›››The following content is an excerpt from a live interview with Richard Jacobs founder of my DUI Attorney dot org. The interview has been transcribed and contains information for educational purposes only. Please call Michael Munoz to get legal advice for your particular situation
Interviewer : Okay. Let’s talk about domestic violence. So when I think of domestic violence, I think of husbands and wives beating each other up, or the husband beating up the wife, that kind of stuff. But what is domestic violence? Can it be something lighter than that? Can it just be people arguing, for instance?
Mike: Yes. As a matter of fact, a lot of people hear the words “domestic violence,” or the term DV, and they think that this is automatically a husband and a wife situation, and it’s automatically violent. The truth is domestic violence cases have a pretty broad range. In Arizona, for a case to have the designation of being a domestic violence case, there’s numerous circumstances that can apply. We have the one obvious one, which is a husband and wife. Some of the others that people don’t know exist are the fact that, two people that live together in the same house, even if they are not married or dating, can be considered a domestic violence case. What this means is, two college guys could live in the same apartment, get in an argument with each other, and if the police get called because they’re either arguing or wrestling or fighting, that case can be turned into a domestic violence case because they live in the same household. Also, if two people who are not married share a child in common but don’t live with each other, and they get into an argument or something happens between them, that can be considered a domestic violence case. So there’s really a lot of different ways a person can be charged with domestic violence, and these cases have a broad range. A very common charge in Arizona is disorderly conduct, it’s a class 1 misdemeanor, and it has the domestic violence allegation attached. The elements of disorderly conduct are essentially, that you disturbed the peace of someone in your home or your neighborhood, and then when they add the allegation of domestic violence, the state must prove that you either live with the person, are married to the person, or have a child in common. So, that is a very common offense. It does not necessarily mean you beat your wife. It might just mean that you’re two college roommates and you live with each other and you got in an argument.
Interviewer : Let’s talk about more family situations. Those are probably more common, right? Where it is husband and wife or the parents and the children, or people living together that are in a family, right?
So it doesn’t have to be physical in order to be considered domestic violence, right?
Mike: For example, disorderly conduct can be threatening behavior, meaning verbal, it can be disturbing somebody’s peace. That is a very common one here in Arizona. So, an example is boyfriend and girlfriend live with each other. They get into a very loud argument, let’s see at 10 o’clock at night. So the neighbor calls the police. Police show up and they said, “Listen, is anybody hurt? What happened?” They say, “We were arguing and I’m mad about this. And I’m mad about this.” It’s very common for the police, because of liability issues, to make an arrest. What they’ll do is they’ll make an arrest and they’ll book somebody, and take them out of the situation. Because they don’t want these two people who are mad at each other, they don’t want the situation to progress. Well, the problem with that now is you may have one person who may have never been in trouble before, who didn’t touch anybody or hurt anybody, but now he is facing a criminal charge and it also has the term domestic violence attached to it. The reason why that’s very important is that criminal charge, if he’s convicted, can make him look like somebody he’s not for the rest of his life. Every time he applies to a job, or a different school, or a program, if he has a conviction that says he’s been convicted of a domestic violence offense, it sounds a lot worse than it really is.
That’s why those cases turn out to be much more important than they seem when it happened because to the person who was arrested, they think, “Well, I just got in an argument with my girlfriend.” They don’t realize that if they’re convicted, the ramifications might last forever.
Interviewer : Can you say what percentage of these domestic violence cases the victim considers it a mistake, or it’s a real problem?
Mike: I don’t know a percentage on that, but that does happen.
Interviewer : What happens if you have more than one conviction of domestic violence? How much more serious does it get?
Mike: In Arizona, they have a type of a three strike for misdemeanor domestic violence cases. What that means is, if you have two domestic violence prior convictions, and they’re both misdemeanors. Because let’s say somebody, either their family member, their wife, or their girlfriend, they keep on getting arrested. On their third offense, if they’re arrested, the third offense can be charged as a felony. So if this is a continuing issue, where you keep getting arrested for disorderly conduct because you keep arguing with your wife and neighbors are calling, people should know that on the third arrest, that third arrest can turn into a felony, because of the multiple prior misdemeanor convictions that you have.
Interviewer : So you’ll automatically be charged with a felony.
Mike: It’s a form of a third strike.