Tucson Domestic Violence Lawyer
Are you searching for an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Tucson? Throughout Arizona, domestic violence charges are investigated and prosecuted aggressively. For example, in Pima County, there is a domestic violence prevention task force actively working on these matters. There is also a DV specialty court that handles only domestic violence cases, which is specially designed among other things to move quickly through the process. If you have been accused of domestic violence in Tucson, you need to enlist a Tucson lawyer who is experienced in domestic violence specialty court.
At The Law Office of Douglas W. Taylor here in Tucson, we are well known for our swift and successful representation in domestic violence court. We really know how to navigate this system. We have been representing people in domestic violence court since its inception in 2007, and have more than 17 years of criminal defense experience overall.
A lot of people misunderstand domestic violence charges or make mistakes in the way they conduct themselves throughout the process. The first thing you should do is lawyer up with an experienced Tucson domestic violence lawyer – respectfully decline to answer any questions, stay calm, and wait for legal advice before you potentially make some damaging mistakes in the way you handle your charges.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES CAN BE EXTREMELY DAMAGING
We recognize how damaging domestic violence charges can be, and how a conviction cannot only result in criminal penalties, but also repercussions in related divorce, child custody, and other family law matters. If you have been accused, you may also have an order of protection, also referred to as a protective order or restraining order, taken out against you that can keep you away from your home and children indefinitely.
We know how much parents love their children, even if they don’t necessarily get along with the other parent. If you’re inadequately defended in a domestic violence case, you might lose your access to the children that you love so much. If you don’t have a history of violence or criminal behavior, there’s no reason you should accept a harsh impact on your relationship with your children – we know that they’re worth fighting for.
Domestic violence charges can also make it difficult to get certain jobs, particularly those that require a security clearance or any kind of background check. A lot of employers aren’t comfortable hiring people who have been found guilty of domestic violence offenses, and if you’re currently employed, it might affect the job you already have.
DV charges have the potential to be life ruining. Even if your behavior was in some way uncalled for, you shouldn’t lose the potential to live your life and build a future for yourself and your children. Everyone needs a way to support themselves and a connection with their family – don’t let domestic violence charges take all of that away from you.
The State of Arizona also allows domestic violence victims to demand restitution, and even file civil suits, to cover bills that they claim stem directly from the domestic violence incident, including medical bills or repair bills to property that was destroyed or damaged in the altercation. Civil lawsuits are also open to complaints of “pain and suffering”, which can be very vague while still being easily won by the victim.
WHAT COUNTS AS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES?
In Arizona, domestic violence, any “family or household” member who commits one of any qualifying acts against another family or household member can be charged with a domestic violence charge. It’s not just for people in romantic relationships – it could be for siblings who live together, parents and their adult children, or even non-related adult roommates in certain circumstances.
Domestic violence is unique in that it is not an individual criminal charge in and of itself, but rather, it is the term applied to a wide range of criminal offenses in which the alleged perpetrator and the victim are in a domestic (meaning household or familial) relationship of any sort. Most people mistakenly believe that domestic violence is limited to some kind of assault, but that is not the case in Arizona.
Domestic violence does encompass actual violent acts where an injury might occur, but the scope of the law goes much further. Some domestic violence charges might even be able to stem from a heated argument that gets a little carried away, whether or not anyone was actually injured. Sometimes, couples in discussions about divorce might even press domestic violence charges against each other solely based on verbal disputes, and/or to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings.
Since so many people misunderstand the various charges nestled under the umbrella of domestic violence, a lot of the context is unclear. This might lead to charges that a defendant feels are wholly inaccurate, because their so called “domestic violence” charge was merely the result of a messy argument.
Offenses that may fall under the banner of domestic violence include:
- Aggravated Assault/Choking
- Criminal Damage
- Violating a Protective Order
- Threats and Intimidation
- Disorderly Conduct
Some of these charges may even stem from pure accidents. A miscommunication can easily lead to trespassing or the violation of a protective order, especially if you share children with your domestic partner. These kinds of cases are unfortunately common – where a boundary was unknowingly violated or some kind of misunderstanding led to police involvement.
