The attorneys at Canterbury Law Group help clients obtain orders of protection in Scottsdale. We also assist in determining if your domestic violence case is a civil or criminal case.
In domestic violence situations, there may be both civil and criminal matters occurring at the same time as a result of the same violent act. You may want to pursue both civil and criminal actions for maximum protection. The major differences have to do with who takes the case to court, the reason for the case, and the possible penalties.
- Civil Law – In a civil domestic violence action, you are asking the court to protect you from the person abusing you. You are not asking the court to send that person to jail for committing a crime. However, if the abuser violates the civil court order, s/he may be sent to jail for the violation. In a civil case, you are the person bringing the case against the abuser and (in most circumstances), you have the right to withdraw (drop) the case if you want to. A Scottsdale order of protection is requested in civil court. Once granted, they usually are valid for a period of one year and they sometimes can be renewed by the person originally obtained the order of protection.
- Criminal Law – In stark contrast, the criminal law system handles all cases that involve violations of criminal law such as harassment, assault, murder, theft, etc. As such, only the government, via the local prosecutor or grand jury can make the final decision to “bring charges” against the bad actor who has engaged in bad acts.
A criminal complaint involves your abuser being charged with a crime. In a criminal case, the prosecutor (also called the district attorney) is the one who has control over whether the case against the abuser continues or not. It is the county/state who has brought the case against the abuser, not the victim. It is possible that if you do not want the case to continue (if you do not want to “press charges”), the prosecutor might decide to drop the criminal charges but this is not necessarily true. The prosecutor can also continue to prosecute the abuser against your wishes and can even issue a subpoena (a court order) to force you to testify at the trial live under oath.
It is essential to contact an attorney to evaluate and invoke your rights when dealing with domestic violence either when allegations are brought against you, or where you bring them against another. Contact our Scottsdale lawyers today to schedule your consultation. www.clgaz.com 480-744-7711.