Domestic Violence

questions & answers

Question: I was arrested when I told the officer that I hit my ex-boyfriend. He had thrown a blanket over me and grabbed me. I fought back out of fear. My roommate intervened and my ex left before the police arrived. My ex threatened me if I told the police anything that got him in trouble, so I didn't know what to tell them. I got arrested because I said I hit my ex. My ex gave no statement, hasn't been in contact with the prosecutor, and there isn't any evidence that I did anything but protect myself. My roommate was there and is a witness. Can I possibly be found guilty for protecting myself?

Answer: Unfortunately, that is a possibility. But you do have several things working in your favor. First, the burden of proof lies with the government to prove your guilt - and it has to do so beyond any reasonable doubt. That probably means they will need to produce your ex as a witness for the trial.

 Second, it is good that you have a witness of your own. You should encourage this roommate to make a statement to the police as soon as possible. In fact, the police should have interviewed the roommate that same night, but perhaps they did?

 Lastly, you are entitled to defend yourself with reasonable force under Arizona law. You might want to look at Sections 13-401, 403, 404 and 414 of the AZ Revised Statutes. Moreover, if you were a victim of this man's domestic violence in the past, you will definitely want to review Section 13-415, too. Definitely consult with an attorney on this if you can. If you are convicted for something like this, it could be used against you down the road if this man ever really hurt you, and you were called to the witness stand as a victim in your own right.

QUESTIONS

  • I was arrested when I told the officer that I hit my ex-boyfriend. He had thrown a blanket over me and grabbed me. I fought back out of fear. My roommate intervened and my ex left before the police arrived. My ex threatened me if I told the police anything that got him in trouble, so I didn't know what to tell them. I got arrested because I said I hit my ex. My ex gave no statement, hasn't been in contact with the prosecutor, and there isn't any evidence that I did anything but protect myself. My roommate was there and is a witness. Can I possibly be found guilty for protecting myself?

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OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
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