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Phoenix Domestic Violence Attorneys

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you are probably already aware of the stigma that the charge carries with it. Many people will assume you are guilty even if they have no facts to support their conclusion. We know how these accusations affect people. We also know that in many domestic violence situations, the evidence consists largely of one person’s word against another. At Castañeda Law, we defend domestic violence cases. From your initial free consultation, through the investigation, negotiations, and if necessary, the trial, we will make sure that your rights are protected. Call us today to discuss your domestic violence case.


What is Domestic Violence?


Domestic violence is not a distinct crime in Arizona. It is a label created by statute, A.R.S. 13-3601. That law says that certain offenses, if committed between people who have certain relationships, constitutes domestic violence.

Crimes subject to the domestic violence law

There are a host of offenses which fall into the category of potential domestic violence. They include:

  • Dangerous crimes against children.

  • Homicide (Murder, Manslaughter and Negligent Homicide).

  • Assault, aggravated assault, threatening or intimidation, and endangerment.

  • Custodial interference, unlawful restraint, and kidnapping.

  • Sexual assault, unlawful distribution of nude/sexual images, and surreptitious photographing or viewing.

  • Criminal trespass (first, second or third degree) and criminal damage.

  • Interference with judicial proceedings.

  • Disorderly conduct.

  • Animal cruelty.

  • Preventing the use of a telephone in an emergency.

  • Harassment and stalking.

  • Child abuse and vulnerable adult abuse.

Clearly, the scope of what is considered a domestic violence offense is broad. And it includes not only serious felonies, such as homicide and sexual assault, but also relatively minor crimes like third degree criminal trespass (a class 3 misdemeanor). Any of these offenses, however, may support a domestic violence charge.

Relationships subject to the domestic violence law

The identification of a particular offense is only a part of the equation. The suspect and the alleged victim must also be in one of several types of relationships in order for an offense to be considered domestic violence. The applicable relationships include:

  • Marriage (current or former) or parties who resided together in the same household.

  • One party is pregnant by the other, or the parties have a child in common.

  • The parties are closely related by blood or by marriage.

  • The alleged victim is a child who currently or previously resided in the same household as the suspect and who is related by blood to a former spouse of the suspect or to another household resident.

  • A romantic or sexual relationship exists or existed between the parties.

In the case of romantic or sexual relationships, the statute goes on to list a number of different factors that are considered when determining if such a relationship exists for purposes of the domestic violence law. Those factors include the type and length of the relationship.

People often assume that domestic violence only applies to husbands and wives, but the law goes far beyond that. As the list makes clear, it applies to a host of relationships, including girlfriends and boyfriends, parents/grandparents and children, siblings, and even in-laws, providing that the other criteria are met.

How Can I Defend Against a Domestic Violence Charge?

If you are facing a domestic violence charge, it may seem at times that you are in the position of having to prove your innocence, that is, that you are guilty until proven innocent. Fortunately, that is not the way our criminal justice system works. At Castañeda Law, we know that you are innocent until proven guilty, and our experienced domestic violence lawyers can outline defenses that may well be applicable in your case. Here are some examples:

  • Example 1. You have been arrested for allegedly stealing something from your wife. The charge is labeled as domestic violence. While the relationship qualifies, the underlying offense, theft, does not. The case does not constitute domestic violence.

  • Example 2. You are charged with simple assault, consisting of (allegedly) shoving your date. The two of you do not live together, and have no other connection. In fact, this is your first date together. Your relationship does not fit within the statutory definition under the domestic violence law.

  • Example 3. Self-defense. After a heated argument with your spouse, the police are called to your home. Your spouse shows the officers a bruise on her arm, and says you caused it. You are arrested for domestic violence assault. In fact, the bruise was caused when you blocked your spouse from punching you in the face. You are entitled to defend yourself. Causing the bruise by doing so does not constitute domestic violence.

These are some examples of potential defenses. Often, the issue comes down to another person’s word against yours. In this case, your defense lawyer needs to know how to cut through the lies and present the facts as they actually happened.

What is the Penalty for Domestic Violence? 

As a general rule, a domestic violence conviction is classified the same as the underlying offense you are accused of committing (assault, for example). By and large, the sentencing scheme is likewise unchanged. However, certain characteristics of the victim (pregnancy or age, for example), a prior domestic violence conviction, and other factors could lead to additional consequences, such as the issuance of a protective order restricting your activities, additional jail time, a minimum sentence, and/or attendance at a treatment program for domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Defense in Phoenix, AZ

Domestic violence charges are becoming more and more common. If the police are called to a domestic violence scene, even when no one appears seriously hurt, there will be, in all likelihood, an arrest. The police often jump to conclusions about who was at fault, and that tends to lead to mistakes. Don’t let yourself be the victim of an unjustified domestic violence charge. Contact Castañeda Law today.

Call us at (602) 251-3132 for a free consultation

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