge civil orders of protection and represent defendants in criminal domestic violence cases.

CAN A CIVIL ORDER OF PROTECTION CASE BE DROPPED?

An accuser may also decide to drop an order or protection charge or allow it to expire at the end of the year. However, it is crucial to note that a district attorney can still pursue domestic violence charges and require the accuser to participate in the criminal case.

CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES IN GILBERT

Unlike an order of protection, an alleged victim does not ask for a criminal domestic violence charge, although they have a right to be heard in the case. Rather than an accuser requesting court action against another person, a criminal domestic violence case is the state charging that person.

During that process, the named victim in the case has the right to make their wishes known. In many cases, the named victim may not even want the defendant to be arrested. However, the prosecutor can still pursue the case. It is completely up to the prosecutor whether they bring charges or dismiss a case. In criminal domestic violence cases, it is crucial for a defendant to seek legal counsel from a dedicated attorney in the area.

LIMITING CONTACT DURING CIVIL AND CRIMINAL DV PROCEEDINGS

There are many reasons why an accused person should limit contact with their accuser during civil and criminal domestic violence cases. For one, anything they say can be used as evidence. People may be putting themselves at risk by living with their accusers while the case is pending, especially if it is a volatile situation.

If a person’s release order prohibits them from contacting their accuser, they risk going back into custody or facing new criminal charges. As such, it is best to avoid contacting one’s accuser in a civil or criminal domestic violence case and instead contact a Gilbert lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group.

There are several differences between civil and criminal cases involving domestic violence allegations. You may face both at the same time, and each type of charge or court order can significantly affect your life. To preserve your future and protect your relationships, you need a skilled lawyer to guide you through the legal proceedings.

Regardless of what specific charges or court orders you face, a domestic violence allegation can affect every aspect of your life. You may be unable to return home or speak with your family members pending the outcome of your case.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVESTIGATIONS IN GILBERT

Domestic violence investigations often happen on the spot, and arrests can be made based on statements alone. Police may move forward with charges soon after. The process can be overwhelming for those involved, making it crucial to seek legal representation from a skilled attorney as soon as you believe you are under investigation.

At Grand Canyon Law Group, our lawyers can offer critical support and guidance throughout domestic violence investigations in Gilbert. We believe you have a way of life worth saving, and we are here to protect your rights.

STARTING A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVESTIGATION

Most domestic violence investigations begin with a police call, either by the named victim or someone else who overhears an incident. This often occurs at the time of the scene, although sometimes, an accuser may go to the police after the fact.

One common police tactic that our attorneys often see at the beginning of domestic violence investigations in Gilbert is a confrontation call. This involves the named victim in the case calling the defendant to try and get them to apologize or acknowledge something that allegedly happened. Anyone under investigation for domestic violence should assume that phone calls from their accusers will be recorded by the police.

HOW LONG DO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVESTIGATIONS LAST?

For misdemeanor domestic violence cases, investigations usually last three to five months. For felonies, they can be anywhere from two months to a year or more. It is best to involve an experienced Gilbert attorney as early as possible in the domestic violence investigation process.

DIFFERENCES IN DOMESTIC ABUSE INVESTIGATIONS

Several things differentiate domestic violence investigations from other types of criminal investigations. For one, domestic violence charges are sometimes brought against the wishes of the named victim. Additionally, it is often a judgment call by the police on who they believe is the aggressor. There is not always physical evidence in these cases, and police often rely on statements alone.

As our attorneys can explain, domestic violence investigations can also lead to the loss of rights long before a trial ever occurs. An accused person could be prohibited from returning home or contacting their family from the moment they are arrested. It can take weeks or months of working with a Gilbert lawyer to challenge the restrictions on a person’s freedoms after a no-contact order in a domestic violence investigation.

YOUR RIGHTS AS A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SUSPECT

A person under investigation for domestic violence has rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present before answering any questions. However, defendants often want to justify their actions or explain the situation. An accused person should exercise their rights to remain silent and speak to a lawyer, as any statements can be taken out of context and used against them.

CALL A GILBERT LAWYER DURING THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVESTIGATION PROCESS

Everything you say to the police is evidence. Only the statements that make you sound guilty will be admissible in court. During a domestic violence investigation in Gilbert, the skilled attorneys at our firm can protect your rights and ensure your story is told the right way.

Call Grand Canyon Law Group as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Our former prosecutors know how to fight for you and defend your way of life throughout the legal process.

PRETRIAL PROCESS IN GILBERT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES

For most domestic violence charges, the court often creates an order preventing the accused person from contacting the alleged victim. This could prevent the defendant from returning to their home if they live together.

A seasoned attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group can work to minimize the impact of a domestic violence allegation on your life pending trial. Our lawyers can further explain the pretrial process in Gilbert domestic violence cases and discuss your legal options.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST NO-CONTACT ORDERS IN A DV CASE

One important factor in the pretrial process for a domestic abuse case is the named victim’s position on whether they want contact with the defendant. If they want the defendant back home, a Gilbert attorney can help relay this information to the judge.

