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Arizona's Domestic Violence Laws

Have you been accused of domestic violence? In Arizona, domestic violence refers to stalking, threats of violence or actual physical violence towards one’s spouse, child, family member, member of the same household, or someone with whom the perpetrator has a child in common.

It can also include a victim who’s pregnant by someone other than the alleged abuser. To expand upon this, domestic violence can involve two people who were previously involved in a romantic relationship.

Usually a domestic violence case begins when someone in the home or a neighbor calls 911 during a domestic dispute. When the police officer arrives at the scene, the officer may arrest the suspect with or without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe that domestic violence has taken place.

This applies to misdemeanors and felonies, and it does not matter if the officer “witnessed” the altercation. Often, there’ll be other evidence, such as a black eye, strangulation marks on the victim’s neck, bruising, or disordered surroundings indicating a violent altercation. For example, a hole in the wall, a door that has been kicked in, and disarray that show signs of a struggle.

In domestic violence cases where physical injury has been inflicted or where the suspect has used, exhibited, or threatened to use a dangerous weapon or instrument, the officer will arrest any suspects ages 15 and over on the spot, with or without a warrant when there’s probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.

Can both parties be arrested? Yes, it is possible. In order for both people to be arrested, the officer must have reason to believe that each person independently committed an act of domestic violence.

However, this does not apply to people who fought back as an act of self-defense. Such individuals are not arrested for defending themselves against others’ acts of violence.

Firearms on the Premises

During a domestic violence call, police officers may ask if there is a firearm on the premises. If the officer learns that there is one, the officer may temporarily seize any firearms that are in the officer’s view or that were found following a consented search, especially when the officer has reason to believe that leaving the firearm could expose the victim to injury or death.

Conversely, any firearm owned by the victim will not be seized unless the officer has probable cause to believe that both parties may commit domestic violence.

In Arizona, domestic violence can be charged as any number of offenses, including assault, aggravated assault, unlawful imprisonment, and disorderly conduct, etc.

If you’re being accused of domestic violence, many of your rights are at risk, including your rights to bear arms and your rights to child custody. Contact the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC for a FREE consultation.