Domestic violence (DV) is not an offense in Arizona. It's more akin to an enhancer of a crime. When certain crimes are committed, domestic violence can be attached to the crime, and as such, upon conviction of the charge, the domestic violence distinction will cause a sentence that includes additional penalties and domestic violence offender program. One of these crimes is criminal damage. If a person, who allegedly commits the act of criminal damage against another person, has one of the following relationships with the victim of the criminal damage crime, then the alleged suspect will be charged with DV Criminal Damage and not criminal damage on its own merit. Relationships that qualify for a domestic violence variable include:
- Current or former spouses
- Current or former romantic or sexual relationship
- Persons who reside or resided in the same household
- Persons who have a child together
- Defendant or the victim is pregnant by the other party
- Victim is related to the defendant or 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, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law
- Child victim who resides or resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to someone residing in the house.
DV Criminal Damage: the Offense & Potential Consequences
DV Criminal Damage, a domestic violence offense, is charged when the alleged criminal damage activity involves two or more persons whose relationship falls within any of the above-enumerated domestic violence relationships. According to ARS § 13-1602, a person commits criminal damage when he or she, among other things, defaces or damages property of another person, who would be -- in DV Criminal Damage cases -- the domestic relation.
Because of the domestic violence designation attached to the charge, you may face additional consequences as the result of a conviction even for a misdemeanor offense. For example, you may lose your right to possess a firearm.
DV Criminal Damage: Possible Defenses
If you are facing a DV criminal damage charge, you need a competent lawyer. The domestic violence charge alone can damage your reputation and disrupt your life in meaningful ways. A conviction will only compound the consequences you may already be experiencing. Though the state prosecutes domestic violence cases aggressively, we fight back. We approach your defense on multiple fronts and will use each defense at our disposal to weaken the prosecution's case against you. There are three components that we will pay particular attention to:
- The element of intent. You cannot have committed the offense if there was no intent involved in the act of damaging something that belongs to another person.
- The element of recklessness. Recklessness requires a lower showing than intent, but it still must be present in order for the act of criminal damage to have occurred. To have been criminally reckless, you must have acted in a way that is a gross deviation from the standard of conduct a reasonable person would observe if in the same or similar situation.
- Property of Another. The prosecution must prove that the property damaged belonged to someone else other than the defendant. If the property is the defendant's, then there is no case.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys at Sherick & Bleier Law Office will put together a thorough, aggressive strategy to breakdown the prosecution's argument. During pre-trial, counsel will lean heavily on negotiations to have the case dismissed. Alternatively, depending on the circumstances, we will pursue a plea agreement that is in your best interests. At Sherick & Bleier Law Office, we communicate with you throughout the course of your defense, and work tirelessly on your behalf whether it's negotiating your case with the prosecution or arguing your case before a judge and jury.
Comprehensive, Smart Criminal Defense in Tucson, AZ
If you are charged with domestic violence criminal damage in Tucson, Arizona, it is imperative that you retain an experienced, resourceful criminal defense attorney. Contact Sherick and Bleier Law Office today at 520-318-3939 to schedule a consultation.