Domestic violence is a serious crime in Flagstaff that can have severe legal, financial, and personal consequences. Whether this offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, being accused of domestic violence can be a stressful and life-altering experience that can impact the accused and their family.
If you face domestic violence charges in Flagstaff or Northern Arizona, it is crucial to understand what you must do to protect your rights and mount a strong legal defense. Hiring an experienced domestic violence lawyer is critical to have the best chance at a favorable outcome in your case.
Domestic Violence Charges and Penalties in Arizona
In Arizona, domestic violence is not charged as a separate crime. The allegations would be added to other criminal offenses committed by one person against another with whom they have a domestic relationship. Domestic relationships can include spouses, former spouses, individuals who live together, individuals who share a child in common, individuals who are related by blood or marriage, or individuals who have or had a romantic or sexual relationship.
The victim can also be a child who lived in the same household as the defendant. They must be related to the former spouse of the defendant or another person who resides with or has resided in the same household as the defendant.
Under ARS §13-3601, it is considered domestic violence to engage in a dangerous crime against a child or an act of violence against a family or household member with whom they have a domestic relationship. Domestic violence offenses can include a wide range of crimes, such as assault, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, stalking, harassment, sexual assault, kidnapping, murder, and more.
A person can face misdemeanor or felony domestic violence charges in Arizona. The punishments can range from a jail sentence of six months to up to 21 years in prison and a hefty fine.
5 Steps to Take if You Are Facing Domestic Violence Charges in Flagstaff
Were you charged with domestic violence? If so, your actions after your arrest can dramatically impact the outcome of your criminal case. Five crucial steps you should take include the following.
#1: Hire a Lawyer
If you're charged with domestic violence in Flagstaff, one essential step is to immediately retain a skilled Flagstaff domestic violence attorney. A lawyer can provide expert legal advice, help you understand your rights, and develop a robust defense strategy tailored to your case. They can also represent you at court hearings, negotiate with the prosecution, and fight to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed.
#2: Do Not Violate the Protective Order
If a protective order, also called a restraining order, has been entered against you, it is crucial to abide by its terms and conditions. The police could charge you with additional crimes if you disobey the terms of a protective order, which can further complicate your case. You have to understand the restrictions and requirements of the protective order and strictly adhere to them to avoid further legal consequences.
#3: Collect Evidence
Gathering evidence to support your defense can be crucial in a domestic violence case. This may include collecting relevant documents, emails, text messages, social media posts, or other communications that can refute the allegations against you.
If you suffered any injuries, take pictures of them immediately. You also need to gather witnesses who can testify in your favor. Your knowledgeable domestic violence attorney can help you identify and collect evidence to strengthen your defense and challenge the prosecution's case.
#4: Do Not Get Arrested Again
You should avoid further legal trouble after being charged with domestic violence. Getting arrested in Flagstaff again for any offense, even a minor one, can negatively impact your case and weaken your defense. You must maintain a low profile, avoid any contact or confrontation with the alleged victim, and stay out of any situation that may result in new charges or violations of the law.
#5: Get Counseling
Domestic violence charges can have emotional and psychological repercussions. Seeking counseling or therapy can be beneficial in managing the stress, anxiety, and emotional toll that domestic violence charges can have on you and your loved ones. Therapy can also help you deal with any anger management issues that may have led to your domestic violence charges.
In addition, counseling can demonstrate to the court your commitment to addressing any underlying issues and taking steps toward rehabilitation. Your domestic violence attorney can advise you on how going into counseling can improve the outcome of your criminal case.