How does an ordinarily non-violent person get charged with domestic assault?

Domestic violence allegations take many forms.

Let’s face it. There are some people who commit spousal assault (or other domestic violence crimes) as a means of controlling the other person.

But there are plenty of other allegations that take place because of unexpectedly heightened emotions.

And, believe it or not, they can happen to anyone. Even people who are not ordinarily violent.

Take the case of Arizona state senator Scott Bungaard.

Police responded to the scene of a reported altercation on a Pheonix area highway on Friday night. They found Bungaard and his girlfriend, who had just come from a charity “Dancing with the Stars” fundraser.

Both looked as thought they had been involved in a physical dispute. They had.

Bundgaard’s girlfriend, Aubry Ballard, accused him of “inappropriately touching” his dance partner.

Bundgaard says Ballard then started throwing his clothes, and other things, out of the car.

Ballard punched him. Bungaard attempted to stop her, and pulled her out of the car. Ballard was left with “marks on her knees”.

Ballard has been charged with misdameaner assault.

Bungaard has not been charged, because he is immune from prosecution while the legislature is in session. He says he is prepared to wave that privilege.

There’s no indication that Ballard is a violent person. There’s no indication that this has happened before.

This domestic incident started the way that many of them do. A great evening gone terribly wrong.

In Ballard’s words:

“To go from putting on a beautiful dress for a great date to a fundraiser to ending up on the side of a freeway? I don’t have another tear left to cry,” she said. “I’m still trying to get my mind around a few things: Scott’s actions, the 17 hours I spent in jail awaiting processing, my bruises, scrapes and soreness and his statements to the media.”

And it’s just the type of incident that our lawyer see all the time.

No, maybe our clients aren’t going to a “Dancing with the stars” fundraiser, but they didn’t start the evening with the intention of getting in a fight with their spouse, partner or friend either.

Most of the time something happened that resulted in similar situations to the one described above.

Someone did or said something. Emotions go out of hand, and the police got involved.

And once that happens all bets are off. Charges are usually laid, and they’re not easily withdrawn.

But let’s get back to the senator and his girlfriend.

If Bungaard was coming onto his dance parter, are Ballards actions more understandable?

What would you do if you saw your boyfriend coming inappropriately touching his dance partner?

Should Ballard be convicted if she did, in fact, punch Bungaard?

Does it make a difference to you that Ballard is a woman?

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