- Washington Domestic Violence
- Washington Domestic Violence Laws
- Consequences of Domestic Violence in Washington
- Arrest Without Warrant for Domestic Violence Offense
- Domestic Violence No Contact Order in Washington
- Domestic Violence Protection Orders
- Domestic Violence Defense
- Consult a Washington Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Washington Domestic Violence
Domestic violence in Washington is a very real problem, with intimate partner abuse affecting 41% of women and 32% of men. The police and prosecutors in Washington acknowledge this fact, and as a result, take claims of domestic violence seriously. Because domestic violence incidents often go unwitnessed, and because allegations can be false or exaggerated for various reasons, including the desire to gain leverage in a divorce or child custody case, defending yourself against these claims can be a challenge. The good news is that a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with experience in domestic violence defense can help. A reputable defense attorney can ensure that your legal rights are protected and improve your chances of getting the charges against you reduced or dismissed or of securing an acquittal at trial.
Washington Domestic Violence Laws
It is a common misconception that domestic violence always involves physical abuse by one spouse against the other, when in reality, the definition of domestic violence in Washington is far broader. Under RCW 26.50.010 (3), domestic violence means “Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, sexual assault, or stalking” by one person against an intimate partner, family member or household member. As a whole, intimate partners, family members and household members, as defined by the state of Washington, include:
- Current and former spouses or domestic partners
- People who have a child in common
- Adults who are related by blood or marriage
- Adults who are currently living together or who lived together in the past
- People who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship
- Stepparents and stepchildren
- Grandparents and grandchildren
- Adults who are currently living together or who lived together in the past and have or had a dating relationship
Consequences of Domestic Violence in Washington
If you have been arrested for or accused of domestic violence in Washington, it is imperative that you understand the severity of the allegations leveled against you. Domestic violence offenses carry harsh penalties in the state of Washington and the consequences of a conviction may include jail time, protection orders, fines and a permanent criminal record, among other devastating repercussions.
Arrest Without Warrant for Domestic Violence Offense
Like many states, Washington has an “arrest without warrant” law for domestic violence incidents. That means if you have been accused of domestic violence and the responding officer has probable cause to believe that you have committed an assault against a family or household member and the assault has resulted in bodily injury (whether the injury is visible or not) or was intended to cause the person to fear imminent serious bodily injury or death, you could be arrested. In the event that the officer responding to the domestic violence call establishes that you and your family or household member assaulted one another, the officer will arrest the person believed to be the primary aggressor.
Domestic Violence No Contact Order in Washington
Under RCW 10.99.040 (2)(a), a no-contact order may be issued by the court against any person charged with or arrested for a domestic violence-related crime in Washington, to protect the alleged victim from repeated violence. If the court grants a no-contact order against you, you may be ordered to do exactly that, meaning avoid any form of contact with the other person. It is important to note that violating a no-contact order in the state of Washington is a crime in and of itself. If you violate the terms set forth in a Washington no-contact order, even if the other person invites or allows you to violate the order’s restrictions, you could be arrested and face criminal charges. The law further states that any assault or reckless endangerment that is a violation of the no-contact order is a felony offense.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders
If you have been accused of committing an act of domestic violence in Washington, the alleged victim (the petitioner) may decide to pursue a domestic violence restraining order, also known as a domestic violence protection order. A domestic violence order for protection is a civil order from a judge that requires you to, among other things, refrain from threatening or hurting the petitioner further. A protection order may also:
- Order you to leave a shared residence,
- Grant the petitioner temporary custody of your children,
- Order you not to enter the petitioner’s home,
- Set a schedule for visitation with minor children,
- Grant the petitioner possession of essential personal effects,
- Grant the petitioner use of a vehicle, and/or
- Order you to attend counseling.
Domestic Violence Defense
Domestic violence cases tend to be complicated. Emotions are running high, there is a great deal at stake, and claims of domestic violence are sometimes fabricated or exaggerated, which only serves to complicate these cases even further. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the domestic violence charges against you, you have a right to hire a defense attorney and challenge the charges in criminal court. There are a number of possible defenses a criminal defense lawyer can raise in a Washington domestic violence case. For instance, the alleged victim may have actually suffered abuse at the hands of someone else. Or the alleged assault may have occurred while you were defending yourself or someone else from an attack. Whatever defense strategy best suits your case, retaining the services of a qualified defense attorney can significantly increase your chances of success. Having the right criminal defense attorney on your side could mean the difference between retaining your freedom and paying hefty fines or possibly even going to prison.
Consult a Washington Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
There is no denying the fact that being charged with a domestic violence crime in Washington can have long-lasting consequences that can adversely affect the rest of your life. Even false allegations of domestic violence can ruin your reputation and put your freedom and your future at risk. If you have been arrested or charged with a domestic violence crime in Washington, you need the expertise of a criminal defense attorney who understands the intricacies of Washington’s domestic violence laws and can ensure that you receive the dedicated legal counsel you deserve. When it comes to fighting Washington domestic violence charges, time is of the essence, so don’t wait to call.