Probation in Domestic Violence Cases

Phoenix Lawyer Representing Criminal Defendants

Domestic violence charges are taken seriously by prosecutors. Convictions for domestic violence not only carry criminal penalties but also bear significant consequences in family law matters, gun rights, housing, and employment. If you’ve been convicted of domestic violence, you may be placed on probation. Probation in domestic violence cases can be a very sensitive matter. To protect your legal rights, contact Phoenix domestic violence attorney James E. Novak for a consultation if you are facing criminal charges or probation violations.

Probation in Domestic Violence Cases

In Arizona, domestic violence covers a range of crimes in which the defendant and victim share a family, household or romantic relationship. The defendant and victim may be spouses, ex-spouses, blood relatives, or relatives by marriage. The victim or defendant may be pregnant with the other’s baby or share a child in common. Domestic violence also includes crimes committed against a child who lives or has lived in the same household as the defendant or is a blood relative of the defendant’s former spouse or household member. You can also be charged with domestic violence if your relationship to the victim is romantic or sexual or you were previously involved in that way.

As with other crimes, prosecutors must prove the elements of domestic violence charges beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. Domestic violence may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. You should not assume a conviction is assured. A defense lawyer may be able to demonstrate self-defense, alibi, defense of others, false accusations, police misconduct or that the wrong perpetrator was identified.

Plea Negotiations and Convictions

In some cases, it is possible to raise defenses in negotiations with the prosecutor in order to strike a plea deal. The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure allows the defense to negotiate with the prosecutor to resolve the case short of trial. A plea bargain needs to be constitutional, fair, and comply with legal standards. It must be knowing and voluntary. Any agreement needs to be submitted to the court. The court will need to approve or reject it. Where the charges are less serious, it may be possible to negotiate with the prosecutor so that you receive probation as an alternative to incarceration. For instance, you may need to plead guilty to a domestic violence and serve a year of probation in lieu of jail time.

However, the court may require you to serve jail time if you’ve been previously convicted of domestic violence. The court will look at your criminal history and the particular facts of your case to determine the length of the sentence. You may face up to 6 months in county jail if you’re convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. However, after you serve your time in jail, you may be required to serve probation. Probation may extend from a few months to more than a year.

The court may also impose various conditions of probation, such as a requirement that you abstain from alcohol or drugs, complete community service, attend therapy, or regularly meet with a probation officer.

Probation Violation

If you violate the terms of your probation, you can face consequences beyond your initial sentence. Probation violations are offenses that occur when you break the terms or conditions of probation. The penalties for probation violations hinge on many different factors including prior violations, as well as the nature and severity of the violation. The judge may order you to serve jail time, extend the length of your probation or impose significant fines.

While you’re on probation, you need to understand what your probation conditions are and abide by them. The standard for finding a probation violation is much lower than the standard for obtaining a criminal conviction. You may be considered in violation not only for failing to abide by probation conditions, but also if you’re suspected of or arrested for a new crime. For instance, if you are arrested for domestic violence again during the probation period, you may face harsher penalties than for the first charge.

Retain a Seasoned Attorney in Phoenix

If you’re worried about probation in domestic violence cases, you should talk to criminal defense lawyer James E. Novak about your situation. Mr. Novak has years of experience representing those charged with domestic violence in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, and throughout Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.

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