If you’re accused of perpetrating an offense against a current or former spouse, roommate, co-parent, or romantic partner, the charges might qualify as domestic violence. Arizona has a broad definition of domestic violence that includes offenses ranging from the destruction of property to homicide.
A conviction for domestic violence can affect your life in many ways. You could end up in jail and face fines and restitution orders. After your release from jail, a conviction could affect your civil rights and professional or occupational licenses.
Here are some of the consequences of a domestic violence conviction in Arizona and how you can try to avoid them.
An arrest does not mean anything unless prosecutors charge you with an offense and convict you of the charges. Orent Law Offices work to provide clients with an aggressive criminal defense.
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Domestic violence happens frequently in the U.S. Domestic violence hotlines across the country receive about 19,000 calls every day. Over a year, about 10 million women and men will experience an act of domestic violence.
You can draw two conclusions from these statistics. First, domestic violence is a significant problem that threatens the safety and lives of victims — predominantly women.
Second, it’s possible that, on occasion, police officers and prosecutors may overreach in their attempts to address this severe problem. As a result, domestic violence charges and convictions are common.
As with any criminal offense, the state has three main ways to punish you after conviction:
The state of Arizona can incarcerate you after you get convicted of a crime. Judges usually have broad discretion to sentence you within the boundaries set by the state legislature.
For domestic violence offenses, punishments can range from 0 to 30 days in jail for third-degree criminal trespass to life imprisonment for first-degree homicide. In some situations, first-degree homicide can even carry the death penalty.
For misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, judges can sentence you to probation. Probation is a form of supervised release. If you meet all of the conditions of your probation, the judge will terminate the supervision. If you fail to meet the conditions, you can go to jail.
One condition of probation might include domestic violence treatment. To complete a treatment program, you will need to attend therapy sessions. As part of your sentence, you must pay for your treatment.
If a judge issues a fine, you will pay a monetary penalty to the state. Domestic violence crimes carry fines anywhere from $500 to $150,000.
Restitution is a monetary penalty that you pay to the victim. Judges often order restitution when the victim incurred expenses as a result of the offense. Medical bills and repair or replacement costs of property might justify an order of restitution.
You could face additional consequences from governmental agencies and civil courts in response to your domestic violence conviction.
In Arizona, you can lose your right to own a gun while serving probation for a domestic violence conviction. U.S. law forbids gun ownership after all felony and some misdemeanor domestic violence convictions.
You also lose your voting rights in Arizona after a felony conviction for any offense, including domestic violence.
The victim can seek a court-issued protective order. If you violate this order and try to contact the victim, the police can arrest you. Protective orders may also cover people living with the victim, like your children.
A family court judge can take your domestic violence conviction into account when deciding custody and visitation. Under Arizona law, the judge must consider the best interests of the child. Specifically, the judge can consider whether the child was a victim of or witness to domestic violence.
Many occupations require a criminal background check. You may fail a background check with a domestic violence conviction on your record. This might block you from getting a license for many professions, including:
If you already have one of these licenses, you might need to report your conviction, and the licensing board might suspend or terminate your license.
To get a domestic violence conviction, the prosecutor must prove all of the elements of the offense, including your domestic relationship with the alleged victim. When you face domestic violence charges, a lawyer can help you seek a fair outcome based on the evidence and circumstances in your case.
To discuss your domestic violence case and the consequences a conviction might bring, contact Orent Law Offices for a free consultation.