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Children Witnessing Domestic Violence- Agravating Factor

The negative effects of children witnessing domestic violence are well documented and far reaching. In Arizona, the presence of children during an incident of domestic violence makes the incident “aggravated” and may mean felony charges.

Arizona Domestic Violence Overview

Under Arizona law, domestic violence is any of the following crimes under the law:

  • Dangerous Crimes Against Children (13-604.01)
  • Endangerment (13-1201)
  • Threatening and Intimidating (13-1202)
  • Assault (13-1203)
  • Aggravated Assault (13-1204)
  • Custodial Interference (13-1302)
  • Unlawful Imprisonment (13-1303)
  • Kidnapping (13-1304)
  • Criminal Trespass (13-1502 – 13-504)
  • Criminal Damage (13-1602)
  • Interfering with Judicial Proceedings (13-2810)
  • Disorderly Conduct (13-2904)
  • Telephone to Harass (13-2916)
  • Harassment (13-2921)
  • Stalking (13-2923)
  • Abuse of Child or Vulnerable Adult (13-3623)

When committed against:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Persons residing or having resided in the same household
  • Persons having a child in common
  • A party who is pregnant by the other party
  • Parent, grandparent, grandchild, stepchild, brother, or sister
  • A child who resides or has resided in the same household

Children Witnessing Domestic Violence

A conviction of domestic violence committed in the presence of a child may result in harsher penalties. Thus, when the presence of a child during domestic violence is considered to be “aggravating circumstances,” sentencing guidelines mandate that such aggravating circumstances result in a harsher criminal penalty, such as a longer jail or prison term or an increased fine.

In Arizona, an offense committed in the presence of a child under any of the circumstances defined as domestic violence is considered an aggravating circumstance that may result in an increased sentence for a felony conviction.

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