Domestic Violence Laws in Arizona: A.R.S. 13-3601
An individual can be charged with domestic violence if they commit certain criminal acts on a victim with whom they are in a “domestic relationship.” Domestic violence is a tag added to charges designating the relationship between the defendant and alleged victim, not designating that there was actual violence that occurred. Per A.R.S. 13-3601, domestic relationships can be defined as one in which:
- The defendant and victim are, or were, married.
- The defendant and victim live, or lived, in the same household.
- The defendant or victim is pregnant by the other party.
- The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order.
- The victim is a child who lives, or lived, in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to another person who lives, or lived, with the defendant.
- The defendant and victim have, or had, a romantic or sexual relationship, as determined by the type and length of the relationship as well as the frequency of interactions, and whether or not the relationship has ended and for how long.
The criminal acts of domestic violence, which do not necessarily have to be crimes of physical violence, if committed in the above “domestic relationship” circumstances, are the following:
- Dangerous crimes against children
- Negligent homicide
- Second degree murder
- First degree murder
- Threatening or intimidating
- Aggravated assault
- Custodial interference
- Unlawful imprisonment (knowingly restraining another person)
- Sexual assault
- Unlawfully disclosing nude or sexual photos of another person
- Criminal trespass in the first, second, third degree
- Criminal damage
- Interfering with judicial proceedings
- Disorderly conduct
- Animal cruelty
- Preventing the use of the telephone in an emergency
- Using electronic communication to terrify, intimidate, threaten, or harass
- Aggravated harassment
- Secretly photographing or filming
- Aggravated domestic violence
- Abuse of a child or vulnerable adult
A person suspected of committing domestic violence, whether a misdemeanor or felony classification, can be arrested with or without a warrant. Any firearms they possess may also be seized by law enforcement.
Penalties for domestic violence will be the same as the penalties for the specific committed offense. For example, criminal damage charges can range from class 1 misdemeanors all the way to class 4 felonies, while child abuse charges can range from class 2 to class 4 felonies. For first time offenders, a class 1 misdemeanor conviction can mean 6 months of incarceration, while a class 2 felony can lead up to 12.5 years behind bars.
Victims of domestic violence will be given information for how to protect themselves moving forward, including:
- Orders of Protection
- Injunctions Against Harassment
- Emergency phone numbers for local police agencies and community emergency services
- Websites to resources for domestic violence victims
The Arizona Department of Economic Security also provides a comprehensive directory of resources for shelters, emergency assistance, and coalitions for domestic violence victims.
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