Arrested for Domestic Violence but Didn't Start the Fight

Arrested for Domestic Violence But You Didn’t Start the Fight

In Arizona, being arrested for domestic violence is among the most overcharged types of offenses, and they carry significant penalties. Most domestic violence cases involve minor altercations between partners, spouses, or family members.

If the police are called on a report of potential domestic violence, they will arrest someone and charge them with a crime of domestic violence even if the victim doesn’t press charges.

The idea that a case will go away if the victim doesn’t press charges is a common misnomer. Prosecutors charge crimes, and it is not up to the victim to decide that the victim doesn’t press charges. You can be charged even if the victim in your case doesn’t want the case against you to go forward.

Being charged with a crime and arrested for domestic violence can subject you to stigma. In some cases, people are charged with this offense when they were not the person who started the fight.

If you are facing domestic violence charges when the alleged victim is the one who hit you first, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the Shah Law Firm.

We are experienced in handling cases involving domestic violence charges and are prepared to help you if you’ve been arrested for domestic violence.

Domestic Violence in Arizona

Many people think that domestic violence is a separate crime. However, that is not the case. Under ARS 13-3601, domestic violence is an enhancement that attaches to other offenses based on the relationship the defendant has with the alleged victim.

Any of the following crimes can be charged as crimes of domestic violence:

  • Assault (misdemeanor or aggravated)
  • Harassment (misdemeanor or aggravated)
  • Child/ Vulnerable adult abuse
  • Interference with custody
  • Criminal damage
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Dangerous crime against a child
  • Violating a restraining order
  • Endangerment
  • Sexual assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Homicide offenses
  • Stalking
  • Surreptitiously recording or photographing someone
  • Intimidation/threats
  • Revenge porn
  • Unlawful imprisonment

Most domestic violence offenses involve minor disputes or altercations between partners, spouses, or close family members.

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Arizona DUI Car Accident Lawyer

Is an Arizona DUI Car Accident a Misdemeanor or Felony?

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs that cause impairment is illegal in Arizona, even including recreational marijuana. These Arizona DUI laws are taken seriously because driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

While most DUIs are Class 1 misdemeanors under ARS 12-1381, you can be charged with a felony DUI if you cause an accident in which someone is injured or killed while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you face DUI car accident charges, you should consult an experienced Arizona DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Potential Types of Charges for a DUI Car Accident

If you cause a drunk driving accident, you might face the following types of charges, depending on the circumstances:

Endangerment can be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor; however, it can also be charged as a Class 6 felony when you are alleged to have placed someone else at imminent risk of serious injury or death. This means that you could face felony endangerment charges if you have a single-car accident with a passenger, even if no one was seriously injured, based on the risk of serious injury or death.

Following DUI accidents, aggravated assault, negligent homicide, vehicular manslaughter, and second-degree murder charges are felony offenses carrying lengthy prison sentences.

If you caused a DUI car accident in which someone was seriously injured or killed, you would likely face one or more of these types of charges in addition to your DUI charge. Since vehicles can be considered dangerous weapons in criminal charges involving DUI accidents, the cases can be classified as dangerous felony offenses.

In Arizona, a dangerous felony conviction requires a mandatory prison sentence without the option of probation.

How much prison time you might face for a felony charge following a drunk driving accident will depend on multiple factors. These factors include the specific offense of which you are convicted, the victim’s age, whether you have prior felony convictions, and whether the prosecutor alleged the offense as a dangerous felony.

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Domestic Violence Charges During Holidays

Do Domestic Violence Charges Increase During the Holidays?

Many people think that incidents of domestic violence charges will spike during the holidays. The holidays can be stressful and cause people to take their anger out on those who are closest to them. Several factors can lead to domestic violence incidents during the holidays, including financial stress, unrealistic expectations, increased alcohol use, and being shut inside with immediate family members for extended periods.

During this holiday season, all of these factors are compounded by the impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the added layers of stress and financial problems it has wrought. While domestic violence cases do happen, some people also lash out at their family members by filing false reports.

People who are facing domestic violence charges should talk to a domestic violence attorney at the Shah Law Firm as soon as possible.

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Increase in Domestic Violence Charges During the Holidays

The holidays bring a lot of added stress to families in Arizona. People can be overwhelmed when they have to plan holiday celebrations. They might also be facing increased financial stress and have unrealistic expectations of their experiences. Holidays can always be overwhelming. However, the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic has added even more stress. Many families are struggling financially and simply do not have the means to celebrate in the way in which they would like.

According to data from the Phoenix Police Department, domestic violence homicides increased by 180% year-over-year during the first eight months of 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. This demonstrates that people were already under significant stress even before the holiday season got started.

