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Posted on November 11, 2021 in Domestic Violence

Prosecution Tactics in Domestic Violence Cases in Arizona

Domestic violence (DV) cases can be particularly hard on the accused. Unlike many other allegations, DV charges threaten to harm your relationships with loved ones and your living situation.

Prosecution tactics in domestic violence cases in Arizona can be overwhelming unless you have an experienced and aggressive domestic violence lawyer on your side.

Here are the four most common tactics we see the prosecution use in domestic violence cases.

1. Seeking Protective Orders to Ruin Relationships

Perhaps the most frustrating prosecution tactic in Arizona domestic violence cases is the use of protective orders by the State. A protective order is also referred to as a “no-contact” order. These are legal injunctions issued by the court prohibiting you from seeing or communicating with your spouse or partner.

Sometimes these protective orders are issued as part of a condition of bond, which you must agree to in order to be released during the pretrial phase. Other times, protective orders are issued as separate documents. In either case, failing to obey a no-contact order can lead to rearrest and new criminal charges.

The State claims that they seek protective orders to protect the victim in a DV case. Sometimes, protective orders are used to prevent a couple from reconciling. This means the prosecution can keep its star witness for trial instead of fearing they won’t testify.

2. Calling You a Liar

Another tactic that is very upsetting is the tendency of police and prosecutors in Arizona to arbitrarily choose to believe one victim and not the other person, who ends up as the defendant. Domestic violence situations are rarely one-sided, yet the police choose to believe one side and make an arrest.

When you are called a liar by the State, you may wonder how you can ever prove your innocence. It is challenging, but there are strategies that a good criminal defense lawyer can use.

Some strategies to disprove allegations that you are lying include:

  • Sending investigators to interview witnesses
  • Demanding and analyzing 911 transcripts and body cam footage
  • Cross examining your accusers on the witness stand to find inconsistencies
  • Working with medical experts to analyze injuries

A skilled attorney can build your defense by going over every piece of evidence with a fine-toothed comb. Cases are often won and lost in the tiny details.

3. Setting up Witness Intimidation Charges

Another favorite tactic prosecutors use in domestic violence cases in Arizona is to set you up for additional felony charges for influencing or tampering with a witness. Prosecutors often do this by recording and listening to all of your phone calls from jail if you don’t bail out.

Even if there is not a no-contact order in place, it is advisable to never discuss your case with a victim or other witness. Saying anything related to the case can be the basis for witness influencing or tampering. Even a seemingly innocent statement such as, “come on you don’t want me to get in trouble” is enough to be charged with witness tampering. 

4. Charge Piling to Force a Plea

This prosecution tactic in domestic violence cases is particularly frustrating because any DV situation can potentially lead to numerous charges. Some of the charges that are frequently charged together include:

Prosecutors love to issue additional charges whenever possible because it allows them to offer a plea deal that will force you to plead out to get the extra charges dropped. For instance, the prosecutor may only really want a conviction on disorderly conduct, but the other charges force you to plead guilty for a “good deal.” 

An experienced domestic violence attorney will know how to call out the state for overcharging a case. Having a battle-tested trial lawyer on your side can put pressure on the District Attorney to play ball.

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