What is Considered Domestic Violence?
A domestic violence is filed against an individual by another individual who is related to them by marriage or lives in the same house as the accused. In Arizona, the statutory definition of domestic violence applies not only in crimes against spouses, although it is the most common, but also to crimes done against partners, former partners, individuals who are currently dating and the elderly. The charge of domestic violence has varying levels and forms, from simple assault to murder. It is also in the coverage of the domestic violence law such acts concerning violation of the order of protection, like a restraining order. The restraining order does not necessarily require physical presence; even a late phone call to a child or to the ex-spouse is considered a violation when a restraining order is still in effect.
Because of the alarming number of violence within a household being reported, the state of Arizona focused on strengthening its laws. The law enforcement department is now developing new policies while the court system is actively implementing the changes. In some cases, the prosecutors are filing charges even if the victim refuses to participate due to fear.
The Arizona Revised Statute 13-3601 lists the affected relationships involved in a domestic violence. It can be between two married individuals, currently or in the past. It can also be between unmarried individuals residing in the same house, same gender cohabitation is included. If both parties are not married or are not living together, it is still considered as domestic violence if they have one common child together or the woman is currently pregnant by the concerned party.
The two other relationship definitions are quite broad. The crime done is considered as domestic violence when the victim is related to the defendant or the spouse of the defendant by blood or court order. This includes grandparents, parent-in-law, stepchild and the like. The other one is when the victim is a child who is currently residing or resided in the same house as the defendant and should be related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or any person who is residing or resided in the same household.
Domestic violence is not taken lightly in Arizona. The punishment, depending on the level of crime, is severe. The conviction can result to limitation in child visitation rights, loss of privilege to own a gun, mandatory counseling and prison sentence in more serious cases. When the domestic violence involves the use of deadly weapon and injury, then the crime is often prosecuted as a felony.