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Criminal Law Blog

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Arizona?

June 23, 2015

Domestic violence is an assault crime between people of a close or intimate relationship, such as a husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend, relatives, or roommates. In order for assault to constitute domestic violence, the victim and perpetrator usually need to be living in the same household. In Arizona, domestic violence is usually a class one misdemeanor, but it may be elevated to a felony if there are serious weapons or injuries involved.

Additional charges

While a domestic violence charge can be elevated to a felony, it may also include the additional charge of disorderly conduct. This usually occurs when the incident resulted in a disturbance to the peace and quiet of the neighborhood. In many of these types of domestic violence cases, one of the parties calls 911. When the police arrive, they usually obtain recorded statements from both parties and witnesses. The police will also take photographs of any injuries. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, the police may or may not take one or both parties into custody.


A first offense class one misdemeanor for domestic violence can carry up to a six-month jail sentence. However, if there are no serious injuries and it is a first time offense, the charge usually doesn’t result in jail time. If the domestic violence charge is a felony, it may result in substantial prison time if weapons were involved or the injuries are very serious.


Depending on the circumstances of the case, someone charged with assault or domestic violence may be able to claim self-defense. A person charged with misdemeanor domestic violence is not entitled to a trial by jury. However, felony defendants do receive a jury trial. Either way, a domestic violence charge will show up on someone’s record in background checks for employment purposes.

If you are facing domestic violence charges, Tucson defense attorney Janet Altschuler Criminal Defense Attorney knows and understands the criminal justice system throughout Arizona. Before shifting her focus to criminal defense, Ms. Altschuler served as a prosecutor, so she understands how criminal prosecutors handle cases. To schedule a free consultation, please call (520) 829-1741.

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