Domestic violence is a serious offense in any state. Arizona is no different. Thus, the prosecution of domestic violence in Phoenix moves forward in a very aggressive manner. 

Felony domestic violence charges are similar in nature to those of assault or battery. But they differ by way of the relationship between victim and perpetrator.

To be domestic violence, the relationship between the victim and assailant must meet certain standards. That is, it must fall under the criminal domestic violence statute’s definition. We will explain those relationships further later on. 

If you receive charges of a felony domestic violence crime, you need to know your rights. Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Belén Olmedo Guerra is here to fight for those rights. In this post, we’ll answer your questions regarding felony domestic violence and what to do if you’re charged.

Is Domestic Violence A Felony Or A Misdemeanor?

In most cases, domestic violence is a misdemeanor, but this depends on the severity of the crime. In Arizona, if you’re charged with 3 misdemeanors of violence within a period of 7 years, the charge increases in severity. You will then get charged with a domestic violence felony.

The charge generally depends on the circumstances surrounding the act. It also depends on what the prosecutor can prove. They will look at several factors to determine if it’s a misdemeanor or felony. The most important aspect is the severity of the injuries suffered by the alleged victim.

Some other instances where domestic violence is a felony of the first offense might include:

  • Bodily harm or sexual assault enacted on a minor.
  • Serious bodily injury to the victim.
  • Victim was sexually assaulted.
  • Perpetrator has prior convictions for separate, unrelated crimes.

Felony convictions carry much heavier penalties than misdemeanor crimes. This includes longer prison times, longer probation, and more community service hours. It also results in a higher amount of fines. (See our blog: Arizona Felony Sentencing Chart.)

What Is Felony Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence doesn’t only refer to violent acts. It can also relate to physical, sexual, emotional, or neglectful abuse. Economic or financial control is also a form of domestic abuse. 

Different states have different classifications for a domestic relationship according to their statute. In Arizona, it is domestic violence if the perpetrator inflicts abuse on any of the following:

  • Spouse
  • Partner
  • Boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Roommate
  • Relative or relative of spouse
    • Sibling, child, in-law, grandparent, etc.
  • Ex of any sort
  • Parent of their living or unborn child
  • Current or former romantic or sexual partner

Any type of intimate relationship with the victim equates to a domestic relationship. The relationship can be a previous or current one. 

Here’s a list of the more common crimes associated with domestic violence:

  • Assault and Battery
    • With or without a dangerous weapon
  • Criminal Trespassing
  • Violation of Protective Order
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Criminal Abandonment
  • Threatening and Harassing
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual Assault
  • Stalking
    • Including aggravated and cyberstalking
  • Witness Intimidation 
  • Criminal Neglect

What Is The Maximum Sentence For Domestic Violence?

The sentence for a domestic violence charge depends on a few factors. The most obvious factor is if the charge was a misdemeanor or a felony. If the act involved a weapon, that can also raise your sentence by a significant amount.

For a felony domestic violence charge, you can expect at least one year of prison. At most, you will likely receive 5 years. You may also be looking at up to $10,000 in fines.

If the victim suffered severe injuries, you may receive consecutive prison sentences.

How Can I Get Out Of A Felony Domestic Violence Charge?

It is not impossible to get out of a felony domestic violence charge. The first step to getting out of a felony charge, or at least lowering your sentence, is to get a qualified Phoenix criminal defense attorney.

If you’re falsely accused, you need someone on your side who can prove it. Unfortunately, false allegations of violence are very common. They’re sometimes to gain child custody or due to a bitter breakup or divorce. If the accusations made were false, it is crucial to your case that you receive the proper representation.

Disproving the victim’s claims is one way to get you out of a charge. But there are several other ways of creating a successful defense strategy. Belen’s defense strategies prove to be very much effective. Some of what she’ll work to prove include:

  • Lack of evidence of any injuries or harm.
  • The assault happened in an act of self-defense.
  • Any injuries sustained were the result of an accident.
  • The alleged victim’s claim was vindictive.
  • The defendant was defending another individual, child, or property.
  • Lack of witnesses and corroboration by others.
  • The assault occurred in an act of mutual combat.
  • A violation of your rights.

What Do I Do If I’m Charged With Felony Domestic Violence?

Once you’re accused of domestic violence, it is hard to get out of. Even if the victim no longer wishes to press charges, the district attorney may still.

However, with a lawyer like Belén, there’s still a chance to close the case before it’s taken to court. Yet it is ultimately left up to the prosecutor whether they decide to move forward with the case. A strong negotiator may be the difference between going to court and having the case dropped.

If you’re charged with felony domestic violence, it is necessary to seek an experienced attorney. This might be the only way to get your charges dropped or reduced, and it is important that someone is there to protect your rights. One of these rights is the right to an attorney. Before you speak with anyone, demand to access your right to representation and call Belén.

Contact Belen Law Firm for Felony Domestic Violence Defense

If you’re charged with domestic violence, let Belén Olmedo Guerra fight for you and your rights. She will inspect every piece of evidence the prosecution intends to use against you. Using this information, she’ll work towards the best possible outcome for you. Contact the Belén Law Firm today to discuss your Arizona domestic violence charges. We offer free consultations and are available 24/7. You can reach us at 602-715-0908 or visit our website for more information.