What is Considered Domestic Violence in Arizona?

In this video we’re talking about a very common designation for criminal offenses known as domestic violence.

You can see I have a ton of stuff on this whiteboard. We’re going to fly through it.

It’s important to know domestic violence is an additional kind of aggravator that they tack on to other charges, so domestic violence by itself is not a crime. It’s a crime that’s attached to other crimes.

And so we’ll run through what those are, but first we need to talk about what is a domestic relationship or what would constitute a relationship that would be an aggravator onto another crime?

And the law gives us some very clear parameters that we focus on to determine whether or not there was a domestic relationship. So let’s dive into it.

So first of all there must be a relationship between the defendant, the triangle is the symbol for defendant in criminal law, and the victim.

I put the victim in quotes because that’s what the law uses, that’s the language that’s in the statute, but there’s some good arguments sort of on a layman’s terms as to whether that person is actually a victim. That’s a whole different video. But we’re talking about the relationship between the defendant, the person charged with the crime, and the victim, the person who is the recipient of the conduct. So let’s jump into it.

First of all if there was a marriage, whether it’s a former marriage or an actual marriage or there was, somebody was residing or resided in the same household.

If there is that relationship, if either one of those things happened, that’s enough to constitute a domestic relationship. If the people who are involved, the defendant and the victim, have a child in common that’s going to be a domestic relationship. If either the defendant or the victim is pregnant by the other individual that’s enough to constitute a domestic relationship.

Similarly if the victim is related to the defendant or to the defendant’s spouse by blood or by in-laws that’s going to constitute a domestic relationship.

So we’re talking about in-laws, we’re talking about stepchildren. If there’s a blood or a law relationship between the victim and the defendant or the defendant’s spouse in that household or actually outside of the household as well, that’s going to be enough.

If the victim is the child, is a child victim, and they’re in the same household as the defendant and they’re related by blood to the spouse or they’re another resident that will be enough. So if there’s a child who is the victim of some conduct and these parameters exist that’s going to be a domestic relationship as well.

And then finally, this is probably the most common, if there’s a current or a previous romantic or sexual relationship between the defendant and the victim that’s going to make it a domestic relationship.

So the law also gives us some guidance. Sometimes relationships come and go, sometimes they’re kind of fleeting, sometimes they’re long-term and so the court says that in order to determine whether there is a current or a previous romantic or a sexual relationship we want to look at things like the type of the relationship that was happening.

We want to look at the length of the relationship, so how long was the underlying relationship actually going on?

We want to look at the frequency of the interaction between the two individuals, so was this an everyday relationship, was this a once a month hook up type of situation, what was the length, what was the frequency of the interaction?

And then finally the time since the relationship has dissolved, so if the relationship is no longer in place how long has it been since that relationship was over?

The court will consider those four factors. They’re all defined in the statute which, by the way, is 13-36-01 and then that’s how you can determine whether or not there’s a current or a past romantic or sexual relationship.

So this is very important to the defenses of domestic violence. If you can show that there is no domestic relationship or that these factors weigh in favor against supporting a domestic relationship the whole charge is going to be non-designated.

It’s not going to be designated a DV offense, which is a good thing. So these are the different crimes that are permissible under the statute to have that domestic violence designation on them and there’s a lot of them so I’ll run through them quickly, but the big ones that we’ll talk about are the assaults or the things in red. So the assault, trespass, criminal damage, and so on.

But first and foremost we’ve got negligent homicide, so if there’s a death negligent homicide, manslaughter, second-degree murder, first-degree murder. If any of those things happened and there’s a domestic relationship under any one of these different elements here they can tack that on.

All right, those are serious crimes, you don’t see a whole lot of ’em.

Similarly endangerment. Threatening or intimidating somebody. And a big one that we see very frequently is assault. Assaults in my other videos I’ve spoken about it, it’s very, very easy to be charged with assault.

So if there’s any contact at all, if somebody feels like they’re in apprehension of being contacted you can be charged with assault for that.

And if this happens in a situation where a couple gets into an argument, somebody bumps somebody, something happens they’ll charge you with assault, they’ll tack it on as a domestic violence designation.

It goes from a kind of a regular, low-level misdemeanor assault into a more serious domestic violence assault because domestic violence has some additional penalties.

We’ll get to those in different videos. Other things aggravated assault, custodial interference.

We’ve got unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, sexual assault. This one’s called nude photos, so if you’re sending nude photos or kind of exploitive photos to other people that’s a crime. They can charge that as domestic violence.

Similarly trespass, so trespass is very common. Somebody will be asked to leave the residence, they’ll come back into the residence, boom, that’s trespass if it involved a domestic relationship they’ll tack on the domestic violence designation.

