Domestic Violence Cases - They're not always serious, right?

Posted by Slade Lawson on Jun 28, 2014 | 3 Comments

You've been charged with a domestic violence offense.  You had an argument with your wife.  Things got really heated.  In your anger, you threw a wine glass to the floor.  No one was hurt.  You did not lay a finger on your wife.  In her anger, she called the police.  She just wanted them to respond so that you'd calm down.  That's not how things ended up, though.  Now, here we sit.  You've been charged with a domestic violence offense.

After your arrest your wife felt terrible.  She had no idea it could go this far.  Yet, here you are facing a court date.  Your wife is the "victim" of your criminal damage charge charge for the broken wine glass.

Domestic violence is a very real and serious problem.  Police departments and prosecuting agencies justifiably treat it as such.  There are many cases where the cycle of abuse has reached a crescendo, people get seriously injured, and court intervention is required.  Your case is probably not one of them.

Your wife doesn't want you to be convicted of a crime.  She never meant for it to go this far.  She thought the police would just talk to you and settle you down.  All she has to do to fix this, though, is to show up in court with you and tell the prosecutor that she doesn't want to prosecute, right?

WRONG!  You must understand this important fact about domestic violence charges in Arizona.  Your wife is not prosecuting you, the state of Arizona is prosecuting you.  In most Arizona courts, prosecutors are extremely reluctant to dismiss domestic violence related charges.  They are reluctant because they don't want to see their name in the paper if something goes wrong.  For instance, defendant assaults spouse, then threatens spouse into requesting that the charges be dropped.  Charges dropped.  Later, defendant assaults spouse again.  Prosecutors don't want to deal with this potential scenario.  Because they have no easy way of knowing which defendant are real threats and which ones are not, prosecutors take the path of least resistance and prosecute them all.  They let the courts sort it out.

For this reason, your domestic violence case is not just a little thing.  There is a very real possibility of a criminal conviction.  Upon conviction for a domestic violence offense, Arizona law requires mandatory probation and counseling.  You may also lose your right to possess firearms (pursuant to Federal law).  In short, a domestic violence conviction can have severe and long lasting consequences.

Protect yourself and your family.  When facing charges for a domestic violence offense, consult with a qualified, experienced  criminal defense attorney.

About the Author

Slade Lawson

Slade A. Lawson is a career criminal defense attorney. He has worked in the defense of Arizona criminal cases for over 30 years and is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Specialist in Criminal Law.


Slade Lawson Reply

Posted Mar 29, 2016 at 14:22:49

In Arizona, a domestic violence relationship (as defined by Arizona Revised Statutes section 13-3601A) can exist in gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and specific other types of relationships. The statute previously mentioned in specific to Arizona. Other states may have different definitions of what may qualify as “domestic violence”. Both males and females can experience domestic violence.

Slade Lawson Reply

Posted Mar 29, 2016 at 14:28:09

The above answer was posted in response to the following question:

Hello, thank you for sharing this article. I have a few questions… So does domestic violence happen in gay/lesbian/bisexual or transgender relationships? and does this differ in every state?

Also, can men experience domestic violence?

Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon.

Slade Lawson Reply

Posted Jul 01, 2017 at 07:31:09

Yes. There are several types of domestic violence charges that don’t necessarily require the defendant and the alleged victim to be in the same place when the offense occurs. Also, it is very common for a person to be charged with a domestic violence offense even if they weren’t there when the police arrived.

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