If you have been accused of spousal abuse or another domestic violence-related crime, you need to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. For more than 32 years, we have protected clients in a wide range of criminal matters.
What is Domestic Violence in Washington?
Domestic violence is a complex and traumatic situation. In many cases the victim loves the perpetrator making it more difficult for the victim to report the crime, testify against the defendant, and/or leave the situation safely. Below is some basic information about domestic violence cases in Washington.
Defining Domestic Violence
Domestic violence occurs when one member of a family or household commits an abusive crime against another member of the same family or household. Examples of behaviors that may qualify as domestic violence include:
- Economic control
- Sexual assault
- Emotional abuse
- Physical violence
Domestic Violence Reports
When an individual is the victim of domestic violence in Washington, he or she is encouraged to call 911 for assistance. When police officers arrive on the scene they will interview the people present and review the evidence to determine if domestic violence has taken place. Under state law police are required to make an arrest if they have reason to believe that an act of domestic violence was committed within the past four hours. Police are also required to make an arrest if they believe that a Civil Protection or No Contact order has been violated. If police believe that multiple members of the household have committed acts of domestic violence against one another they will arrest the individual who appears to be the primary aggressor.
Domestic Violence Charges
In cases where an arrest was made for domestic violence the prosecutor will decide whether or not to press charges against the perpetrator. In these cases, the victim does not have the power to prevent charges or drop charges, even if he or she doesn’t want to see the perpetrator face legal action. Once the prosecutor has reached a decision with regard to filing charges the victim will be notified.
The penalties for domestic violence convictions will depend on the nature of the offense. Possible penalties:
- Misdemeanor – A fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 90 days in jail.
- Gross Misdemeanor. – A fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 365 days in jail.
- Felony – A substantial fine and more than one year in jail.
In the state of Washington, anyone who is convicted of a domestic violence charge will also be prohibited from owning a firearm.
Help for Domestic Violence Victims
Victims of domestic violence in Washington have access to other forms of protection in addition to criminal prosecution. These forms of protection include:
- Protective orders. – Protective orders, including no contact orders, domestic violence protection orders and civil anti-harassment protection orders, can prevent further instances of domestic violence.
- Address confidentiality. – Under the Address Confidentiality Program, a victim of domestic violence is assigned a substitute address that can be used in place of the victim’s real address. This prevents the perpetrator from being able to visit the home of the victim.
- Civil lawsuit.– In some domestic violence cases, the victim can file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator in order to recover damages, such as medical bills and compensation for emotional trauma.
The Charges Against You
Experienced defense attorney Julie A. Twyford has handled countless jury and non-jury trials since she won her first case in 1978. This experience allows us to explore every option when choosing the right defense strategy for you. If there is a way to improve your situation, we will find it. We can help you with any charge, including assault, false imprisonment, stalking, trespassing and violation of protective orders.
Contact Twyford Law Office
If you are in trouble with the law and need advice, give us a call at (855) 980-0678 or fill out the contact form to the right.