We can defend you well against any of these charges. You do not need to plead guilty – especially if you haven’t spoken with a lawyer first. We know that domestic violence cases in Tucson are often complicated, personal, and nuanced. We’ll be able to examine all of the facts with you and review the evidence to help you establish a clear path forward.
People with domestic violence charges often have difficulty in life. If you made a mistake or if you believe the situation is being misrepresented, allow us to work with you. We can help you mitigate the damage or fight charges that you feel have been unfairly filed against you. Our experienced team of legal professionals can help you maintain your career and your reputation.
CAN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES BE DROPPED?
Technically, domestic violence charges can be dropped. Usually, they won’t. Once the authorities have become involved, the victim automatically becomes simply a witness with certain victim’s rights. The ability to drop charges rests solely in the county attorney’s hands. If the prosecutor wants to dismiss a case, that dismissal then needs to be approved by a judge.
Victims don’t have much of a say in what happens with their case after it’s reported to law enforcement. Even if they absolutely refuse to testify, the district attorney can potentially continue with the charges without their courtroom testimony as the victim and key witness. While a victim can independently ask of their own volition that charges be dropped, even if the state can confirm the victim was not pressured or harassed into doing so, it may not change anything, and usually doesn’t.
Even if the victim regrets pressing the charges and reaches out to you, that may not mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Once it’s done, it’s done, and nobody but the state can change it. If you attempt to change it by yourself, or if the victim stands by their claims, you can open yourself up to a world of trouble.
Asking the victim to drop the charges against you or discussing the events with them could easily be perceived as witness tampering. Even if you have someone else, like a friend or family member, talk to the victim on your behalf, you could be complicating your case. Never reach out to the victim, especially if any kind of protective order has been established. Even if you genuinely believe the victim may want to recant, it won’t make a difference, because the victim doesn’t have the option of dropping the case anyway.
FREE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE CONSULTATION
When you’re dealing with domestic violence charges, you need to act quickly. You have the right to avoid incriminating yourself, and you don’t need to provide anything other than legally-mandated information without speaking to an attorney first.
We would prefer you reached out to law professionals like us who are well equipped to handle the situation before you have the chance to make an accidental misstep that may complicate your domestic violence case. Discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Call today schedule your first consultation, which is free. Our law office is conveniently located downtown near the courts. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Domestic violence laws are defined by Arizona statute 13-3601. Domestic violence; definition; classification; sentencing option; arrest and procedure for violation; weapon seizure
A. “Domestic violence” means any act that is a dangerous crime against children as defined in section 13-705 or an offense prescribed in section 13-1102, 13-1103, 13-1104, 13-1105, 13-1201, 13-1202, 13-1203, 13-1204, 13-1302, 13-1303, 13-1304, 13-1406, 13-1425, 13-1502, 13-1503, 13-1504, 13-1602 or 13-2810, section 13-2904, subsection A, paragraph 1, 2, 3 or 6, section 13-2910, subsection A, paragraph 8 or 9, section 13-2915, subsection A, paragraph 3 or section 13-2916, 13-2921, 13-2921.01, 13-2923, 13-3019, 13-3601.02 or 13-3623, if any of the following applies:
1. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.
2. The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
3. The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
4. The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
5. The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
6. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship. The following factors may be considered in determining whether the relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship:
(a) The type of relationship.
(b) The length of the relationship.
(c) The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant.
(d) If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination.
B. A peace officer, with or without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that domestic violence has been committed and the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the offense, whether the offense is a felony or a misdemeanor and whether the offense was committed within or without the presence of the peace officer. In cases of domestic violence involving the infliction of physical injury or involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, the peace officer shall arrest a person who is at least fifteen years of age, with or without a warrant, if the officer has probable cause to believe that the offense has been committed and the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the offense, whether the offense was committed within or without the presence of the peace officer, unless the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the circumstances at the time are such that the victim will be protected from further injury. Failure to make an arrest does not give rise to civil liability except pursuant to section 12-820.02. In order to arrest both parties, the peace officer shall have probable cause to believe that both parties independently have committed an act of domestic violence. An act of self-defense that is justified under chapter 4 of this title is not deemed to be an act of domestic violence. The release procedures available under section 13-3883, subsection A, paragraph 4 and section 13-3903 are not applicable to arrests made pursuant to this subsection.
