Elder Abuse

Questions & Answers

Question: what is the meaning of domestic violence, and how many years can you get for this

Answer:

"Domestic violence" is not actually a crime. (This is a common misconception.) One cannot be convicted of "domestic violence." Instead, the Arizona Legislature has designated a list of specific criminal offenses that can be *associated* with domestic violence. That list is found at A.R.S. § 13-3601.If a prosecutor wants to convict a defendant for a domestic violence-related offense, he must first prove that one of the crimes in this list actually occurred.

In addition, the prosecutor must establish that at least one of the following circumstances is also true:

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, stepped grandparent, stepchild, stepped 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 her former spouse of the defendant were 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.
(c) The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant.
(d) If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination.

There is, however, a class 5 felony offense called "aggravated domestic violence," which can be found at A.R.S. § 13-3601.02. It applies to defendants who have two or more separate, prior convictions for domestic violence-related offenses.
Normally, someone convicted of a class five felony would face a presumptive prison term of 1.5 years, but could receive immediate probation. However, the aggravated domestic violence statute imposes mandatory jail time that must be served even if the judge would otherwise grant probation.

A defendant with two prior misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence related crimes, must serve at least four months in county jail before any type of release. A defendant with three or more prior such convictions must served eight months before release.

Of course, if the defendant commits an extremely serious crime against his spouse or partner (e.g. homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, etc.), then the defendant faces a much greater prison term if convicted-even though the offense in question might not bear the technical label "domestic violence."

In other words, the victim, an advocate or a social worker might look at the crime and certainly understand that it involved "domestic violence" (and I imagine that statistics are kept for this sort of thing), but the jury's written verdict would not bear that label.

November 05, 2006