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Phoenix Domestic Violence Lawyer

Phoenix Domestic Violence Lawyer

Have you been charged with domestic violence? If so, then call Phoenix domestic violence lawyer Craig Orent today for a free consultation at (480) 656-7301. At Orent Law Offices, Craig Orent has spent over 33 years fighting to protect clients from domestic violence allegations in Phoenix, AZ. 

Domestic violence charges can ruin your reputation and turn your life upside down. If a restraining order is issued, you may lose the ability to spend time with your children and maybe ordered to move out of your home. In Phoenix, domestic violence charges are aggressively prosecuted. Get started with your defense immediately. Call us today.

How Orent Law Offices Can Help if You’re Arrested for Domestic Violence

A domestic violence conviction in Phoenix, Arizona can damage your life, sometimes in unpredictable ways. A conviction can prevent you from owning a gun, affect your employment opportunities, and even impact divorce and family law matters. It can also come with stiff penalties in terms of jail, probation, fines, and counseling.

You deserve a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer who will fight on your behalf and build a strong defense. At Orent Law Offices, we have over 33 years of experience defending clients against these types of serious criminal matters. Founding attorney Craig Orent is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and Top 100 Trial Lawyer. He will put this expertise and his sterling reputation to work to protect your future.

Choose Orent Law Offices to handle your domestic violence case and count on us to:

  • Offer sound legal advice and guidance during this challenging time in your life
  • Conduct a thorough independent investigation into the allegations and criminal charges
  • Gather exculpatory evidence and determine the best legal defense strategy for your particular criminal case
  • Negotiate with the prosecution with a persuasive argument for dismissed charges, reduced charges, or alternative punishments like a diversion program
  • Exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you
  • Prepare to defend your reputation in court, if your case proceeds to trial

Contact our law firm today for a free case review with a passionate Phoenix domestic violence defense lawyer who will fight for you.

What Is Domestic Violence in Arizona?

Domestic violence is a serious violent offense in Phoenix. This charge differs from assault or other offenses due to the relationship between the alleged offender and victim.

Under Arizona Revised Statute 13-3601, domestic violence is defined as an offense against a protected person or an act considered a dangerous crime against a child.

People protected under the domestic violence statute include:

  • Household members including roommates
  • Current and former spouses
  • Someone pregnant with the alleged assailant’s child
  • Family member related by law or blood such as siblings, in-laws, or parents
  • Child victims who share the same household and are related by blood, a spouse, or former spouse
  • Romantic or sexual partners or former partners

While this may seem clear-cut, it can be tricky to determine when a relationship meets the threshold of domestic violence. The court can determine if there was a domestic relationship by considering whether the relationship ended and how long ago, how often the two parties interacted, and the length of the relationship.

With probable cause, law enforcement can make an arrest for domestic violence. They do not need to have witnessed any domestic violence offense. You can be arrested and charged based on allegations, even without any evidence, and your case can progress even if the person later says they were lying or mistaken.

What Offenses Count as Domestic Violence in Phoenix?

A wide range of offenses can be classified as domestic violence in the state of Arizona. This includes not only offenses involving some type of physical or sexual assault but also verbal or emotional abuse.

“Domestic violence” itself is not actually an independent criminal offense. Instead, someone may be charged with a crime that has a domestic violence designation. For example, a domestic violence offense may be charged as assault or unlawful imprisonment with a domestic violence designation.

Examples of domestic violence charges in Phoenix, AZ can include:

As a general rule, the majority of misdemeanor and felony charges that relate to someone else can be designated domestic violence. When one of these offenses is charged and there is an established relationship under Arizona’s domestic violence statute, the crime can be considered domestic violence.

What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Phoenix, Arizona?

A domestic violence conviction can have a serious and lasting impact on your life. Even being arrested after allegations of domestic abuse are raised can result in you being forced to leave your home. It can also interfere with divorce, child custody, visitation, and other family-related legal issues. Your employment and rights may be affected. Federal law also prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence from owning a firearm.

