I have performed many consultations with Phoenix defendants who face domestic violence charges. One common question that is asked is whether charges will be pressed. Many of those accused make the mistake of thinking that a case will not go forward if their significant other does not wish it to. It is important to understand that this belief is incorrect. I have decided to write a post on this topic to clear up several misconceptions. I highly stress the fact that you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you are charged with domestic assault or battery in Arizona.
Phoenix prosecutors can bring domestic charges against the wishes of a victim
It is common for defendants to believe that no charges will be filed in a domestic violence case unless the victim wishes it. This is incorrect. Once one has been arrested then the matter is out of the victim’s hands. Law enforcement will decide whether or not charges should be filed. Their decision on whether or not to initiate a case will not hinge on the desires of the victim. Instead, the decision of police and Phoenix prosecutors will almost be entirely based on whether they believe they can obtain a conviction. The testimony of a victim is helpful, though not always necessary, in obtaining a conviction. If there were other witnesses, or other evidence which can establish guilt, then a case may be brought even if the victim does not testify.
It is important that you take the matter seriously if you have been arrested for domestic violence. Those who fail to understand the gravity of the situation may show up at Court and find themselves shocked that a case is proceeding against them. These same people may then accept a bad plea deal out of fear of the process. By contacting counsel immediately you help to ensure that your rights remain protected throughout the process.
Phoenix prosecutors can compel a domestic violence victim to testify against their wishes
It is also important to understand that prosecutors have the power to subpoena a victim and make them appear in Court. While the victim may be telling you that they do not intend to file charges and that they will not appear in Court, the fact is that prosecutors can file a case over their objection and subpoena them to testify against you. If the victim were to lie on the stand then they may face perjury charges and be prosecuted themselves. Failing to understand these facts can leave one unprepared and facing a trial at which they will likely be convicted.
Contact a Phoenix attorney immediately if you have been arrested. I am experienced in handling such matters and will help you understand whether you should plead guilty to domestic violence, what to expect from probation should you be convicted, and what to expect at a domestic violence trial. I also represent defendants in other Maricopa County cities such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert. We also assist Pima County residents in Tucson.