C. A peace officer may question the persons who are present to determine if a firearm is present on the premises. On learning or observing that a firearm is present on the premises, the peace officer may temporarily seize the firearm if the firearm is in plain view or was found pursuant to a consent to search and if the officer reasonably believes that the firearm would expose the victim or another person in the household to a risk of serious bodily injury or death. A firearm that is owned or possessed by the victim shall not be seized unless there is probable cause to believe that both parties independently have committed an act of domestic violence.
D. If a firearm is seized pursuant to subsection C of this section, the peace officer shall give the owner or possessor of the firearm a receipt for each seized firearm. The receipt shall indicate the identification or serial number or other identifying characteristic of each seized firearm. Each seized firearm shall be held for at least seventy-two hours by the law enforcement agency that seized the firearm.
E. If a firearm is seized pursuant to subsection C of this section, the victim shall be notified by a peace officer before the firearm is released from temporary custody.
F. If there is reasonable cause to believe that returning a firearm to the owner or possessor may endanger the victim, the person who reported the assault or threat or another person in the household, the prosecutor shall file a notice of intent to retain the firearm in the appropriate superior, justice or municipal court. The prosecutor shall serve notice on the owner or possessor of the firearm by certified mail. The notice shall state that the firearm will be retained for not more than six months following the date of seizure. On receipt of the notice, the owner or possessor may request a hearing for the return of the firearm, to dispute the grounds for seizure or to request an earlier return date. The court shall hold the hearing within ten days after receiving the owner’s or possessor’s request for a hearing. At the hearing, unless the court determines that the return of the firearm may endanger the victim, the person who reported the assault or threat or another person in the household, the court shall order the return of the firearm to the owner or possessor.
G. A peace officer is not liable for any act or omission in the good faith exercise of the officer’s duties under subsections C, D, E and F of this section.
H. Each indictment, information, complaint, summons or warrant that is issued and that involves domestic violence shall state that the offense involved domestic violence and shall be designated by the letters DV. A domestic violence charge shall not be dismissed or a domestic violence conviction shall not be set aside for failure to comply with this subsection.
I. A person who is arrested pursuant to subsection B of this section may be released from custody in accordance with the Arizona rules of criminal procedure or any other applicable statute. Any order for release, with or without an appearance bond, shall include pretrial release conditions that are necessary to provide for the protection of the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons and may provide for additional conditions that the court deems appropriate, including participation in any counseling programs available to the defendant.
J. When a peace officer responds to a call alleging that domestic violence has been or may be committed, the officer shall inform in writing any alleged or potential victim of the procedures and resources available for the protection of the victim including:
1. An order of protection pursuant to section 13-3602, an injunction pursuant to section 25-315 and an injunction against harassment pursuant to section 12-1809.
2. The emergency telephone number for the local police agency.
3. Telephone numbers for emergency services in the local community.
4. Websites for local resources related to domestic violence.
K. A peace officer is not civilly liable for noncompliance with subsection J of this section.
L. If a person is convicted of an offense involving domestic violence and the victim was pregnant at the time of the commission of the offense, at the time of sentencing the court shall take into consideration the fact that the victim was pregnant and may increase the sentence.
M. An offense that is included in domestic violence carries the classification prescribed in the section of this title in which the offense is classified. If the defendant committed a felony offense listed in subsection A of this section against a pregnant victim and knew that the victim was pregnant or if the defendant committed a felony offense causing physical injury to a pregnant victim and knew that the victim was pregnant, the maximum sentence otherwise authorized for that violation shall be increased by up to two years.
N. When a peace officer responds to a call alleging that domestic violence has been or may be committed, the officer shall determine if a minor is present. If a minor is present, the peace officer shall conduct a child welfare check to determine if the child is safe and if the child might be a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.