How Domestic Violence Charges' Can Impact Family Life

There is no doubt that domestic violence is a very real problem in the United Stated States. According to a 2010 survey by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, about one in four women and one in seven men have received severe physical abuse from an intimate partner during their lifetime. It is important to remember, however, that not every allegation of domestic violence is true. Sometimes one partner will make a false allegation against another, whether it is to gain the upper hand in a custody battle or whether it is simply to get revenge over a personal matter.

All it takes is one allegation to completely turn a family upside-down. Once an individual is convicted of domestic violence, that person can receive criminal penalties and a criminal record. Beyond that, however, the individual can also be issued a restraining order, which can separate that person from his or her children. In some cases, a parent can even lose custody or child visitation rights. It is important to fully understand the consequences of domestic violence charges so you can see why it is crucial to obtain strong legal counsel in these types of cases.

According to Arizona law, domestic violence is physical abuse by one individual against someone he or she has an intimate relationship with, such as a child, a spouse, a person one has child with, a close relative, etc. When a court determines whether or not to convict a defendant of this criminal offense, multiple factors will be considered. These can include police reports, medical reports, witness testimony, school records, child protective services records, domestic violence shelter records and findings from other courts, according to §25.403.03.

As soon a parent has been found by a court to have committed domestic violence, it will automatically be assumed that his or her sole- or joint-custody of the child will be against the child's best interests. According to Arizona law, the court will consider several factors to determine whether the accused parent should be allowed to have custody:

  • Whether the individual's custody rights or time spent with the the child is in the child's best interests
  • Whether the parent completed a batterer's prevention program
  • Whether the parent completed a drug or alcohol counseling program, if applicable
  • Whether the parent completed a parenting class
  • Whether there were any further instances of domestic violence

In some cases, a court might grant the parent visitation rights but require that certain conditions be met. Some of those conditions might require that visits be supervised, that the parent exchange the child with the other parent at court-designated "protected settings," that the accused parent participate in special classes and counseling, or that the parent follow various other restrictions.

Besides these negative impacts, an individual accused of domestic violence can also be at risk of facing other penalties usually associated with criminal convictions, such as probation, jail time and fines. In certain cases, individuals can even be charged with "aggravated domestic violence," which can carry harsher penalties

If you are being accused of this type of criminal offense, you and your family likely have a lot at stake. It is best to work with a highly skilled professional who can provide you with the top-quality level of criminal defense that you need, such as Scottsdale Criminal Defense Attorney Randall J. Craig. To learn more more information about how to challenge domestic violence charges in the state of Arizona, don't hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Randall J. Craig. Our firm handles cases in courts located throughout the Phoenix Metro area.