What You Need To Know When You’re Facing Domestic Violence Charges


Domestic violence related charges can be among the most serious violence-related charges. A number of offenses fall under the category of domestic violence, depending on the relationship between the defendant and alleged victim(s). If you’re facing a specific type of domestic violence charge or dealing with a complex, layered case that involves a multitude of aspects of abuse, you need to understand the charges being brought against you and how they may work in unison to create the case against you.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence In Arizona

While domestic violence is often generally thought of as simply spousal abuse or abuse of an intimate partner, Arizona’s definition of domestic violence (“DV”) is quite broad. Domestic violence is any crime from a specified list of crimes that is committed between members of the same household, whether the parties are intimately or platonically involved. This means that violence against one’s wife or violence against one’s roommate will both be considered domestic disputes. Also included are crimes against a previous intimate partner, against the other parent of one’s child, against a previous roommate, against a parent or sibling, against a child or step-child, or against a step-parent or sibling.

Regardless of the relationship between persons involved, a multitude of actions or crimes between these people are considered domestic violence offenses. Some of them are standalone crimes, while others are factors that play a role in deciding whether or not some kind of abuse or violence transpired. Some types of abuse are used to establish intent, rather than prosecuted as separate crimes.

The Types Of Domestic Abuse

Any violence within the home is classified as domestic violence. Some types of abuse are separate crimes, which may lead to additional charges, while others are factors that affect the outcome of the charges brought against the defendant.

Mental Or Emotional Abuse

Mental or emotional abuse is sometimes considered the systematic degradation of a person’s identity or self worth, and it’s a tactic often used by domestic abusers to keep their victims compliant. Humiliation and frequent verbal abuse often constitute mental or emotional abuse. While these acts are reprehensible, they aren’t a crime. Definitive proof of mental or emotional abuse may be used to fortify a case where other types of abuse transpired.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse often transpires when two people in the household have combined finances, or one member of the household denies another member of the household access to his or her own finances. It’s slightly more complicated than theft, but it’s rooted in the same principal. Through financial abuse, people are often denied necessities (such as foods or hygiene supplies) due to the restrictions imposed through the financial abuser. The abuser may essentially hold the victim at his or her mercy for things that they need. This is still a crime if a husband earns money while a wife does not – as a married couple, their assets are joint. Still, this may or may not constitute a crime.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is largely self-explanatory – it’s when any person touches or physically harms another person. Though it comes at different magnitudes, punching someone once or severely beating them are both considered physical abuse: assault. Any scenario under which a threat of credible physical harm is demonstrated (including choking, hitting, or deliberately spitting on someone) is considered assault. Bruising or a severe injury is not a prerequisite for assault charges.

Some forms of physical action can be credibly deemed self-defense, however. For example, pushing someone away who is physically intimidating you, cornering you, or restraining you may be considered necessary in order to escape a situation in which you were threatened.

Sexual Abuse

Unwanted sexual contact is considered sexual abuse. If the individual was unable to consent to this activity (due to age, incapacitation, or disability), this is considered sexual assault whether or not violence and/or threats were used to initiate the activity. Rape and molestation are other forms of sexual abuse.

Arizona’s laws surrounding marital rape are complicated. Arizona was one of the last states to recognize marital rape as a felony, previously regarding it as a minor offense. Cases of spousal rape involving violence or force are often treated like typical sexual assault cases. Cases of spousal rape that do not involve violence or force are more nuanced, though they are still crimes.

Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse can sometimes be prosecuted as a crime, depending on the actions that transpired throughout the course of psychological abuse. Most often, isolation, extortion, and blackmail are forms of psychological abuse punishable as crimes. If the actions were routinely performed to significantly limit the victim’s ability to live life by instilling fear with credible threats, some aspects of psychological abuse may be considered kidnapping.

Defending Yourself Against Domestic Violence Charges

If you’re facing domestic violence charges, your case may be complicated and nuanced. You may have done some bad things, but those things may not actually be considered crimes under technical definitions. Contact us for a free consultation. We can review the aspects of your case to determine the best course of action for you. At Doug Taylor Law, we’re experienced, aggressive, and ready to help you!