Phoenix Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

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Phoenix Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

It is common for disagreements to emerge within a household or in any other domestic setting. However, such disputes can quickly escalate to physical or verbal confrontations. If law enforcement gets involved and one party makes allegations of abuse against the other, the situation can escalate even further.

If you are accused of domestic violence, you have legal options. A Phoenix domestic violence defense lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can help you fight these allegations. We are former prosecutors and know how the state will try to prove its case. Call today to learn more about how a dedicated criminal defense attorney can help defend against these serious charges. We are available at any time of day!

LAWS REGARDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN PHOENIX

Domestic violence is defined as any conduct that is a serious crime against a minor or an assault against someone with whom a close relationship is shared, according to Arizona Revised Statute §13-3601. This could include current or former partners, relatives, roommates, and more.

Domestic violence includes a variety of offenses ranging from physical abuse to verbal and emotional harassment, along with:

  • Sexual harassment or rape
  • Endangering, harassing, or trolling
  • Isolation
  • Material exploitation and domination
  • Psychological exploitation

It is important to note that “domestic violence” is not a crime in itself but is rather a tag that is placed on other crimes, such as assault, when the two parties have a close relationship.

PENALTIES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES

A conviction for a domestic violence charge will not only result in criminal punishments but will also go on a person’s permanent record. This can have a lasting negative impact on a person’s way of life, including their ability to vote, their ability to find housing, and more.

Domestic violence charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the details of a particular case. Generally, a first domestic violence offense will be charged as a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are classified into three categories, with Class 1 being the most severe. A Class 1 domestic violence offense could result in up to 180 days in jail, $2,500 in fines, and one to three years of probation.

All allegations of criminal activity are serious matters, but for the most part, penalties can only result after a criminal conviction or admission of guilt. However, domestic violence allegations can bring harsh consequences almost immediately after arrest. These are in addition to those that can apply after a conviction in criminal court.

A lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can further explain the Phoenix domestic violence penalties and work to prevent them from impacting your life.

THE IMPACT OF A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ARREST

An arrest will result in police taking a person into custody and require a defendant to appear in court for an arraignment. The main purpose of this arraignment is to enter the charges into the court’s record and determine bail conditions.

However, these procedures can change when the case involves domestic violence allegations. According to Arizona Revised Statute § 13-3601, courts have the authority to create restraining orders that prohibit defendants from having any contact with the supposed victim. This can force a person to move out of a home, end a romantic relationship, or even lose contact with their children.

Furthermore, police making an arrest for a domestic violence charge can seize firearms from a person’s home and hold them for at least 72 hours. Our knowledgeable attorneys can further explain the domestic violence penalties that apply after an arrest but before a conviction in Phoenix criminal court.

THE PENALTIES FOR A DOMESTIC ABUSE CONVICTION IN PHOENIX

All allegations of domestic violence involve a supposed violation of the state’s criminal code. It is not the nature of the offense that makes an allegation an example of domestic violence but rather the relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim.

A case moving forward as one of domestic violence can result when the people involved are family members or romantic partners or have a child in common. This determination can bring enhanced penalties for convictions involving violence such as assault, battery, or sexual abuse. In addition, Arizona Revised Statute § 13-3601 says that if an alleged victim is pregnant, a court may consider this fact when determining an appropriate sentence for a defendant.

Ultimately, the severity of domestic violence penalties will depend on the nature of the charges, as our local attorneys can explain. Many examples of domestic violence cases are misdemeanors that can bring up to one year in jail and a mandatory $100 fine. However, other charges are felonies that come with mandatory prison sentences. In addition, a third conviction for a misdemeanor domestic violence case in seven years will automatically make the offense a felony.

Various penalties for a domestic violence case can affect you as soon as you are arrested. A conviction for the case in criminal court can bring fines and time behind bars. Additionally, a mere arrest upon suspicion of domestic violence can have consequences, including the seizure of firearms and the creation of restraining orders.

AGGRAVATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Repeat domestic violence offenses can result in felony charges. Once convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense for the third time within seven years, the offense will be raised to aggravated domestic violence, which is a felony. If a weapon is alleged to have been used while carrying out the crime, this could also constitute an aggravating factor, as could a serious physical injury to the victim, including lacerations requiring stitches or fractured bones.

Aggravated domestic violence is classified as a Class 5 felony, punishable by up to two and a half years in prison. Because the potential consequences of a domestic violence charge in Phoenix can be so severe, it is crucial to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to get started on building your defense.

VACATING OR MODIFYING A PROTECTIVE ORDER

A person accused of domestic violence may have a protective order placed against them, which forbids them from contacting or interacting with the person they are accused to have been violent with.

A protective order can be vacated or canceled if the person who requested it goes back to that judge. Most judges will vacate it, though some of them will say it needs to remain in place for a year. It is also possible for the person who had the order made against them to request cancellation. They must argue before the judge that the accusations against them are false or that the incident does not justify an order of protection. They can get the order modified by agreement, which involves a hearing where a lawyer requests the other party agree to a modification. Sometimes the challenger might lose their dismissal request at the hearing, but the judge might find it to be appropriate and modify the order in some way.

If someone is suspected of having violated an order, the other party will usually report the violation to the police, who will investigate whether there is evidence to prove the violation. If they did, then they could be arrested for interfering with judicial proceedings or violating that court order, which is typically a misdemeanor offense.

When the alleged conduct was harassment, then they could be charged with aggravated harassment, which is a felony. The penalties range from four months to two years in prison; or up to six months if it is aggravated harassment.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INVESTIGATIONS

If you have learned that you are the subject of a domestic violence investigation, you need to act quickly to protect yourself. While your status as a suspect in a case does not guarantee an arrest, it is a strong indicator that the police already have evidence that points toward this outcome. It is essential that you protect yourself at every opportunity.

Law enforcement does not inform a person that they are a suspect in an investigation for no reason. In most cases, they already have information that appears to connect an individual to a crime. This could include physical evidence or a witness’s statement.

Police need probable cause to arrest a person for a crime. In other words, it must be more likely than not that a suspect committed an offense. In many investigations, the police’s goal is to obtain more information through interviews or confessions.

However, a case may stay in the investigation phase even if law enforcement believes that they have a just cause to make an arrest. They may be attempting to pressure a suspect into making statements against their interest or providing information about other suspects. In any situation, it is crucial to have a savvy Phoenix attorney present to explain the law and maintain control over questioning during a domestic violence investigation. For that reason, among others, you need to call us as soon as you can.

THE ROLE OF LEGAL COUNSEL IN A DV INVESTIGATION

Being the subject of a criminal investigation is always a serious matter. At the very least, police officers may request an interview that can be both stressful and time-consuming. In the most extreme case, they may hold a person in custody in an attempt to obtain further evidence. From the moment a person learns that they are under investigation for a crime, a lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group can provide effective assistance.

We know the common tactics that law enforcement may use during a domestic violence investigation and can work to protect your Constitutional rights. This includes the right to have an attorney present during all encounters with police, the ability to leave an interview at any time if there is no arrest, and the right to be secure in one’s privacy. These concepts can lead to legal challenges concerning police interviews without a lawyer present, failure to properly read Miranda rights, or the admissibility of evidence from a faulty search warrant.

EVIDENCE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES

When it comes to evidence in domestic violence cases, our lawyers in Phoenix will compile witness statements, audio, video, text messages, emails, body cam footage, police reports, and officer interviews, among anything else that could be helpful.

Evidence is collected from anybody we can get it from, including witnesses, the prosecutor, or the defendant. Evidence can be presented as part of negotiation to either get a case dismissed or reduced, and if that is not successful, then it can be used in trial to discredit accusations and prove innocence. Lawyers must make smart decisions on what they present and what they do not present to the court, which is why you should consult the former prosecutors at the Grand Canyon Law Group now.

