Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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a-crack-in-the-ground-1630956-1-e1485294664299In the unpublished opinion State of Arizona v. Scott, an Arizona appellate court considered the defendant’s conviction for disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon. The case arose when the victim and the defendant, who were married, got into a physical altercation. The husband was indicted for two counts of misconduct involving weapons and two counts of domestic-related aggravated assault.

The husband admitted that his wife was hurt and that he used a firearm during the incident. The wife suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was medicated for it. She admitted on the stand that she’d been previously arrested for aggravated assault against her husband, that she’d previously been committed to a mental institution, and that she was susceptible to memory loss.

The husband alleged she attacked him, and he was simply defending himself. He was allowed to testify about his wife’s prior attacks and descriptions of having violent content of voices in her head, as well as his knowledge of her mental health diagnosis and medications.

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Supreme Court Domestic Violence

Arizona Domestic Violence Laws, Penalties, Criminal Defense

The Lautenberg Amendment in Title 18 U.S. Code § 922(g)(9) prohibits shipment, transport, ownership and use of guns or ammunition by individuals who were convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense or are under a protection order (commonly referred to as a restraining order) for domestic violence. The amendment was enacted in 1996 and has been the subject of numerous court challenges.

On June 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court further clarified that even convictions for reckless domestic assault can be construed as domestic violence offenses that prohibit firearm possession. The 6-2 decision resolved lingering questions about the nature of misdemeanor domestic violence convictions than can lead to loss of firearm rights.

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Domestic Violence Charges

Many victims of a Domestic Violence are unjustly arrested. This happens when, a domestic dispute takes place, and a victim calls #911 for police: When police arrive, the aggressor denies everything, and claims the victim was the aggressor, or provoked the argument. The victim is then arrested. If convicted, penalties are severe, and call for jail terms, fines, fees, anger management counseling and treatment, probation, and other penalties. Consequently the victim is victimized twice.

Often if police are unsure of the facts; who is telling the truth; and there were no eye witnesses, they will arrest the victim as well as the domestic aggressor. It is not uncommon for them to arrest the innocent party. The victim is left wondering why they ever called police in the first place. This happens because police feel pressured into making arrests, less they may be liable for death or serious injury resulting from disputes.

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The two main differences between Misdemeanor Domestic Violence and Aggravated Domestic Violence (felony) Charges are:

  • Classification:  Domestic Violence is a Misdemeanor. Aggravated Domestic Violence is a Felony.
  • Penalties: Misdemeanor Domestic Violence convictions do not carry prison sentences. Felony Domestic violence convictions will result in prison sentencing.  
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Aggravated Domestic Violence Charges

Aggravated domestic violence is a class 5 Felony in Arizona. “Aggravated” Domestic Violence charges are Misdemeanor charges that are elevated to Felony charges due to the charge being a repeat offense that occurred within 7 years of a prior conviction. A person may be guilty of Aggravated Domestic Violence charges under A.R.S. § 13.3601.02 for a repeat offense of misdemeanor domestic violence Domestic Violence Convictions when:

“A person commits a third or subsequent violation of domestic violence offense within 7 years (eighty four months).”

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Defending Domestic Violence Charges – Misdemeanor and Felony

Common defenses for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence and  Felony Domestic Violence charges are basically the same.  However, since Felony Domestic Violence charges carry prison sentencing, (Misdemeanors do not)  the level of defense that is most critical, if a person is convicted, is the sentencing phase.  Since prison terms apply and prison terms can be lengthy,  the best criminal defense attorneys will tenaciously look for mitigating factors to present that will reduce the prison sentencing terms.  Depending on the circumstances in some cases, the defense attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to Misdemeanor, so that prison sentences may not apply and be avoided completely.

10 Defenses for Felony/Aggravated Domestic Violence Charge