Anytime you are charged with a crime in Arizona, a judge decides the conditions of release you must abide by until the case is over. Domestic violence conditions of release in Arizona are imposed just like the conditions of pretrial release in any other type of criminal case, but the ramifications can be much more severe because domestic violence charges often involve victims who live with you.
The conditions of release in a domestic violence case often include no contact with the alleged victim, who could be your spouse and/or children. And yes, the Arizona Supreme Court recently confirmed that a judge can even order you to move out of your own home and have no contact with your minor children as conditions of release.
How Are These Conditions Of Release Fair?
It doesn’t seem fair that important property and parental rights, which usually require significant due process to infringe upon, can be taken way in less than five minutes at your initial appearance on Arizona domestic violence charges; all while you’re supposed to be presumed innocent. And you might not be able to afford an extended stay at a hotel or a short-term lease of an apartment, but that's a secondary consideration. If a judge thinks you pose a risk to the victim’s safety, he can legally order you to stay away from your own home under Arizona law.
Although this kind of condition can seem extreme, it is appropriate in serious cases and is better than staying in jail for months until the case is over. Under the law, Arizona judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to imposing conditions of release, which is why having fair and reasonable judges is so important.
Can You Challenge Conditions Of Pretrial Release In A Domestic Violence Case?
Despite the fact that these extreme conditions of release are available to judges in domestic violence cases, the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure require judges to impose “the least onerous” conditions that are “reasonable and necessary to protect other persons or the community.” A judge is not required to hold an evidentiary hearing to impose pretrial release conditions, but he or she must still make an individualized determination that is supported by sufficient factual findings to impose these conditions.
This is another reason it is important to have effective representation, even at the outset of a case. And remember, if you are facing domestic violence charges and a judge has already ordered that you not return to your home and/or not have contact with your family, you may still be able to modify these conditions later.
* This blog is published by Tucson criminal defense lawyer Nathan D. Leonardo. Nothing on this website is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein does not constitute legal advice, but is for general information purposes only. If you have a legal question, you can contact us online or call (520) 314-4125.