Marriage can be a passionate relationship, and the passion is not always the good kind. You and your spouse may have struggled through difficult times when stress got the better of you and tempers flared. Perhaps you shouted. Maybe you slammed a door or threw something across the room. Maybe you grabbed your spouse's shoulder or instinctively reacted to your spouse's assault.
Now you are looking at domestic violence charges, which are among some of the most aggressively pursued and the most difficult to defend against. Arizona law prevents an accuser from dropping a charge of domestic assault once the police are involved. In fact, even if your spouse refuses to testify against you, the state may still file the charges and move forward with prosecution. This is why it is critical to consider engaging legal assistance as soon as possible.
How the courts view domestic abuse
Your accuser does not have to be your spouse. Victims of domestic violence crimes in Arizona can be any close relative, a member of your household, a current or former spouse or partner, or a blood relative of your partner. Additionally, charges of domestic abuse do not necessarily include an act of overt violence. In some cases, the accuser need only express feelings of fear or intimidation for law enforcement to take you into custody. Some examples of actions that may count as domestic abuse include these:
- Saying something that sounds threatening
- Making threatening or intimidating actions, such as blocking a doorway
- Making harassing phone calls
- Causing vandalism or property damage
- Taking pictures, videos or recordings without your spouse's knowledge or permission
Your spouse or partner may also accuse you of endangering his or her life, for example intentionally driving too fast as an act of intimidation. You may also face domestic violence charges if your spouse accuses you of directing any of these behaviors toward children or of preventing your spouse from accessing the children.
Building your defense
As you can see, domestic violence covers a wide range of behaviors and perceived behaviors, and the courts are often quick to take the side of the accuser. It is possible that you will face both criminal and civil charges, and that places you at risk of substantial fines or even incarceration.
A domestic violence conviction can seriously complicate your career and many other areas of your life. Facing these charges without the representation of a skilled and determined defense attorney may leave you vulnerable to these negative consequences.