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What is Considered As Domestic Violence in Arizona?

Domestic violence affects millions of people around the world. On average, almost 20 people suffer physical abuse by a domestic partner in the U.S. per minute, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Every day, more than 20,000 victims call domestic violence hotlines for help. Yet many people the courts indict for domestic violence never actually committed this crime. If someone is accusing you of committing domestic violence, it’s important to learn the exact definition of this crime in Arizona.

If you or a loved one have been accused of abuse, please contact a Scottsdale domestic violence lawyer now.

What is Domestic Violence?

The legal definition of “domestic violence” exists in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-3601 as any act that is a dangerous crime against children, or violent offenses against a spouse or former spouse, a pregnant spouse, a blood relative, a household member, or someone with whom the assailant has a sexual or romantic relationship. The courts will distinguish between regular assault and domestic violence based on the type and length of the relationship between the alleged assailant and the alleged victim. This distinction is important since domestic violence crimes have their own rules and regulations.

Once a victim calls in a domestic violence claim, the case is out of his or her hands. It becomes a peace officer’s right to arrest the alleged assailant if the officer has probable cause to suspect domestic violence – with or without a warrant. It will not matter if the victim “takes back” the claim or changes his/her mind about accusing the person of domestic violence. If the police have reason to believe domestic violence occurred, they can make an arrest and the city may choose to prosecute. However, the alleged victim refusing to testify could help exonerate the defendant.

Actions That Qualify as Domestic Violence in Arizona

Reading the definition of domestic violence isn’t enough to truly know what qualifies and what does not qualify as this crime in Arizona. In a household where tensions run high, there can be a fine line between domestic violence and a squabble. It is critical, however, not to cross this line if you want to stay on the right side of the law. Knowing what actions and behaviors have constituted domestic violence in the past can help you know what to avoid. The following circumstances may fulfill the definition of domestic violence in Arizona:

  • Physically assaulting a relative or household member
  • Slapping, hitting, kicking, punching, etc. someone else
  • Throwing things at a household member or spouse
  • Intimidating, threatening, or harassing by verbal means
  • Harassment over the phone or electronically
  • Endangerment, or putting someone in imminent danger of physical injury
  • Using threatening conduct or gestures
  • Stalking or secretly recording/watching someone without consent
  • Kidnapping or unlawful imprisonment
  • Disallowing the use of a telephone in an emergency
  • Criminal trespass or disobeying a court order
  • Criminally damaging someone else’s property
  • Committing manslaughter, homicide, or murder of a household member/spouse
  • Abusing a child or a vulnerable (disabled, elderly, etc.) adult

Assault, harassment, property damage, trespassing, and disorderly conduct can all constitute domestic violence in the wrong circumstances. These actions may qualify as domestic violence if the alleged victim is a current or former spouse, someone you have a child with, someone who lives in your household, a sibling or other blood relative, a child who resides in the household, or someone with whom you currently, or used to, have a romantic relationship.

When You Should Hire an Attorney

It doesn’t take much to end up in the defendant’s chair for a misdemeanor domestic violence allegation. If you do face domestic violence charges in Arizona, hire an attorney. A great defense attorney in Scottsdale can protect your rights and create a defense strategy that may reduce your penalties or even convince the courts to dismiss the charges. Hiring a lawyer is the wisest way to defend yourself against domestic violence allegations.