GETTING EVIDENCE DISMISSED

There are many evidentiary rules (from both the federal and state governments) for what evidence is relevant and admissible. If there is any domestic violence evidence that was unfairly or illegally obtained, a Phoenix lawyer could make pretrial motions to get it disqualified or they can challenge the evidence in trial.

Sometimes, the admissibility of a witness’s testimony is one of the biggest hurdles for the prosecution to prove their case, because the alleged victims or witnesses in a domestic violence case do not want the defendant to get in trouble. If they do not attend, a lawyer can use the hearsay rule so the statements they previously made to law enforcement are not admissible, unless they meet a certain exception.

DEFENSE STRATEGIES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES

In order to prove a domestic abuse charge against an individual, the prosecution will need to prove two primary elements. First the prosecution must establish that the defendant committed a specific crime. Second, they must prove the defendant committed the crime against a person they have a personal connection with. There are a number of defense strategies that a domestic violence attorney in Phoenix can raise in these cases. These include:

  • Self-defense
  • Criminal mitigation
  • Third-party protection
  • Protective weapons display

Another defense that is commonly used in domestic battery cases is wrong identity or existence of an alibi. During a domestic violence conflict or false allegation, a defense attorney can demonstrate that the authorities arrested the wrong individual or oftentimes an accused will have an alibi that positions them somewhere outside the alleged crime scene, which could be sufficient to get the charges dropped entirely.

What to Do if You’re Arrested for Domestic Violence

Being arrested for domestic violence can be a challenging experience. It’s normal to feel upset, frustrated, indignant, and a host of other emotions. Many people also feel frightened. However, the period of time when you are being arrested can often be critical to your future case. If you haven’t been arrested for domestic violence yet but suspect that it could be a possibility, there are a few things to keep in mind so that you are prepared and don’t make the situation worse.

One crucial thing to remember is the importance of remaining calm. Again, it’s entirely normal to feel a wide range of emotions during an arrest, but it’s important that you don’t let them dictate your actions. It’s very easy to say or do something that increases the difficulty of the situation. You could do something that results in additional charges or say something that implicates you.

As frustrating as the situation may be, especially if you believe that you are wrongly accused, it’s important to remember that the justice system will give you the opportunity to defend yourself. Your arrest is not the time for that, though, and you’ll likely be much better off if you remain calm and wait for the appropriate time.

Avoid Incriminating Yourself

While waiting for your lawyer, not saying something that could be used against you is vital. You have a right to remain silent, and you should be reminded of that at the time of your arrest by the officer reading your Miranda Rights. It’s a wise idea to take full advantage of that right.

Officers are trained to listen for something that may be useful in prosecuting you, and they may even try to get you to admit guilt to the crime for which you’ve been arrested. Even what appears to be casual small talk can really be a means of making you let your guard down in an attempt to get you to slip up. You’ll likely be better off by not engaging and requesting your lawyer.

Be sure to contact an attorney as soon as you are given the opportunity to do so. We can help protect your right to remain silent. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin investigating your situation and preparing you for the next steps in the process.

What a Phoenix Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Does

When you hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you, it’s our job to advocate on your behalf and help guide you through the legal process. There may be a number of opportunities for you to make important decisions, such as possibly taking a plea deal. We can offer you advice on how to handle these situations based on our experience, understanding of the law, and the circumstances surrounding your case.

One of the first things we can do for you is help you understand the gravity of the charges you are facing. We can explain the charge that you’re faced with, whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor, and the potential penalties if you are convicted. We can also help you understand the next steps and where the process will go from that point.

We will need to investigate the circumstances of the charges you’re facing. This is, in part, to prepare for a defense if the case does go to trial, but it’s also to understand what the prosecution has and how they may approach the situation. Through the process of discovery, we will be able to see what the prosecution has and begin to get a sense of what their approach may be. Even if the result will be a plea deal, a thorough investigation may allow us to negotiate from a stronger position.

