Being accused of and arrested for domestic violence is not just devastating, it can also be stressful when you must prove your innocence. In the state of Arizona, domestic violence can be defined in a number of ways, and the associated charges can carry with them hefty fines, time in jail, and lasting effects on your professional, personal and social life. To best prepare for your day in court, consider hiring an experienced, dedicated domestic violence lawyer.
What if I was defending myself during the incident?
This is a common question. In some domestic violence cases, the blame falls onto the wrong person, or the entire story fails to crystallize in court. While self-defense guidelines vary from state to state, it’s important to discuss your role in the dispute with your defense lawyer if you’d like to claim self-defense.
Will this be a misdemeanor or felony charge?
Because every domestic violence case is unique, you should talk to a defense attorney to determine what sort of charges you’re facing. Arizona has very specific criteria when it comes to determining whether a case is a misdemeanor or felony charge. For example, if a defendant is currently facing his or her third misdemeanor charge for domestic violence within a seven-year period, he or she will be charged with a felony.
How long will the charges stay on my record?
Depending on your level of misdemeanor or felony charge, this incident can follow you for the rest of your life. Remember that every state has its own rules and regulations for domestic violence charges, how they’re recorded, and how long they’re kept on the defendant’s record. Arizona is no different in this regard. Discuss with your attorney your options for resuming your life once the case has been settled. Make sure that your defense lawyer has all the information he needs to best counsel you.
Can I have the charges dropped?
In the state of Arizona, the victim and defendant cannot simply request to have the charges dropped and the case thrown out just because they have moved past the issue and no longer want to face it in court. Domestic violence charges are picked up by the state, so there are several factors to consider when it comes to having charges dropped. While it is possible, you must first discuss your wish to have the charges dropped with your attorney. From there, you can take steps toward that end if your case qualifies.
What legal fees will you charge?
The answer to this question varies from attorney to attorney. When choosing a defense lawyer, it’s a good idea to ask about your legal fees. This way, you’ll have a good idea as to what options you have and how much money you will be expected to pay in upfront fees and installments.
How much experience do you have in domestic violence cases?
When entering a domestic violence court case, you do not want to feel like you’re being represented by an attorney that is not well-versed in Arizona domestic violence law. Because of this, it’s a good idea to ask your potential attorney about his or her experience in the field, how many cases they’ve worked, and how much knowledge they have to help you throughout this situation.
What can I expect to occur during the court date?
During domestic violence hearings, the judge will first review the details of the case and the charges you face. You will be reminded of your rights and given a chance to enter a plea before the case proceeds, bail is determined, and any protective orders against you are evaluated. How the case carries on from there will depend upon the nature of the case. Discuss with your defense lawyer what you can expect to experience during your hearing so that you can best prepare yourself.
What might happen between myself and my children?
Your charges might be more severe if your children were present or involved in the incident. This can interfere with custody or visitation, especially if a protective order was filed on their behalf, so it’s good to start asking questions ahead of time. If you do not want the charges to have a negative effect on your relationship with your children, talk to your attorney about the charges you’re facing and how they will impact your family dynamic.
If I’m found guilty, what punishment might I face?
There are several factors that have to do with what sentencing will entail if you’re found guilty of domestic violence in the state of Arizona. The nature of the offense, your past charges, and many other pieces of information are taken into account when your consequence is being decided by a court of law. Some individuals face fines, counseling, and jail time while others face time in prison for a felony offense. Your defense attorney can help shed light on the factors that will determine what happens after a “guilty” verdict.
What happens if I’m found “not guilty”?
One might think that a “not guilty” verdict is the end of the issue and everything will go back to normal as soon as the court date is over. However, this is not necessarily the case. To determine how your life might be impacted by the whole ordeal, despite receiving a “not guilty” verdict, discuss the matter with your attorney.
Having a great legal team at your side is the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re faced with domestic violence charges. At McPhie Law, we have a long track record of success. Our attorneys always strive to achieve the best outcomes for their clients.