Defendant in CourtThis is the next post in my series on what Phoenix residents can expect after having been charged with felony domestic violence. My last post discussed the handling of false domestic violence claims. Given that false claims are, unfortunately, somewhat common it is important to understand how to defend against such charges. In this post I will discuss mistakes which an accused should avoid after having been charged.

The first thing one charged with domestic violence should understand is that they must obey the no-contact order which will be put in place. After one is arrested, a Judge will order the defendant to not contact the accuser until the case is concluded. This prohibition includes all forms of communication (including in-person contact, text messages, phone calls, etc.). A violation of this order will result in two problems. First, the defendant will likely be arrested for violating the order and will face new criminal charges. Second, the defendant will likely damage any domestic violence defense as a violation of the no-contact order may be seen as evidence that the accused cannot control their emotions. Violating an order, therefore, can result in multiple negative consequences for a defendant.

The second mistake Arizona residents should avoid in such situations is to view domestic violence charges as a “private matter.” Many defendants incorrectly see such situations as a disagreement between themselves and their significant other. They then believe that the victim can “drop” the charges. This belief is not accurate. Once one has been arrested then it is no longer a private issue. It is then a matter between the defendant and the State of Arizona. That is why the case is the “State of Arizona vs. Defendant,” not “Ex vs. Defendant.” The only party that can drop the charges is, therefore, the state (the prosecutor). This misunderstanding leads to many defendants not taking a case seriously in the early stages and their defense often suffers as a result.

The final common mistake made is that people do not immediately consult with an attorney. Many defendants charged with felony domestic violence err in thinking that they can go to Court and simply “explain their side of things” to the Judge. These defendants are then surprised when they realize the serious nature with which the Court takes such matters. If you have been charged with this offense then you are facing fines, incarceration, the label of being a violent offender, and the loss of your right to carry a firearm. You should discuss your situation with counsel immediately.

Contact my office if you have been charged with felony domestic violence. In addition to to Phoenix, we service Maricopa County areas such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert as well as Pima County residents in Tucson.