Domestic Violence during COVID-19 Stay at Home order in Phoenix, AZ

by Aaron M. Black • April 09, 2020
Domestic Violence
As you know, Governor Ducey declared a stay at home order on April 1, 2020, effective until April 30th. Until that time, the best defense is to stay at home.
Of course with the stress associated with the current state of affairs, being shut in with family may compound the situation. Emotions can flare over small things causing tempers to rage, ending in accusations of domestic violence.
Bad decisions can be made in seconds.

Domestic Violence during Isolation

Arizona defines domestic violence as a criminal, abusive act performed by a member of a family or a household upon another member. Domestic relationships include spouses, former spouses, children, present and previous intimate partners, dating relationships, and elderly residents.

Furthermore, the Maricopa County Attorney’s office says 90 percent of domestic violence cases are prosecuted as the most serious of the misdemeanor offenses, and the penalties are as follows.
  • Punishable by up to six months in jail
  • $2,500 in Fines plus surcharges
  • Domestic violence classes (Up to 52 hours)
A second domestic violence conviction allows prosecutors to ask for a harsher sentence.

A third conviction may be charged as a more severe felony with time in state prison and more substantial fines.

Arizona’s Domestic Violence Law

When there’s aggressiveness in the family or similar setting, and the situation elevates to the police being summoned, a criminal charge comes into play.
Domestic violence doesn’t have to be violent. It can also be emotional, financial, mental, and neglectful. In short, a domestic violence victim doesn’t have to be injured for the case to proceed.
Arizona Revised Statute 13-3601 and its several subsections cover all aspects of domestic violence, which is comprised of several associated offenses, including:
  • Physical and verbal assaults
  • Battery
  • Assault with a dangerous weapon
  • Threats
  • Witness intimidation
  • Violating a restraining order or an order of protection designed to keep the aggressor away from the victim
  • Stalking
  • Child abuse
  • Sexual battery
  • Sexual assault upon a minor
  • Elder abuse
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder 

Aggravated Domestic Violence

To protect victims of repeated domestic violence, Arizona Lawmakers armed the state’s aggravated domestic violence law with harsh consequences and restrictions.
Police and prosecutors are aggressive in enforcing this class five felony.
 Arizona Revised Statute §13-3601.02 raises a misdemeanor domestic violence charge to the more serious aggravated level under certain circumstances.
This law applies to repeat defendants who have been convicted of second, third, or additional domestic violence offenses in Arizona or some other state and in tribal courts occurring within 84 months (seven years).

Crimes related to aggravated domestic violence cases under Arizona law §13.3601 encompass a long list of crimes that can lead to additional charges.
Crimes that can lead to additional Criminal Charges:
  • Negligent homicide
  • Criminal damage
  • Manslaughter
  • Interfering with judicial proceedings
  • Second-degree murder
  • Disorderly conduct
  • First-degree murder
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Endangerment
  • Use of a telephone to intimidate or threaten
  • Threatening or intimidating Harassment
  • Custodial interference
  • Aggravated Harassment
  • Unlawful imprisonment
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • Surreptitious photographing or filming
  • Sexual assault
  • Criminal trespassing

Domestic Violence, Common Defenses

Arizona law allows for certain defenses depending on the circumstances of the particular event.

The defenses for aggravated domestic violence include the following.
  • Insufficient evidence 
  • At the outset, the officer decides to make an arrest and fails to advise you of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and that you have the right to have a defense attorney at the questioning.
  • Because the people involved in aggravated domestic violence cases are emotionally involved, and the allegations can become blurred. In some cases, the victim may falsely accuse you. 
  • The defendant may argue that using physical aggression was lawful because he or she was acting in self-defense and that the other person was the initial aggressor. 
  • The defense may argue that the prosecutor failed to prove the state’s case beyond a reasonable doubt. 
  • Another defense is that the two parties didn’t share a domestic relationship as defined in Arizona law. 
  • Hearsay, a statement made by someone who was not present, is usually not admissible. However, an “excited utterance,” a statement made in an emotionally charged state of mind, might be allowed. 
The knowledge and experience of a criminal defense attorney who defends domestic violence cases may determine other defenses based on your particular situation.

The Law Office of Aaron M. Black is an Essential Business

Governor Doug Ducey deemed that law firms are an “essential business” during the current stay at home order.

Although my office is open, I am practicing social distancing as deemed appropriate by the CDC.

If you’ve been charged with domestic violence in Phoenix, AZ or surrounding communities, we can always talk by phone or video chat. Even before the pandemic, 50% of all my clients hired me over the phone before ever meeting in person.

I can easily review documents that are emailed or texted to me, and payments can be made by credit card via email and Square® processing.

These are crazy times and Criminal Domestic Violence or even DUI charges can only compound an already stressful situation.

If you are facing criminal charges for domestic violence, Contact Phoenix, AZ Criminal and DUI Defense Attorney Aaron Black or call (480) 729-1683. I am available any time, day or night, on weekends and holidays.

I defend clients in Arizona’s justice, city, county, state, and federal courts.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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