The penalties you are facing for domestic violence depend on the charges you are facing as “domestic violence” is simply a designation added to the primary offense. This designation, however, expands the scope of sentencing and may increase the penalties.

You may face:

  • Mandatory minimum sentencing
  • A lengthier sentence
  • Probation restrictions
  • Reduced eligibility for parole
  • Protective orders
  • Mandatory domestic violence courses

Many domestic violence offenses in Phoenix are Class 1 misdemeanors, the highest misdemeanor offense in the state.

For misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, you may face the following punishments.

  • Class 3 misdemeanor: up to 30 days in jail and up to $500 in fines
  • Class 2 misdemeanor: up to 120 days in jail and up to $750 in fines
  • Class 1 misdemeanor: up to 6 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines

A misdemeanor conviction can also come with one to three years of probation plus counseling and domestic violence classes. A counseling program of 26 to 52 sessions is mandatory for anyone convicted of domestic violence in Arizona.

A third misdemeanor domestic violence charge within seven years will result in an aggravated domestic violence offense. This is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to 2.5 years in prison if it is your first conviction. If the victim was pregnant, the sentence can be increased by an additional two years.

If the offense involves serious bodily injury or the use of a deadly weapon, you may face a higher felony charge. Aggravated domestic assault is a Class 3 felony with a sentence of 5 to 15 years.

Domestic Violence Diversion Program

In some courts, a domestic violence diversion program is an option. With a domestic violence diversion program – or a deferred entry of judgment – you can avoid a domestic violence conviction and the harsh consequences. Participation generally requires paying a fine and attending domestic violence and anger management programs. Each class has a fee.

If the program is successfully completed, your case will be dismissed.

However, diversion programs are only available at the prosecution’s discretion. Your criminal defense attorney will need to argue that you are a deserving candidate. If the prosecution’s case against you is weak, your attorney may recommend fighting the charge instead.

Will a Domestic Violence Charge Result in a Protective Order in Arizona?

While restraining orders can be obtained in many scenarios, they are common in cases involving allegations of domestic violence. When police respond to an alleged domestic violence dispute, they will inform potential victims of resources available, including protective orders.

Protective orders may be granted under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3602 to protect a victim against further acts of domestic violence. These orders can be used to keep an alleged assailant from the subject of the order.

There are several types of protective orders in Arizona.

Order of Protection

This order prohibits the named person from committing domestic violence and from contacting the plaintiff. Depending on the details of the order, it can force the named person to remove any firearms from their home. It can even give the plaintiff sole use of a shared home.

Emergency Order of Protection

This type of order can go into effect faster than a typical order of protection. Authorized judicial judges can grant emergency orders of protection over the phone or in writing when there is reasonable belief that someone is in imminent danger due to domestic violence.

Unless a continuance is issued, the order is valid until the next business day.

Release Order

This type of emergency protective order is designed for residents in rural areas who cannot reach a judicial officer after hours. In this case, a registered Release Order enforces some forms of protection when the state has released someone from custody after a domestic violence arrest.

Injunction Against Harassment

This type of order is specifically designed to bar the named person from alarming, annoying, or harassing the plaintiff.

After someone makes a claim of domestic violence, they may obtain a temporary restraining order or TPO. This is usually done when charges are pressed and it may be obtained through an ex parte court hearing. You can have a temporary restraining order placed against you without being notified by the court.

At the TPO hearing, the alleged victim can testify and submit evidence that domestic violence happened. The TPO will be issued if the court believes the evidence is enough. You do not need to be informed of this hearing or have a chance to defend yourself. The TPO must be delivered to you by law enforcement within 24 hours.

The temporary restraining order will expire after 10 days. You may be prohibited from returning to a shared home, seeing children in common, and contacting the plaintiff in any way.

