A lot of my clients are charged with what are called Domestic Violence (”DV”) crimes. In Arizona Domestic Violence is a designation and not a crime in itself. So a person can be charged with Assault and have it be non Domestic Violence. A person can also be charged with Assault and it could have a Domestic Violence designation.
Most people think that the domestic violence designation applies to only romantic partners like husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, but this is not true. Under the Arizona statute Domestic Violence has a wide ranging definition. Relationships such as relatives, or roommates fall under the Domestic Violence Statute in Arizona. Several years ago I represented a roommate that got into a fight with his college roommate. Because the two had been living together the crime was designated a Domestic Violence. In Arizona a domestic violence offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
the full language of Arizona’s Domestic Violence statute is below:
13-3601. Domestic violence; definition; classification; sentencing option; arrest and procedure for violation; weapon seizure
A. “Domestic violence” means any act that is a dangerous crime against children as defined in section 13-705 or an offense prescribed in section 13-1102, 13-1103, 13-1104, 13-1105, 13-1201, 13-1202, 13-1203, 13-1204, 13-1302, 13-1303, 13-1304, 13-1406, 13-1425, 13-1502, 13-1503, 13-1504, 13-1602 or 13-2810, section 13-2904, subsection A, paragraph 1, 2, 3 or 6, section 13-2910, subsection A, paragraph 8 or 9, section 13-2915, subsection A, paragraph 3 or section 13-2916, 13-2921, 13-2921.01, 13-2923, 13-3019, 13-3601.02 or 13-3623, if any of the following applies:
1. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.
2. The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
3. The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
4. The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
5. The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
6. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship. The following factors may be considered in determining whether the relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship:
(a) The type of relationship.
(b) The length of the relationship.
© The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant.
(d) If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination.
B. A peace officer, with or without a warrant, may arrest a person if the officer has probable cause to believe that domestic violence has been committed and the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the offense, whether the offense is a felony or a misdemeanor and whether the offense was committed within or without the presence of the peace officer. In cases of domestic violence involving the infliction of physical injury or involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, the peace officer shall arrest a person who is at least fifteen years of age, with or without a warrant, if the officer has probable cause to believe that the offense has been committed and the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the offense, whether the offense was committed within or without the presence of the peace officer, unless the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the circumstances at the time are such that the victim will be protected from further injury. Failure to make an arrest does not give rise to civil liability except pursuant to section 12-820.02. In order to arrest both parties, the peace officer shall have probable cause to believe that both parties independently have committed an act of domestic violence. An act of self-defense that is justified under chapter 4 of this title is not deemed to be an act of domestic violence. The release procedures available under section 13-3883, subsection A, paragraph 4 and section 13-3903 are not applicable to arrests made pursuant to this subsection.
C. A peace officer may question the persons who are present to determine if a firearm is present on the premises. On learning or observing that a firearm is present on the premises, the peace officer may temporarily seize the firearm if the firearm is in plain view or was found pursuant to a consent to search and if the officer reasonably believes that the firearm would expose the victim or another person in the household to a risk of serious bodily injury or death. A firearm that is owned or possessed by the victim shall not be seized unless there is probable cause to believe that both parties independently have committed an act of domestic violence.
D. If a firearm is seized pursuant to subsection C of this section, the peace officer shall give the owner or possessor of the firearm a receipt for each seized firearm. The receipt shall indicate the identification or serial number or other identifying characteristic of each seized firearm. Each seized firearm shall be held for at least seventy-two hours by the law enforcement agency that seized the firearm.
E. If a firearm is seized pursuant to subsection C of this section, the victim shall be notified by a peace officer before the firearm is released from temporary custody.
F. If there is reasonable cause to believe that returning a firearm to the owner or possessor may endanger the victim, the person who reported the assault or threat or another person in the household, the prosecutor shall file a notice of intent to retain the firearm in the appropriate superior, justice or municipal court. The prosecutor shall serve notice on the owner or possessor of the firearm by certified mail. The notice shall state that the firearm will be retained for not more than six months following the date of seizure. On receipt of the notice, the owner or possessor may request a hearing for the return of the firearm, to dispute the grounds for seizure or to request an earlier return date. The court shall hold the hearing within ten days after receiving the owner’s or possessor’s request for a hearing. At the hearing, unless the court determines that the return of the firearm may endanger the victim, the person who reported the assault or threat or another person in the household, the court shall order the return of the firearm to the owner or possessor.
G. A peace officer is not liable for any act or omission in the good faith exercise of the officer’s duties under subsections C, D, E and F of this section.
H. Each indictment, information, complaint, summons or warrant that is issued and that involves domestic violence shall state that the offense involved domestic violence and shall be designated by the letters DV. A domestic violence charge shall not be dismissed or a domestic violence conviction shall not be set aside for failure to comply with this subsection.
I. A person who is arrested pursuant to subsection B of this section may be released from custody in accordance with the Arizona rules of criminal procedure or any other applicable statute. Any order for release, with or without an appearance bond, shall include pretrial release conditions that are necessary to provide for the protection of the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons and may provide for additional conditions that the court deems appropriate, including participation in any counseling programs available to the defendant.
J. When a peace officer responds to a call alleging that domestic violence has been or may be committed, the officer shall inform in writing any alleged or potential victim of the procedures and resources available for the protection of the victim including:
1. An order of protection pursuant to section 13-3602, an injunction pursuant to section 25-315 and an injunction against harassment pursuant to section 12-1809.
2. The emergency telephone number for the local police agency.
3. Telephone numbers for emergency services in the local community.
4. Websites for local resources related to domestic violence.
K. A peace officer is not civilly liable for noncompliance with subsection J of this section.
L. If a person is convicted of an offense involving domestic violence and the victim was pregnant at the time of the commission of the offense, at the time of sentencing the court shall take into consideration the fact that the victim was pregnant and may increase the sentence.
M. An offense that is included in domestic violence carries the classification prescribed in the section of this title in which the offense is classified. If the defendant committed a felony offense listed in subsection A of this section against a pregnant victim and knew that the victim was pregnant or if the defendant committed a felony offense causing physical injury to a pregnant victim and knew that the victim was pregnant, the maximum sentence otherwise authorized for that violation shall be increased by up to two years.
N. When a peace officer responds to a call alleging that domestic violence has been or may be committed, the officer shall determine if a minor is present. If a minor is present, the peace officer shall conduct a child welfare check to determine if the child is safe and if the child might be a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.