Domestic Violence Article


Domestic Violence in Arizona Criminal Law

This article provides a brief overview of domestic violence in Arizona criminal law. Not all forms of domestic violence are listed as crimes in the Arizona Criminal Code. To learn more about the many other serious forms of domestic violence, please see the “What is Domestic Violence?” article on this website.

How does the Arizona Criminal Code define domestic violence?

The Arizona Criminal Code uses a “relationship test” to determine whether a specific crime is an act of domestic violence. If the perpetrator of a crime and the victim of that crime have or previously had a specific kind of relationship, then the crime is an act of domestic violence.

What kinds of relationships meet the domestic violence relationship test?

Under the Arizona Criminal Code, a crime is an act of domestic violence if any of the following apply:

• the victim and the perpetrator are married or were previously married

• the victim and the perpetrator live together or previously lived together

• the victim and the perpetrator have a child in common

• the victim or the perpetrator is pregnant by the other person

• the victim is related to the perpetrator or to the perpetrator’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister

• the victim is related to the perpetrator or to the perpetrator’s spouse by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law

• the victim is a child who lives or previously lived in the same household as the perpetrator and is related by blood to a former spouse of the perpetrator or to a person who lives or previously lived in the same household as the perpetrator

• the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship

In determining whether the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship, the following factors may be considered:

• the type of relationship

• the length of the relationship

• the frequency of the interaction between the victim and the perpetrator

• if the relationship has ended, how much time has passed since the relationship ended

What kinds of crimes are acts of domestic violence if the victim and the perpetrator meet the relationship test?

If the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator meets the domestic violence relationship test, then the perpetrator’s crime is an act of domestic violence if the perpetrator’s crime is any of the following:

• any dangerous crime against children (A.R.S. § 13-705)

• negligent homicide (A.R.S. § 13-1102)

• manslaughter (A.R.S. § 13-1103)

• second degree murder (A.R.S. § 13-1104)

• first degree murder (A.R.S. § 13-1105)

• endangerment (A.R.S. § 13-1201)

• threatening or intimidating (A.R.S. § 13-1202)

• assault (A.R.S. § 13-1203)

• aggravated assault (A.R.S. § 13-1204)

• custodial interference (A.R.S. § 13-1302)

• unlawful imprisonment (A.R.S. § 13-1303)

• kidnapping (A.R.S. § 13-1304)

• sexual assault (A.R.S. § 13-1406)

• unlawful disclosure of images depicting states of nudity or specific sexual activities (A.R.S. § 13-1425)

• criminal trespass (A.R.S. § 13-1502-04)

• criminal damage (A.R.S. § 13-1602)

• interfering with judicial proceedings (A.R.S. § 13-2810)

• disorderly conduct (A.R.S. § 13-2904(A)(1),(2),(3),(6))

• cruelty to animals by neglect, abandonment, or mistreatment (A.R.S. § 13-2910(A)(8),(9))

• preventing or interfering with use of a telephone in an emergency (A.R.S. § 13-2915(A)(3))

• use of an electronic communication to terrify, intimidate, threaten, or harass (A.R.S. § 13-2916)

• harassment (A.R.S. § 13-2921)

• aggravated harassment (A.R.S. § 13-2921.01)

• stalking (A.R.S. § 13-2923)

• surreptitious (secret, unauthorized) photographing, videotaping, filming, or digitally recording or viewing (A.R.S. § 13-3019)

• aggravated domestic violence* (A.R.S. § 13-3601.02)

• child or vulnerable adult abuse (A.R.S. § 13-3623)

* if a perpetrator commits a third or subsequent criminal act of domestic violence within 7 years then they may be charged with the crime of aggravated domestic violence

What happens when a crime is an act of domestic violence?

If a perpetrator has committed any crime listed above and the victim and the perpetrator meet the relationship test, then the perpetrator has committed an act of domestic violence in addition to the underlying crime.

Under the Arizona Criminal Code, domestic violence is not an independent crime. Instead, it is a way to increase the punishment and/or penalties that come with being convicted of a crime that was also an act of domestic violence.

For example, if the victim and the perpetrator are in a romantic relationship and the perpetrator assaults the victim, then the victim may be charged with the crime of assault and, if convicted of the crime of assault, must also be ordered to complete a court-approved domestic violence offender treatment program at the perpetrator’s own expense. The perpetrator may also have their firearms taken away.

Published: April 2020

Sources and further reading

The information provided in this article comes from the following sections of the Arizona Criminal Code:

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 3601: https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/03601.htm

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 3601.01: https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/03601-01.htm

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 3601.02: https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/03601-02.htm


Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I was served with an injunction against harassment and was never informed by the plantiff that I was harassing her...we were friends. Now I have been given this form and I don't know what to do...she never indicated that she felt threaten by me and showed no changes in her behaviors that would even give the slightest clue as to her feelings...what do I do to protect myself now...
  • Our 16 year old son became aggressive after a shopping outing and began beating up my wife taking her to the ground. We are wondering what legal options we have since the answer we are getting from all agencies is that we just have to deal with it and work it out ourselves. We are looking for help of any kind including juvenile detention or detainment in a health facility. I am afraid to leave the house if our son is there and afraid of what he might do in the middle of the night since he has uttered death threats.
  • Can an order of protection be issued to a defendant out of state without an arrest being mad or charges being filed?
  • Is there a law or work on a law regarding couples involved in domestic violence requiring them to seek counseling separately. Or, more specifically, if doing counseling with a couple when domestic violence is apparent, are therapists then required to refer to separate therapists for the individuals of the couple?
  • My ex husband has now been incarcerated for the past 5 years. He has charges of domestic violence and aggravated domestic violence against me which happened in front of the kids. I currently have sole custody and he has not seen or spoken to the kids in at least 4 years. I would like to terminate his parental rights, is this a possibility?
  • Can a mother get in trouble if they know their 30 year old daughter is in a abusive relationship. How can the help legally?
  • I can't afford an attorney even through the modest means program & no one is willing to help me pro bono. I filed for divorce from my abusive husband & we reached a settlement agreement on 4/28/16. But he continues to use the judicial system to make false accusations against me & keep me in court. How can I stop this harassment, and why won't any attorneys help me pro bono? So many claim to be DV advocates but no one is advocating for me & my daugher.
  • My wife kicked me out by threatening to call the cops on me and tell them im violent. I left because she was the one slapping me. How do I get my items? Do I still have to pay rent due on 5th? Kicked out on the 1st.
  • I have called sheriff 4 times now on ex wife I'm the victim and she has stole my meds from cvs and my identity and my daughter identity too she filed my taxes got refund and spent it then she got stimulus money too she filed my unemployment and was try to keep my unemployment money what can I sue police dept ? I feel because I'm a guy it's ok for her to assault me?
  • I'm a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault. It's been four years since the last domestic occurred and I moved to Washington to get away from my abuser with my kids. I am wondering since it has been four years ago if there is anything that I can do now like make a police report or legal action now.

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
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