When the TPO expires, the alleged victim can file domestic violence charges and request a full hearing. If a full protective order is granted, it will last for 12 months.

How Can I Fight a Restraining Order in Phoenix?

Protective orders can be issued solely based on the allegations and evidence submitted by the plaintiffs. However, you have the right to object to a longer-term order of protection after a TPO expires. You can object to a protective order at any point after it is issued and before it expires.

When you file a motion to object to the order, a hearing will be scheduled within 5 days if you live in the same household. Otherwise, the hearing must be held within 10 days. During this hearing, you will have the opportunity to defend yourself and cross-examine the plaintiff. An experienced Phoenix restraining order lawyer can help you prepare for the hearing and fight the order.

What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Domestic Violence in Phoenix?

The precise charges you are facing will determine the most appropriate legal defense in your case. However, the prosecution has the burden of proving you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a domestic violence case, this requires establishing not only a domestic relationship with the alleged victim but that you also committed the offense.

Your Phoenix domestic violence attorney at Orent Law Offices may recommend the following defense strategies to fight your charge.

Affirmative Defense

Sometimes the best defense to a claim of domestic violence is self-defense or acting in defense of someone else. With this type of defense, you are claiming that you did commit the alleged actions, but they were justified and unavoidable to protect yourself or others.

While this defense may be wise, it isn’t always the best strategy. It tends to be the best option in serious cases involving violence from both parties and some type of evidence. In many domestic violence cases, however, the state has little if any evidence against you such as witnesses or even a 911 call. In these cases, a lack of evidence may be a better defense.

False Allegations or Alibi

Sadly, false allegations of domestic assault are not uncommon. False allegations may be the result of a difficult break-up or divorce or a heated custody battle. They can even be another form of abuse and control used by an abusive partner. False allegations can also be motivated by revenge.

Your Phoenix defense lawyer may recommend several strategies to combat false allegations:

  • Expose factual inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s claim. The strongest inconsistency you can prove is an alibi.
  • Expose inconsistencies in statements the alleged victim has made. This can be done by comparing affidavits against any other statements they have given such as reports for treatment or police reports.
  • Expose a motive to lie. Evidence the alleged victim had a motive to make a false allegation can be invaluable in your defense. This may be communication threatening to allege abuse.
  • Expose inconsistencies in behavior. It may be helpful to your defense to point out any inconsistent or unexpected behavior from the alleged victim. For example, they may have initiated friendly communication after the alleged assault or they may have called someone unexpected after the incident.

There are many other ways to raise reasonable doubt about the validity of the alleged victim’s statements.

Insufficient Evidence

A common defense against domestic violence allegations is a lack of evidence. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense you have been charged with. If the prosecution fails to meet this burden of proof, you should not be convicted.

Many domestic violence cases have very little or even no evidence aside from allegations from the alleged victim. Even 911 calls by neighbors, for example, are weak if the neighbors could not identify exactly what they heard happening or who was involved.

No Proof of Recklessness or Intent

The state has the burden of proving you were of the required mental state to commit the offense you have been charged with. If you lacked intent or you were not behaving recklessly, it can undermine the state’s case.

Suppression of Evidence

Your defense lawyer will investigate your case to determine if your constitutional rights were violated at any stage. Violations such as forced confessions, illegal search and seizure, Miranda violations, and violations of your right to counsel are not uncommon. If your rights were violated, evidence that was obtained can be ruled inadmissible against you.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with Our Phoenix Domestic Violence Lawyer

When you are facing domestic violence allegations in Maricopa County, AZ, it’s crucial to begin building your defense as soon as possible. You face immediate consequences of a domestic violence arrest including a restraining order that can impact your daily light and rights. You deserve an experienced Phoenix domestic violence lawyer who will fight for you.

Contact Orent Law Offices to schedule your free consultation with an aggressive criminal defense lawyer at our Phoenix, Arizona law office. We will put our decades of experience to work for you.