FAQs About Domestic Violence


What About Self-Defense Strategies Like, “He or she hit me first, so I hit her back”. How Do These Scenarios Play Out And Who Gets Arrested And Charged?

It is not typical but usually the first one who calls the police is the one who gets to be the victim because they get to tell their story first. However, that is quite often the case, not always, but often the case. So, the first one who calls the police gets to be the victim.

In terms of “She hit me first, so I hit her back” or vice versa, it’s a mistake to just think of domestic violence is a man against a woman victim because quite often, it’s just the opposite. That certainly would not be a defense because that would be an excuse or a justification to commit the act. That wouldn’t be justification under the law, so that would not be a defense.

In What Court Are Domestic Violence Cases Actually Heard In?

As a felony, domestic violence cases would be heard in the Superior Court. If it’s a misdemeanor charge, it would be heard in any one of the misdemeanor courts, which would be in a municipal court if it is heard within a particular municipality.

For example, if it occurred within the city of Phoenix and the Phoenix police investigated it, it would go to the Phoenix Municipal Court. If it was investigated by somebody other than a municipal officer, for example, a deputy sheriff, that case would go to a separate court system, the justice courts, where the county attorney would prosecute the case.

That can be an important distinction how the case is handled, from the prosecution’s standpoint it depends on what that prosecutor’s policies are. The City of Phoenix will offer a diversion program for a first offense domestic violence in some circumstances.  For cases in the justice courts where the county attorney prosecutes it, the county attorney does not offer a diversion, at least in Maricopa County.

People can be treated differently simply based on which agency the arresting officer was with. If it occurs within the City of Phoenix, a Phoenix officer goes to Phoenix Municipal Court and may get diversion. If the arrest occurred within the City of Phoenix but it was a deputy sheriff, it will go to the justice courts, the county attorney will prosecute the case and a diversion would not be an offer.

In short, which court depends on who the arresting officer is and that can make a difference in the outcome of the case.

Are Domestic Violence Cases Seen As Part Of Divorce Situations? Do These Cases Stem From Divorce Situations?

Since Attorney Gordon Thompson doesn’t do divorce cases, he doesn’t see them from the divorce end. Having said that, he will occasionally see cases where it happens as a result of, not necessarily divorce, but some sort of a family dispute.

For example, a case he did in 2014 that was a trial for domestic violence. At the same time the trial was going on, there was a custody dispute between a grandmother and the mother of the child that Attorney Thompson represented. The mother of the child was attempting to use a conviction in the criminal case as a basis of getting custody from the grandmother who then had custody.

It does occasionally happens, but not often. If he did more divorce cases, he probably would see it quite frequently but since he just doesn’t do that, he sees it occasionally.

If you need answers to more questions related to Domestic Violence in Arizona, call the law office of Attorney Gordon Thompson for a FREE initial consultation at [number type=”1″] and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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