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Resisting arrest in Arizona: ARS 13-2508

What is Considered Resisting Arrest by Police in Arizona?

In Arizona, there is actually a statute that defines what it means to resist arrest — lawmakers did this to ensure there would be no confusion in the courtroom after an arrest has been made, as resisting arrest is often a charge that is added to, or that happens in addition to, other charges at the same time.

Arizona Revised Statute 13-2508: Resisting Arrest in the State of Arizona

According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-2508, resisting arrest in Arizona is defined as the act of intentionally preventing an arrest by either:

  1. Using or threatening to use physical force
  2. Creating substantial risk or physical injury
  3. Passively resisting an arrest through nonviolent physical means in a manner meant to impede, delay, or otherwise hinder an arrest

Passive Resistance of Arrest

Because it is one of the most common forms of resisting arrest today, and because peaceful resistance of arrest is known as a tool of protestors and others during the course of exercising their First Amendment right to free speech, it is important to understand passive resistance to arrest.

Passive resistance can mean more than one thing, but it is important to understand that the same rules for resisting arrest that apply to someone violently resisting through physical harm to authorities will also apply to someone who is peacefully resisting. And, in the courtroom, an Arizona judge is not likely to note the difference between a peaceful resistance and a physical revolt against arrest, with the only obvious difference — which would result in further charges — being resisting arrest in a violent manner that resulted in an injury or injuries to one or more police officers or other authorities.

A peaceful or nonviolent resistance to arrest can simply mean failure to act when told you are under arrest, refusing to put your hands behind your back, refusing to get out of your car or move from a specific physical space when an officer or other authority has commanded you to, or “dead weighting” your body in such a manner that arresting you and moving you from where you are on the street or another public space into a patrol car is exceedingly difficult for authorities.

ARS 13-2508 Includes Quite a Bit of Unclear Language

While Arizona law does have a specific statute for resisting arrest as noted above, Arizona Revised Statute 13-2508 is difficult to pin down, not only for officers and citizenry, but even for the courts and judges themselves. The statute contains a lot of room for interpretation — or misinterpretation — that makes it incredibly broad, far reaching, and frankly, that gives both the state and the person who allegedly resisted arrest a good amount of wiggle room.
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Arizona Shannons Law Shooting Gun in the Air

Shannon’s Law & Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm in Arizona

Shannon’s Law is legislation that was passed in the state of Arizona that makes it illegal to discharge a firearm anywhere within the city limits of any city or town within the state of Arizona.

The law was passed in response to the 1999 gun-shooting tragedy that ended the life of Shannon Smith. As the story goes, Shannon Smith was casually walking around the backyard of her Central Phoenix home when suddenly, a bullet that had been fired into the air more than a mile away from her location struck her in the head and killed her.

Shannon Smith’s parents fought and won to create Shannon’s Law in a grassroots effort that included a veritable who’s who among Phoenix area prosecutors, politicians, area citizens, and law enforcement officials, among others, who wanted to see the legislative change that would restore peace in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, making it illegal to fire any type of gun or rifle into the air in an effort to avoid future tragedies such as the one that tragically took the life of Shannon Smith.

Known legally as Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-3107, enacted in 2000, Shannon’s Law makes it a felony for anyone, according to the law, “who, with criminal negligence discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality” within the state of Arizona.

Bullet falling from the sky

Not Every Discharge of a Firearm is a Felony in the State of Arizona

While it is true that Shannon’s Law makes it unlawful to discharge a firearm, it only does so when, according to the Shannon’s Law legislation, that person does so with criminal negligence, which may not always apply in every case. To prove this and obtain a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony charge, you may have to strike a plea bargain, but in the state of Arizona, these are relatively rare unless of course, you have propper defense lawyer representation.

It’s important to understand that, because of the notoriety Shannon’s law received upon its passage, and because the law provides for mandatory sentencing, cases that fall under its purview are prosecuted with relative aggressiveness when compared to other, similar offenses within the state of Arizona, and especially within the Greater Phoenix Metro Area.

However, the important exceptions to Shannon’s Law that some people may not be aware of include shooting that occurs within supervised outdoor shooting ranges, areas where hunting is permitted, and select other designated areas in and around Phoenix and other parts of the state of Arizona.

Illegally discharging a firearm and understanding Shannon's Law in Phoenix
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Arizona Assault Laws

In the state of Arizona, an aggravated assault is considered a Class 3 or Class 4 felony. There are several circumstances that can elevate a simple assault to the level of aggravated assault, including:

  • Serious physical injury or disfigurement occurred to another person (this can include using an automobile to cause these severe injuries).
  • Committing an assault on anyone in law enforcement, a teacher, firefighter, prosecutor, health care provider, or prison guard.
  • Any person over the age of 18 committing a simple assault or misdemeanor on a child younger than 15 years of age.
  • Using a deadly weapon such as a gun or a knife to place someone in immediate and imminent fear of serious bodily harm.
  • The assault occurred against a person who was restrained.
  • The assault occurred after entering a private residence of a victim.

