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Posted on June 14, 2024 in Domestic Violence

Is Domestic Violence a Felony in Arizona?

Domestic violence is a serious offense that can carry considerable legal consequences for defendants. In Arizona, these crimes can be classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. The classification depends on a range of factors connected to the specifics of the case and the person being charged.

Understanding when domestic violence is charged as a misdemeanor versus a felony and being aware of the potential penalties and legal defenses is critical so you can take the appropriate steps forward.

Understanding Domestic Violence in Arizona

Domestic violence in Arizona encompasses a broad spectrum of criminal conduct when committed against specific individuals with whom the accused has a close relationship. According to ARS §13-3601, such relationships include those between spouses, former spouses, people living in the same household, and romantic/intimate partners who share a child in common.

There is no distinct domestic violence charge in Arizona. Instead, essentially any crime a person is charged with can be considered a domestic violence crime, depending on who the alleged victim is.

Domestic Violence Can Be a Misdemeanor or Felony in Arizona

In Arizona, domestic violence is a serious offense that carries significant legal consequences. Depending on the specifics of the underlying charge, the severity of the act, prior convictions, and the relationship between the defendant and the victim, domestic violence can be classified either as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

In Arizona, domestic violence charges categorized as misdemeanors often involve less severe acts of violence, threats, or breaches of peace. Such charges could include but are not limited to minor physical harm, verbal abuse, or even non-violent actions that instill fear in the victim.

Misdemeanor domestic violence cases can lead to various consequences for the accused, including fines, mandatory counseling, and potential jail time.

Felony Domestic Violence

Felony domestic violence charges in Arizona are charged in cases involving severe violence or harm, use of a weapon, or offenses committed against particularly vulnerable individuals.

Additionally, if an individual has committed a third or subsequent domestic violence crime within a seven-year period, they can be charged with aggravated domestic violence, which is a felony, because of their criminal history. This is true even if the prior convictions were for misdemeanor offenses.

Felonies are considered more serious compared to misdemeanors. They carry stiffer penalties, including longer jail terms, hefty fines, and more stringent restraining order conditions in some cases.

Legal Defenses to Domestic Violence in Arizona

If accused of domestic violence in Arizona, several legal defenses could potentially apply to your case. Some of the most common defenses include:


Accidents can happen – a simple mistake or misunderstanding could be the reason behind domestic violence charges. If your actions that led to the allegedly abusive behavior were accidental and not intentional, this can significantly impact legal responsibility.


Self-defense is a viable defense if you’ve used reasonable force to protect yourself or another person from imminent physical harm. If there was a genuine threat that justified the need for self-protection, using this as your defense may be able to absolve you of responsibility for domestic violence charges.

False Accusations

There may be instances where domestic violence accusations are made falsely for various reasons, including anger, jealousy, or as a means of gaining an upper hand in divorce or custody proceedings. Your lawyer will help you attack the accuser’s credibility and spotlight their reasons for falsely accusing you.


On rare occasions, the parties may have engaged in conduct where there was mutual consent to the act that later led to an arrest. This could be a core aspect of your defense if the evidence supports consensual behavior.

Contact the Domestic Violence Lawyers at Orent Law Offices, PLC In Phoenix To Get Legal Assistance Today

With the right approach, it’s possible to build a strong case against domestic violence charges in Arizona.

If you’re facing domestic violence allegations in Arizona – whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony – it’s important to speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

For more information, contact the domestic violence attorney Craig Orent. Give us a call at (480) 656-7301 or visit our law office at 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028. We offer a free case evaluation, so get the help you deserve today.

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