blog Criminal Defense 4 Reasons to Fight a Domestic Violence Charge in Arizona

4 Reasons to Fight a Domestic Violence Charge in Arizona

By Your Arizona Lawyer on June 1, 2022

Avoiding jail time and not having a criminal record are usually the main reasons an individual may want to fight a domestic violence charge on his or her record, but for many defendants, a few collateral reasons are added to that list as to why they may want to fight extra hard to keep that conviction off their records.

Domestic violence convictions can carry some fairly serious penalties, even for a misdemeanor conviction. The State of Arizona can mandate attendance of a Domestic Violence treatment program of between 26-52 hours at your own expense, possible probation, or jail time.

Besides these penalties, a domestic violence conviction can also carry several collateral consequences that can seriously impact the defendant’s life.

Firearm Ownership

Arizona law prohibits a person who has been convicted of a charge involving domestic violence from owning or possessing a firearm.

For many individuals facing a domestic violence charge, the right to own or possess a firearm is a very important right. For many individuals, it is a matter of employment, as well, especially if their jobs require possession of a firearm.

An attorney is not required to file a petition to seal a record but is often recommended in the event a mistake is made during the petition process. However, if a conviction for domestic violence can be avoided at all by hiring an aggressive domestic violence attorney, that would be the ideal situation in terms of maintaining rights for gun ownership.

Child Custody Cases

Many times, the parties involved in a domestic violence incident are married or are in a romantic relationship and share children. A domestic violence conviction can affect these arrangements dramatically, especially in a separate family law case involving the parties.

Arizona state law provides that a court may give one party primary physical custody of the parties’ children if the court determines that joint physical custody is not in the children’s best interests.

The law creates a presumption that joint physical custody is not in the best interests of the children if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence, following an evidentiary hearing, that one of the parents has engaged in domestic violence against the child, a parent of the child or any other person residing with the child.

During custody proceedings, if the court finds that one of the parents has consistently engaged in acts of domestic violence against the other parent, the court will look at which party was the primary physical aggressor in making important custodial decisions.

Therefore, it is ideal to avoid having a conviction on someone’s record if a custody issue is anticipated between the parties. An arrest or testimony regarding domestic violence can still be submitted as evidence, but it may not carry as much weight if the individual is not convicted of the offense.

Landlord/Tenant Issues

Although this issue may be less obvious than the other legal consequences from a domestic violence conviction, landlord-tenant issues can arise following a conviction. Having a domestic violence conviction on someone’s record could lead to potential liability under a lease agreement.

The law provides that a tenant, cotenant, or household member who is the victim of domestic violence may terminate a rental agreement. In this case, the adverse party in the domestic violence incident may be considered civilly liable for any economic losses the landlord may have sustained due to early termination of this rental agreement or lease This could include unpaid rent, fees for early termination, costs to repair any damages to the dwelling or any reduction in or waivers of rent that were previously extended to the terminating tenant.

This conviction can leave the adverse party in a tough financial situation and out thousands of dollars.

Immigration Consequences

If the person who is convicted of the domestic violence conviction is not a U.S. citizen, the conviction can also have serious consequences to that person’s ability to stay in the country.

Under immigration law, even misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence are treated more seriously than other misdemeanor convictions.

Contact Your Arizona Lawyer Today!

If you have been accused of committing a domestic violence office, let Your Arizona Lawyer go to work for you. Call 24/7 to schedule a free consultation: 520-467-5100.

Posted in: Criminal Defense