Mesa Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

Home /  Mesa Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

Mesa Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Domestic violence charges are some of the most common criminal cases we see at Grand Canyon Law Group in Arizona. Some charges result from truly perilous circumstances where police intervention is necessary to address or prevent victims from suffering serious harm.

However, in our experience, the vast majority of people face domestic violence charges after simple disputes and arguments have escalated and the police take it out of the hands of the people involved.

Sadly, sometimes when people are angry, they lie or exaggerate in an effort to use the criminal justice system to punish someone else or to gain an advantage in an ongoing family law matter, such as a divorce or custody case.

You have options. These charges are some of the most dismissed charges we see. But the process is not easy, and it must be handled correctly.

If you are facing domestic abuse charges, you should reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney who has spent time both prosecuting and defending criminal charges. Call a Mesa domestic violence lawyer today to schedule a consultation to learn about your options.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Domestic violence is misunderstood and confusing. In truth, it is badly named. It is not about violence, necessarily. And it is generally not a crime in itself. It is what we call a “tag” or enhancement that is placed on other crimes. So a person can be charged with disorderly conduct, assault, criminal damage, or something else, and these crimes will be charged as domestic violence charges if the victim is related or connected to the defendant in a certain way (see below).

It is not about how “violent” the crime is, it is purely about the relationship between the “named victim” and the accused.

Domestic violence in Mesa can be charged even if an alleged abuser has not physically harmed an alleged victim. They could face serious charges for threatening future physical or emotional harm. Local attorneys could vigorously defend someone against domestic battery charges and work to avoid or reduce the penalties and the stigma of a domestic violence conviction.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC OR INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE?

Essentially, a crime can only be considered a domestic violence offense if the relationship between the accused and the named victim is domestic. Arizona law outlines a long list of qualifying relationships, which includes two people who:

  • Are in a romantic relationship
  • Had a child together
  • Live together
  • Have blood relatives

Most people think of spouses when they hear “domestic relationship,” but this definition also includes roommates and separated co-parents. A knowledgeable attorney at our firm can further explain who could be involved in a domestic violence charge.

TYPES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES

Although domestic violence describes a wide variety of criminal offenses within a domestic relationship, these charges can be grouped into two degrees of severity: misdemeanor and felony. The majority of domestic violence offenses are misdemeanors. However, if the underlying offense is a felony, such as aggravated assault, the domestic violence charge would also be prosecuted as a felony.

Typically, these types of charges are either for assault, disorderly conduct, or criminal damage. Disorderly conduct could involve disturbing the peace through loud and disruptive behavior, such as yelling at a spouse or roommate. Criminal damage in a domestic violence context may involve a person breaking or destroying the property of someone who has a close relationship with them.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PENALTIES IN MESA

In Arizona, domestic violence charges are generally treated as a “three strikes” type of crime. Even a very minor incident could be charged as a felony for a person with two prior domestic violence charges. In this way, an offense that would normally be charged as a misdemeanor could come with a potential prison sentence and other severe penalties.

Additionally, domestic violence charges could result in a person losing various rights, such as the right to possess a firearm. There are also many consequences of having a criminal record, including denied employment opportunities, decreased housing options, and heightened social stigma. If you face these charges, it is recommended that you contact the proactive lawyers at Grand Canyon Law to protect your rights, freedoms, and reputation.

WHO CAN BE A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM?

A person in Mesa can face domestic charges for alleged physical or emotional abuse of anyone with whom they have a domestic relationship. They can face charges for violence against any of the following victims:

  • A current or former spouse
  • A current or former romantic partner
  • A child or grandchild
  • A child of a current or former romantic partner
  • A woman who is pregnant with an accused person’s child
  • A roommate
  • A parent, grandparent, brother, sister, or any other relative by blood
  • A mother-in-law, father-in-law, or any other relative by marriage

OTHER FACTORS IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGE

When a lawyer assesses a domestic violence case, they will often consider the aggravating and mitigating aspects of the facts. Aggravating factors are things that could increase the penalties an accused person faces, while mitigating factors can help reduce their potential sentencing or avoid a conviction altogether.

There are many factors in Mesa domestic violence cases that someone without a legal background might not consider. If you are facing these types of charges, it is essential to work an experienced attorney on your defense. At the Grand Canyon Law Group, our attorneys are former prosecutors, well-equipped to combat the allegations against you and support you throughout the legal process – but you must call as soon as possible.

AGGRAVATING FACTORS

Aggravating factors will determine whether a charge is misdemeanor or felony and what degree of penalties you will face. Factors that can escalate domestic violence charges include:

  • A broken bone
  • A cut that requires stitches
  • Serious physical injury
  • Use of a weapon or dangerous instrument
  • Two prior domestic violence incidents or convictions

It is crucial for anyone accused of domestic violence to discuss potential aggravating factors with a skilled local attorney. A strong legal defense may be necessary to avoid increased sentencing and potential jail time.

