Assault / Domestic Violence (ARS 13-1203)
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In Arizona, per ARS 13-1203 “Assault,” occurs when a person either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes any physical injury to another person; knowingly touches another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke; or intentionally places another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury.
Normally, any type of red mark or scratch can qualify as an “injury” under this statute. If the Assault incident involves two (2) people who live together, were romantically involved, or who are somehow related, then this is “Domestic Violence” charged under ARS 13-3601 “Domestic Violence Assault.” The Domestic Violence designation carries some serious ramifications in addition to the standard punishment. For instance, you can no longer carry a firearm if a Domestic Violence conviction is on your record. This could cost a police officer, security guard, or military person their job.
Possible Punishment for Domestic Violence
Most misdemeanor Assaults are charged as a class one (1) misdemeanor, however, sometimes they are charged at the lower levels of class two (2) and three (3) misdemeanors if the defendant is found to not have intentionally committed the assault or didn’t cause any physical injury. A class one (1) misdemeanor carries a range of punishment of probation, a maximum punishment of six (6) months in jail, and a $2,500.00 fine with an 80% surcharge. A class two (2) misdemeanor carries a range of punishment of probation and up to four (4) months in jail. Additionally, a fine of $750.00 plus 84% surcharges can be imposed.
A Domestic Violence (ARS 13-3601) conviction carries the same punishment as the Assault charge, but the real additional punishment attached to a Domestic Violence conviction is the fact that it can be used against the defendant in the future in a Child Custody / Divorce proceeding. A Domestic Violence conviction could cost a person to lose custody and the right to have visitation with their children. In addition, during background checks, most potential employers will not hire someone with an Assault or Domestic Violence conviction on their record. It goes without saying, a second or subsequent conviction for Assault or Domestic Violence (ARS 13-3601) Assault carries very serious ramifications.
Possible Defenses for Domestic Violence (ARS 13-3601)
The most common defense utilized with regard to Assault or Domestic Violence Assault is Self- Defense . In most assault situations, the alleged “victim” will often be the one who makes the first aggressive movement towards the defendant. This usually occurs when alcohol is involved. For example, if the alleged victim is impaired by alcohol and then attempts to push or grab the defendant, if the defendant simply pulls away the “victim” can lose their balance and injure themselves. Unfortunately, the defendant now automatically becomes the prime suspect because they were uninjured in the altercation. Additionally, if the Domestic Violence (ARS 13-3601) or Assault involves a man and a woman, then typically regardless of who started the physical altercation, the man will usually be charged with a crime while the woman is automatically seen as the “victim.” It is necessary to emphasize the “victim’s” violent and aggressive behavior and the defendant’s calm and peaceful behavior.
The key to defending Assault/Domestic Violence cases will depend on eye-witness testimony, physical evidence analysis, finding and interviewing other witnesses not listed in the police report, the search for any potential security video cameras which may have been present at or near the scene (i.e., security cameras which are located at all Wal-Marts and gas station parking lots) and character evidence. In addition, many times the alleged victim will want the charges to be dropped; this is what is known as a recalcitrant witness. Unfortunately, the State is the one bringing the charges, and not the alleged victim. The State can force the alleged victim to appear and testify against the defendant if they so desire. When we are involved in a case, if there is a recalcitrant witness, we can most often convince the prosecutor to either dismiss the charges or plead the case to a non-Domestic Violence charge (i.e., Disturbing the Peace).
Additional Defense Tactics for Charges of Domestic Violence
An additional defense when the defendant is charged with a violation by “placing the victim in reasonable apprehension of physical injury” is presenting evidence that it was unreasonable for the “victim” to be fearful. We would present evidence that a reasonable person in the “victim’s” shoes would not have been frightened because the defendant did not present any sort of threat. Testimony about the victim’s state of mind, especially alcohol or drug use, is crucial in demonstrating the defendant’s reasonable behavior and the victim’s irrational behavior.
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues.
Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc..
Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and witness identification procedures, and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Assault/Domestic Violence lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.
Board Certified Criminal Law Specialization
As of the start of 2023, the State Bar of Arizona Board of Legal Specialization listed only 56 Criminal Law Specialists in the entire state. Of these 56, only 39 are located in Maricopa County and are allowed to handle private cases.
DM Cantor has 3 Criminal Law Specialists, the most of any firm in Arizona.
When defending Domestic Violence allegations, it is critical to have as many Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists on your legal team as possible.
The specialization process is so rigorous that only 23 current Criminal Law Specialists have been certified in the last 20 years.
In addition, all specialists must be approved for re-certification every 5 years.
At DM Cantor, our attorneys have conducted Jury Trials on countless Mail Fraud, Domestic Violence cases.
Every case defended by DM Cantor includes at least 1 Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist on the legal team who is directly handling or supervising the case’s progress.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist , per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers® . At DM Cantor in Phoenix, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Arizona Federal Bank, Mail and Wire Fraud Defense Attorneys know the system well. For a Free Consultation , call us at 602-307-0808.
Contact DM Cantor and speak to a Phoenix, Arizona Domestic Violence Lawyer. We will assist you with your Arizona Federal Bank Fraud, Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud charges.