Assault and Domestic Violence

Criminal Defense Attorney Representing Residents of the Phoenix Area

Domestic violence is one of many different types of violent or threatening acts between family or household members. It can include physical assault in the form of hitting, slapping, kicking, or cutting. If you are charged with assault related to domestic violence in Arizona, you should take these charges very seriously. These charges come with more serious penalties than simple assault does. Phoenix assault defense attorney James Novak is a former prosecutor who now uses his insights about the criminal justice system to provide a strong defense to the accused.

Assault and Domestic Violence

If you are accused of committing violence against a family or household member, you face potentially very serious charges for domestic violence. Family or household members include current spouses, ex-spouses, people who live together in the same dwelling, people who share a child or are in a situation in which one of the two parties is pregnant by the other, biological or court-ordered parents of the defendant or defendant's spouse, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, in-laws, step-parents, stepchildren, and step-grandchildren, as well as people in a romantic or sexual relationship.

Domestic violence can be physical, emotional, sexual, exploitative, or neglectful. Assault, however, is a violent crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. It is aggressively prosecuted and may be prosecuted even when the victim tells the court and prosecutor that they do not want to press charges. A prosecutor may continue pursuing charges even if the victim refuses to testify. Only the prosecutor has the authority to drop domestic violence charges, and the dismissal needs to be approved by the judge.

Under A.R.S. section 13-3601, a prosecutor can charge domestic violence assault. Domestic violence assault occurs when somebody with a family or household relationship to the victim intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causes a physical injury, or knowingly touches the victim with the intent to provoke, insult, or injure, or intentionally puts the victim in reasonable apprehension of imminently being injured. For example, if you knifed your spouse, this could be charged as domestic violence. Similarly, if you got into a fistfight with your father-in-law, this could be charged as domestic violence assault.

Misdemeanor assaults can be class 1 or class 2. You can face up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine for a class 1 misdemeanor. You can face up to four months in jail and a $750 fine for a class 2 misdemeanor. There are various factors that can raise a simple assault to an aggravated assault. For example, if you used a lethal or dangerous weapon against your girlfriend or spouse, you might be charged and convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. This is a class 3 felony for which you may face years in prison.

In addition to potential incarceration, you can no longer carry a firearm if you have been convicted of domestic violence assault. If it is your job to carry a firearm, such as if you are in the military or employed as a peace officer, you may lose your job as a result of such a conviction. Even if you are not required to carry a weapon, you may find it difficult to get a job if you have a domestic violence conviction on your record. Furthermore, you may face problems related to child custody if you have a domestic violence assault conviction. You may be required to have supervised visitation or face other consequences. People found guilty of misdemeanor domestic violence for a third time during a seven-year stretch can be charged with a felony (A.R.S. section 13-3601) and may be sentenced to prison. Moreover, aggravated domestic violence is a class 5 felony, for which you may face up to two and a half years for a first offense.

Although your situation may seem bleak, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to raise a strong defense. For example, sometimes the alleged victim was the person who made the first move in the altercation. It may be appropriate to raise self-defense or even defense of others to defend against the charge. In other cases, the victim may be recalcitrant, and it may be possible to persuade the prosecutor to reduce the case to a less serious charge.

Retain an Assault Defense Attorney in the Phoenix Area

Domestic violence assault is punished harshly in Arizona. If you develop a criminal record with domestic violence charges, you face some serious penalties in addition to a social stigma. It is important to retain a tough, experienced lawyer to craft a defense on your behalf. James Novak represents defendants throughout the Phoenix area, including in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and elsewhere in Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.

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