MITIGATING FACTORS

One important task for a domestic violence defense attorney in Mesa is to identify the mitigating factors of the situation, or factors that lessen the seriousness of the penalties. Our lawyers are experienced in assessing all aspects of domestic violence case and determining factors that may mitigate the charges and their potential penalties.

For instance, if the defendant has been doing counseling or taking other steps to show that they are working on the issue while the case is pending, that could positively impact their verdict or pretrial negotiations. Additional mitigating factors that a lawyer could highlight include:

  • Past service to the community
  • Young age
  • No prior criminal history
  • Victim’s position on punishment

At Grand Canyon Law Group, our skilled legal team is always looking for mitigating aspects and weaknesses in the prosecution’s domestic violence case. Based on these various factors, we can advise an accused Mesa resident on pursuing low-risk negotiation outcomes or dismissal, if the case goes to trial. Additionally, our lawyers are well-practiced at arguing for reduced sentencing based on the mitigating information in a particular case.

WHAT ARE THE ENHANCED PENALTIES INVOLVED IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES?

A domestic violence conviction can have lifelong and devastating effects. If convicted, people:

  • Will be prohibited from owning a gun (unless and until the conviction is “set aside” and rights restored.
  • Face loss of employment
  • Lose professional licensing
  • May face extensive jail time
  • Likely a lengthy and restrictive probation period
  • Will be required to enroll in domestic violence classes
  • Have negative effects on visitation and custody rights over their children

Arizona law classifies domestic violence charges as enhancements of actual criminal acts. That means that charges can enhance or escalate the charges of the underlying crime. In cases with domestic abuse allegations, people often face the consequences of their alleged violence immediately, even before a trial or conviction. In Mesa, AZ, upon being charged with domestic violence, people often receive emergency orders of protection or restraining orders, which may prevent them from being near their family. Also, Arizona police will often immediately seize and impound any weapons from people charged with domestic battery.

FELONY OR MISDEMEANOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Since “domestic violence” is a tag or enhancement placed on other offenses, it can either be misdemeanor or felony. It is a type of “3 strike” law. Even if an offense would be a misdemeanor under the facts, it can be charged as a felony if a person has two prior convictions. This exposes the accused to prison, as well as all the other negative effects of a “DV” conviction.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ASSAULT AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN MESA

Domestic violence and assault are commonly confused in criminal cases. People often think that these two crimes are completely separate, but this is not the case. Rather, domestic violence is a designation, or tag, placed on any crime where the named victim has a domestic relationship with the accused person.

If you have been accused of domestic assault, it is critical to understand the nature of the allegations you are facing.

WHAT BEHAVIORS CONSTITUTE ASSAULT?

There are a few different ways to be charged with assault. Number one is to touch somebody in any way that is intended to insult, injure or provoke that person. This does not have to be a strike or punch, only an action that puts somebody in reasonable apprehension of physical harm. Even pretending to punch somebody could result in assault charges. Pointing a gun at somebody, even if no shots are fired, would be felony-level aggravated assault.

Different levels of physical injury result in different levels of assault charges. Minor assault charges can be low-level misdemeanors, while more serious charges can be felonies with mandatory prison time.

THE NATURE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES

Because domestic violence can be tagged on to any crime, this offense is not inherently different from assault. Assault can be a domestic violence offense if the complainant is a person’s wife, or roommate, partner, ex-partner, or other close relationship.

Domestic violence can also apply to criminal damage. If someone breaks something that belongs to somebody else and the two parties have a domestic relationship, that qualifies as a domestic violence offense.

The classification of an offense as a domestic violence case could result in increased penalties. It is essential to work with a Mesa attorney who understands the relationship between assault and domestic violence to ensure that a case is properly handled.

HOW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES ARE HANDLED IN COURT

The nature of an assault charge can make a significant difference in the way the case is handled. When an assault case involves domestic violence, it is often taken more seriously by the prosecution. Complainants often think that if they tell the police they do not want to press charges or inflict a penalty, the case will simply be dismissed, but this is not how assault cases work.

In Mesa, it is the state that presses charges, not the named victim in the case. This can complicate a case because the complainant may want to benefit or punish the accused, depending on the nature of the situation. The complainant will often have their own attorney advising them as well, which could influence the outcome of a case. An experienced defense attorney can make sure that the defendant is not unfairly prosecuted or taken advantage of by the state.

Assault charges that involve domestic assault can be stressful. You could be looking at years in jail, as well as significant fines and damage to your personal life. Even when charges are the result of a mistake or misunderstanding, your livelihood and reputation could be on the line.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTION?

Sentencing for a domestic violence conviction depends on whether it is a misdemeanor or felony offense. For a misdemeanor, penalties could include up to six months in jail and a fine of $2,500. Sentencing for felony offenses is based on six levels of severity. Prison terms can range from four months to twenty-five years, or even more for severe cases.