Additional circumstances that will impact the length or severity of your sentence will include any past criminal history, and how severe the assault was in this case. Other instances such as causing a public inconvenience such as making a phone call or statement that causes a building evacuation can also be considered an assault. Finally, even just intimidating words or threatening actions can be considered an assault and can result in arrest, charges, and a possible conviction.

Contact an Experienced Attorney Today

Assault charges are a serious matter, and your permanent record and even freedom can be seriously affected. Arja Shah is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ who can review your assault case, and explain your options to you. She can fight for your rights, and provide you with strong representation in your criminal case. Contact Arja Shah today by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Aggravated Domestic Violence Penalties in Arizona

The state of Arizona takes domestic violence seriously and imposes harsh penalties on those convicted of violent and criminal activity within a domestic dispute. However, if a person has been previously convicted of a domestic violence charge, subsequent charges can be even more severe.

Aggravated Domestic Violence

Aggravated Domestic Violence is when a person has already been convicted at some point of a Domestic Violence Statute in Arizona. The charge of Aggravated Domestic Violence occurs after previous convictions and is a way that the state of Arizona can more severely punish those repeat offenders.

The law Arizona under Statute 13-3601.02 states that if a person is convicted of a third or subsequent violation of the Domestic Violence Statute within the past seven years, he or she can be charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence.

The penalties associated with Aggravated Domestic Violence are severe and include the following:

  • Conviction with Two Prior Domestic Violence Convictions: Range of four months to two and a half years incarceration
  • Conviction with Three Prior Domestic Violence Convictions: Range of eight months to two and a half years incarceration
  • Conviction with One Historical Felony Conviction: One to three and three quarters years in prison
  • Conviction with Two Historical Felony Convictions: Three to seven and a half years in prison

Oftentimes, in these cases, the prosecutors will want to ensure that the penalty involves some sort of incarceration.

Possible Defenses to Aggravated Domestic Violence

If you have been arrested and charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence, there are some possible defenses that exist.

  • Miranda Rights Violation. If the police officers did not read you your Miranda Rights, then it is possible that this violation by law enforcement can remove the charge, or mitigate the charge.
  • Self-Defense. If you were acting out in self-defense, then you were not the actual aggressor in the case. If you were protecting yourself from an attack and caused an injury that was necessary to ensure self-preservation or protection, you would be able to use self-defense against the charge.
  • Lack of Eyewitness Testimony or Evidence. Many times, these cases can be a he said/she said scenario. An investigation will need to be done regarding 911 calls, surveillance footage, medical records, and possible expert witnesses to help reconstruct the incident and whether there is truly enough evidence for an Aggravated Domestic Violence conviction.
  • Denial of Right to Counsel. Again, if the police officers did not provide you the opportunity to visit with counsel at any time before the interrogation began, this can be a violation of your rights.

These criminal charges are incredibly complex, and seeking the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and build possible defenses to your Aggravated Domestic Violence charge.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Being arrested and charged with an Aggravated Domestic Violence charge can be overwhelming and terrifying. Arja Shah, is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix, AZ. Learn your legal options and have strong representation by your side in your criminal case. Contact us today by calling (602) 888-0369 or by sending a message through the firm’s request form today.

Why Having Aggravated Assault Charges Defense in Tempe is Important

Facing aggravated assault charges is not easy. Violent offenders in Arizona face harsh penalties when they’re convicted. This is why it’s so important to hire aggravated assault charges defense from Shah Law Firm PLLC immediately after being arrested and charged. At Shah Law Firm PLLC, we fully understand all Arizona assault laws and can uphold them in all legal proceedings.

Violent Offense Laws in Arizona

In Arizona, most violent crimes are felonies and can lead to hefty fines, jail or prison time, and even years of probation, thus affecting your ability to live a normal life. This makes it essential to hire expert legal representation from Shah Law Firm PLLC. Our team of aggravated assault charges defense experts can investigate your case closely to determine the best possible defense strategies for you.

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation Today with Our Aggravated Assault Charges Defense Team

If you’ve been arrested and charged with aggravated assault charges in Tempe, you need to contact our Arizona law firm quickly. We offer no-cost legal consultations to those facing charges and needing legal representation. During this consultation, we can discuss the details of your case and answer any questions you have about the upcoming legal process.

To schedule this important consultation with our aggravated assault charges defense lawyer team, call us at (602) 888-0369. We serve individuals in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Goodyear, and Apache Junction, Arizona.

Contact Arja Today to Learn How She Can Help You!

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