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
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