There are also many potential penalties of domestic violence charges outside of a prison sentence. A Mesa resident convicted of any domestic violence charges could face court-mandated counseling classes, probation, drug and/or alcohol testing, or prohibition from possessing a firearm.

In plea deal negotiations, a defendant may not understand all of these potential penalties, as the prosecutor has no obligation to inform them of the prohibitions or loss of freedoms that could result from pleading guilty. Because of this, it is critical for a Mesa resident facing domestic violence allegations to get firm legal support from a skilled attorney who can inform them of their rights and help avoid these significant consequences.

CONSEQUENCES OF AN ARREST FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN MESA

Even if the accusations are eventually dropped, a domestic violence arrest can still have significant and devastating consequences. For example, release conditions for a person charged for domestic violence often prevent them from going home if they live with the named victim. This can disrupt a person’s daily life as they await trial and damage the relationships within their family.

In many cases, our experienced local attorneys can help a person arrested on domestic violence charges by filing a motion to modify release conditions. This can allow them to return to their family if the named victim wants them to be home.

IMPACT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES ON CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION

One of the most devastating outcomes of a Mesa domestic violence case is when a parent is prohibited from seeing their kids for a long period of time. Even if the child is not one of the named victims in a domestic violence accusation, release conditions or orders of protection can prevent their parent from seeing them.

In our vast experience representing domestic violence cases, our attorneys often help Mesa residents maintain contact with their children while their case is pending. If convicted, a parent can also work with our legal team to craft an outcome that allows a continued relationship with their family.

WHAT TO DO AFTER A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACCUSATION

The first step that an accused Mesa resident should take is to contact an attorney. After an allegation for domestic violence, whether the case has been charged or not, the police may question the accused person or ask for a statement. Although people often want to explain their side of the story, this can be a big mistake. Anything that a person says can and will be used against them in court. Without legal representation, accused individuals may accidentally incriminate themselves or have their words misconstrued by the officer.

A dedicated lawyer at our firm can facilitate communications with the police and tell the accused person’s side of the story on their behalf, without the risk of having those words twisted or taken out of context to use against them. The attorneys at the Grand Canyon Law Group are skilled in protecting the rights of those accused of domestic violence and defending them from probing investigations by the Mesa police. They are former prosecutors who know what the police are trying to do to get the accused charged and convicted, and they know how to prevent or minimize that effort by the police.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVESTIGATION?

After being accused of domestic violence, many people have the impulse to post on social media or text the alleged victim. However, those accused are strongly advised against posting or communicating with their accuser. A skilled attorney can offer further advice on protecting oneself during an ongoing domestic violence investigation in Mesa, as much depends upon the facts and circumstances of an individual case.

DEFENDING AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS IN MESA

The first part is fighting the legal side of the case—whether the prosecutor has everything they need for a conviction. We point out the weaknesses in the case that call into doubt whether our client committed an offense, or whether the State will be able to prove those allegations at trial. We will gather any available evidence to argue against the domestic violence charges.

The second piece of a strong defense is to talk about the character of the defendant. Our experienced attorneys will put together a case that talks about the individual and their positive qualities related to their family, employment, and other contributions to the community. This helps establish the defendant’s character.

Additionally, our legal team will sometimes employ our own lie detector test with a polygrapher that we have chosen. A polygraph report can be powerful in establishing a person’s innocence and defending against these charges. However, we strongly advise against agreeing to a police polygraph.

These are some of the powerful tools and strategies that we use in the negotiation phase of the case to try to avoid or reduce a conviction. However, if the case makes sense to take to trial, we are trial attorneys. We have taken countless domestic violence cases to trial. Each case is different, but it is probably our most dismissed type of case at trial.

Regardless of the circumstances of a particular domestic violence case, the attorneys at Grand Canyon Law are savvy in building a suitable defense for the situation at hand.

If you have been accused of any domestic violence crime, it is your right to seek strong legal representation and defend against these allegations. There are various defenses for domestic violence charges in Mesa, but it is critical to work with a well-practiced attorney to successfully utilize any legal strategy.

CONTACT A DOMESTIC ABUSE ATTORNEY IN MESA TODAY

An experienced domestic abuse attorney will know exactly how to defend these charges for the best outcome. It often results in dismissal after a “diversion program” or at trial, although going all the way to trial can be riskier and more stressful. It is vital that you know your options and the effect of any decision you make.

Domestic violence accusations can seriously impact your way of life. Even if the charges are dropped, a pending trial can cause significant stress and damage your reputation and social relationships. As such, it is crucial that you seek immediate legal advocacy from a skilled attorney at our firm.

A conviction can permanently alter a person’s life. It can affect personal and professional reputation, employment, housing, freedom, right to bear arms, and their right to raise their own children. If you are facing abuse charges, it is essential to meet with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to fight these charges vigorously. Call a Mesa domestic violence lawyer today to see how they can help.

Schedule A Consultation With The Grand Canyon Attorney Who Can Help