Why Did I Get Charged With Domestic Violence For Arguing With Someone?

A lot of clients are confused about how they ended up with a domestic violence charge for what seems like a relatively minor incident with someone they are not intimately involved with. What makes something “domestic violence”?

Answered simply: your relationship to the alleged victim can change everything. Domestic violence is added to any underlying charge (disorderly conduct, criminal damage, assault, violating a restraining order, etc.) when there is a domestic relationship between the victim and the defendant.

When many think of domestic violence, they think of the stereotypical husband/wife or girlfriend/boyfriend scenario. Under Arizona’s domestic violence statute, however, many relationships can unexpectedly qualify. The relationship need not have been romantic in nature. You need not have dated or lived with the person involved. The person with whom you were involved in some type of disagreement or altercation might have been:

  • Someone you currently live with or used to live with, or a current or former spouse. This can mean even a former roommate.
  • Someone you have a child with (even if you never lived with or married them).
  • Someone who is pregnant with your child/if you are pregnant, the father of your child
  • Anyone who is related to you by blood or court order:
    • Parent
    • Grandparent
    • Child
    • Grandchild
    • Brother/sister
  • Anyone related to you by marriage:
    • Mother/father-in-law
    • Grandparent-in-law
    • Sister/brother-in-law
    • Step-parent, Step-grandparent, step-child
  • A child who has ever lived in your household or is related to someone who lives in or used to live in your household
  • Someone with whom you currently have or previously have had a romantic OR sexual relationship (in determining this, the court can look to the type of relationship, how long it lasted, how often the parties interacted, and how long ago it ended)

As you can see, a lot of people you know (and even people you don’t know) can fall under one of those categories. Because the consequences of a domestic violence charge and conviction are so serious, contact a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in fighting these charges. For a free consultation, call our office today!