Our lawyers can also argue against a no-contact order based on a lack of criminal or violent history. Legal counsel could bring up the low severity of the accusation or demonstrate the impact that staying in police custody could have on a person’s employment.

CONDITIONS OF RELEASE IN DOMESTIC ABUSE CASES

Judges typically impose do not return and do not contact orders in domestic violence cases. This prevents a defendant from returning to the scene of the alleged crime or contacting the named victim. The defendant may also be required to undergo random alcohol testing or regularly contact a pretrial officer.

No-contact orders can pose a significant burden on a person’s daily life and even prevent them from returning home. Our Gilbert lawyers often try to get these terms of release changed in domestic violence cases, allowing the defendant to return home on the condition that they cannot harm, threaten, or harass the named victim.

FAILING TO ABIDE BY A NO-CONTACT PRETRIAL ORDER

If a person is accused of violating a no-contact order while awaiting a domestic violence trial, they could get charged with a new crime (interference with judicial proceedings). They may also be taken back into custody. Violations of no-contact orders can also make the negotiation process more difficult for an attorney in the pretrial stages of a Gilbert domestic violence case. If the prosecutor believes the defendant is unwilling to abide by court orders, they are less likely to offer a good plea deal.

No-contact orders also cover indirect contact, making it dangerous for a defendant’s family or friends to contact their accuser. There is always some risk that a judge will believe they were trying to influence the accuser in some way. Sometimes, a named victim can contact a defendant’s attorney before a domestic violence trial and waive their rights, but legal counsel is restricted from reaching out to them. It is best to consult a skilled Gilbert lawyer at our firm and have legal counsel throughout the domestic violence pretrial process to avoid doing anything that may hurt one’s case.

DISCUSS THE PRETRIAL PROCESS WITH A GILBERT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY

If you were charged with domestic violence, it is best to contact a dedicated attorney as soon as possible. The former prosecutors at Grand Canyon Law Group know how to protect your rights and fight for your best interests at every stage of the legal proceedings. We have significant experience defending people throughout the pretrial process in Gilbert domestic violence cases.

FACTORS IN PROSECUTING A CASE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The prosecutor needs several factors to bring a case for domestic violence—most importantly, an underlying crime. This can be any offense, such as assault, but it can also be non-violent crimes, like disorderly conduct or criminal damage.

Domestic violence describes any crime where the named victim has a domestic relationship with the defendant. This could be a spouse, ex-spouse, co-parent, family member, or roommate. For a prosecutor to bring a case for domestic violence, they must prove the alleged crime and the domestic relationship between the named victim and the defendant.

Both factors must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction at trial. Our seasoned attorneys in Gilbert can challenge the prosecution’s domestic violence case and protect a defendant’s rights throughout the legal process.

PUTTING A NAMED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM ON THE STAND

For the prosecution, the benefit of putting an alleged domestic violence victim on the stand is that they can then use any of their past statements. If the named victim or witness does not show up to trial, anything that person had told the police previously is not admissible because it is hearsay. Even if a named victim gets on the stand to say they were incorrect or lied, the prosecutor can still use their past statements. All they have to do is be present.

The challenge of putting a named victim on the stand is that the prosecution cannot control what that person will say. They may try to help the defendant or change their story, which can undermine their credibility. These situations can be equally as unpredictable for the prosecution as the defense in a domestic violence case.

EVIDENCE-BASED PROSECUTION

If the named victim in the case does not show up, the prosecutor might dismiss the case. However, they may also proceed with evidence-based prosecution. This involves other forms of evidence, such as the responding officer’s observations at the alleged domestic violence incident. Our Gilbert lawyers can advise a defendant on what to do if their case proceeds with evidence-based prosecution.

DEFEND AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROSECUTORS WITH A GILBERT ATTORNEY

A seasoned attorney at our firm can take several approaches when defending a person against domestic violence prosecution in Gilbert. For instance, we may try to get the case fully dismissed if the evidence is weak. We may also pursue an outcome that avoids a conviction, such as entry into a diversion program. Seeking a plea deal is another common alternative to trial that can prevent the severe consequences of a conviction.

Every prosecutor does things differently, making it important to work with a lawyer who understands the local legal system. At Grand Canyon Law Group, our attorneys have years of experience successfully defending those accused of domestic violence.

GET IN TOUCH WITH A GILBERT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY FOR HELP

As this process moves forward, it may feel like the case is beyond your control, but you can decide who represents you to fight these charges. No matter the severity or facts of your case, our experienced attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group can work to get the best result possible so you can move forward with your life.

A Gilbert domestic violence lawyer is the best choice because we appreciate the gravity of the allegations and know how to mount an effective defense in this court with this prosecutor. Let us start working on your behalf by calling to schedule a consultation today.

Schedule A Consultation With The Grand Canyon Attorney Who Can Help