Plea Deals or Trial

Negotiations for a plea deal often occur during trial preparations. There are some situations where that may make sense for you rather than taking the case to trial. However, it’s important that you have someone negotiating on your behalf who has a strong understanding of what to expect and how to push a prosecutor to provide the most favorable offer that they are willing to give.

As former prosecutors, we understand what prosecutors are dealing with and how they think about these kinds of cases. This means that we can combine the right types of pressure and negotiating tactics to get the strongest deal. Like any art, negotiation skills only improve through practice, and with the experience we have on both sides of the table, we are confident in our abilities to grant our clients a solid deal.

There may be some situations in which it is impossible to get a deal that will work, or, for whatever reason, you may believe that a trial is the better option. If that’s the case, then it’s our job to represent you before the court. We can present the strongest defense possible that matches the specifics of your case. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and they will need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, we can attempt to cast reasonable doubt on your guilt.

Trials are unpredictable, so if the jury returns a guilty verdict, we can continue to advocate on your behalf through the sentencing hearing as well. We can make the case that you deserve a lighter sentence, given the situation. If appeals are an option, we can also continue to advocate for you and represent you through the appeals process.

Why You May Consider a Plea Bargain

Understandably, many people are hesitant about the idea of accepting a plea deal at first. They often want to take the opportunity to use a trial to defend themselves and clear their name. However, there is quite a bit of risk involved with seeking that route. Prosecutors with heavy caseloads aren’t likely to take a case to trial unless they are confident about their case.

A plea deal involves accepting guilt and an agreed-upon sentence, which is less than what you might receive if you were to go to trial and the outcome didn’t go your way. This kind of a deal, though, involves waiving some of your constitutional rights, namely:

  • The right to a trial decided by a jury
  • The right to confront the witnesses against you
  • The right against self-incrimination

Because you would be waiving these rights, a plea deal can only be entered voluntarily and with awareness of what you are doing.

For prosecutors, the benefit of a plea deal is often related to the workload. Those accused of a crime have the right to a speedy trial, and that’s something that could be an issue if every single case were to go to court. Plea deals allow prosecutors the discretion to make deals with some cases to help keep the courts moving smoothly.

Prosecutors need to make plea deals enticing enough for the defendants to choose them instead of going to trial. This generally means there are significant benefits to choosing a plea deal for defendants. That’s likely why, according to some estimates, as much as 95% of criminal cases end up being resolved with a plea deal instead of going to trial.

The Benefits of a Plea Deal

The benefits of taking a plea deal can differ depending on the kind of deal your lawyer is able to negotiate. That will largely be determined by the specifics of your case and how talented of a negotiator your lawyer is. There are some general categories of benefits that could be involved, depending on the charges that you’re facing.

The benefits of taking a plea deal are in comparison with what could happen in a trial. In that sense, one of the significant benefits is that it offers a sense of certainty. Taking a case to trial means being unsure of what you face for months or sometimes longer. For many people, the reduction in anxiety, being aware of the penalties sooner, and moving forward more quickly is worth not dealing with the inherent risks of taking their case to trial.

To entice people to accept a plea deal, prosecutors must offer other benefits as well. This typically means a reduction in the consequences you would face if you went to trial and lost. In some cases, this might mean a reduction in charges. It could even mean going from facing felony charges to misdemeanor charges. This can have a significant impact on the penalties, such as fines and jail time, and the associated social stigma.

A prosecutor may also offer a lighter sentence as part of a plea deal. In some cases, that could even mean avoiding jail time, depending on the charges involved. Having gone to prison also carries a social stigma that could be avoided in some plea deals.

DISCUSS YOUR DEFENSE OPTIONS WITH A PHOENIX DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ATTORNEY

When confronted with domestic violence charges, it is crucial to take swift legal action to protect yourself. As soon as you are able, get in touch with a dedicated attorney at Grand Canyon Law Group. Our Phoenix domestic violence lawyers have the experience needed to defend your case in court and will work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected. To learn more about how we can help you with your domestic violence case, schedule a free consultation at our office today.

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