Criminal damage, this happens a lot as well.

Somebody will break bowl, somebody will break a plate, the neighbors will call the cops. Because this all happened in the context of a relationship it will be a criminal damage plus domestic violence designation. Interference with judicial proceedings is IJP, that means that a judge has said that you cannot do something, you did it anyway.

It that involves a domestic relationships they’ll tack on that DV charge. Disorderly conduct is probably by far the most common we see. I put a star here for that reason.

Disorderly conduct is extremely vague. It basically means that you’re disturbing the peace, the well-being of other people.

So we see this a lot when couples get into arguments, a neighbor calls the police on ’em. Well, they’re both shouting. It’s an argument, people have arguments. It’s a normal part of relationships.

But the police can show up.

They can say, “Okay, well they’re in a “romantic or sexual relationship under this part “of the statute and it’s disorderly conduct “because it’s disturbing the neighbors.” Boom, somebody is getting arrested, usually the male.

Other crimes that you can be charged with and be designated a domestic violence offense. Animal cruelty.

So this one’s a little surprising, but if there’s an animal involved and there’s some cruelty to that animal, somebody kicks a dog or something like that and it’s under the confines of DV, another DV designation.

Preventing the use of a telephone in an emergency.

So this happens when somebody will grab somebody’s phone. Somebody’s looking through the phone, they see some bad text messages or something, somebody wants to call the police, they hold onto the phone, that’s a crime.

We’ve also got electronic harassment. We’ve got harassment and aggravated harassment.

So I made another video about harassment, what constitutes that. If that’s going on against somebody who is in, there is a domestic relationship about that they’ll tack on the DV charge. We’ve also got stalking.

We’ve got basically recording photos and videos of somebody, so if you’re doing that in a manner that’s not obvious to them they can charge you with that.

We’ve got aggravated domestic violence, so this is when you are committing multiple domestic violence offenses, so basically on your third domestic violence charge it will go from a misdemeanor into a felony.

And then finally we’ve got child abuse and vulnerable adult abuse.

So if those types of abuses are happening and it’s involving family, it’s involving somebody who is related by blood or by law they can add domestic violence to that.

So it’s a big misnomer that domestic violence is only between a man and a women in a sexual relationship. It can happen across family lines, it can happen across blood lines, it can happen across law, so in-laws and step children and those types of things. It’s very, very big.

It’s a big statute, covers a lot of different language, covers a lot of different conduct and it’s important to know that these things are common and police really like to write domestic violence charges.

There’s a lot of grant money, there’s a lot that goes on, especially in today’s age, you know, in the Me Too movement and all these things domestic violence is a big deal.

So if you’ve been charged with domestic violence, if you want to speak with our office about it give us a call.

We offer free case evaluations. We’ll look through the facts of your case, see how we can find some holes through it, make sure that you have a good plan moving forward and we look forward to speaking with you.

Give us a call, we’ll get you scheduled as soon as possible. Thanks for watching.

Domestic violence” in Arizona is not a specific crime. Instead it is a specific designation that is attached to an underlying offense that introduces other penalties and obligations.

The law offers very clear parameters to determine whether there is a domestic relationship between parties in order to determine whether “domestic violence” applies.

The following conditions are set forth in A.R.S. § 13-3601:

  1. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.
  2. The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
  3. The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
  4. The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
  5. The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
  6. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship. The following factors may be considered in determining whether the relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship:

a. The type of relationship.
b. The length of the relationship.
c. The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant.
d. If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination.

These parameters are very important to the defenses of domestic violence. If it can be shown that there is no domestic relationship, the charges will not be designated as “domestic violence” offenses.

The following are charges that could be designated as “domestic violence” charges if a domestic relationship is proven:

Negligent homicide, manslaughter, 2 nd and 1 st degree murder, endangerment, threatening/intimidating, assault, aggravated assault, custodial interference, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, sexual assault, nude photos, trespass, criminal damage, interference with judicial proceedings, disorderly conduct,
animal cruelty, preventing the use of a telephone in an emergency, electronic harassment, harassment, aggravated harassment, stalking, surreptitious photos/videos, aggravated domestic violence, child abuse, vulnerable adult abuse.

If any of the above offenses are being charged, and the relationship between the defendant and the victim is established according to A.R.S. § 13-3601, then it would be considered a “domestic violence” offense.

It is a big misnomer that domestic violence is only between two people in a sexual relationship; domestic violence can happen across family lines. The statute is very big; it covers a lot of different language and conduct.

Because the scope of the statute is so expansive, domestic violence charges tend to be quite common.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, give us a call. We offer free case evaluations; we’ll look through the facts of your case, and put together a good plan for you moving forward.