The term “domestic violence” is generally a tag that is placed on certain crimes, whether it be a felony or misdemeanor crimes. The criteria is usually defined by a current or former spouse or intimate partner with an alleged victim, or by a person with whom the alleged victim shares a child in common, or by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the alleged victim as a spouse or intimate partner.
In Washington, a domestic violence charge usually begins with an arrest. Washington law requires law enforcement officers to make an arrest if they’ve been called and there is any form of physical altercation.
I Was Just Arrested In Tacoma, WA On Domestic Violence Related Charges. What Exactly Am I Being Charged With?
Domestic violence crimes generally involve assault, burglary, malicious mischief, kidnapping, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, harassment, and unlawful imprisonment.
Is An Order Of Protection Or A Restraining Order Automatically Put In Place Once Domestic Battery Charges Are Filed In Pierce County?
It can seem automatic, and its generally a safe bet for any judge to put in place a no contact order upon charges being filed for Domestic Violence. However, it is not automatic that a protection order will be put in place upon Domestic Violence charges being filed. In some cases, a judge will refrain from putting a no contact order in place. A person is always presumed innocent until proven guilty, and if that person has no criminal history or the underlying allegations seem weak or questionable, then you may see a judge avoid putting a no contact order in place. Other times, you may see a judge put conditions of release as a no hostile contact. You might consider a judge to be like a referee or a nanny. Once the government or law enforcement gets involved in your private affairs, then the judge has to step in and treat you like a child.
If The Alleged Victim Changes His Or Her Story After Charges Are Filed Or Doesn’t Want Charges Pressed Against Me In A Domestic Violence Case, Does That Mean The Case Will Go Away?
This question comes up quite a bit in domestic violence cases. I am often asked why the government or the courts are still moving forward with charges if the alleged victim does not want to press charges. The answer is that at that point in time it’s no longer the alleged victim’s case. The decision to file charges and continue with those charges is in the hands of the prosecutor.
What Are Potential Sentencing Penalties If Someone Is Convicted Of A Domestic Violence Related Charge In WA?
Domestic Violence cases can fall under the category of misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or a felony. The list of potential penalties can vary quite greatly. If one were charged with a simple misdemeanor carrying a Domestic Violence tag then they could spend up to 90 days in jail. If it were a gross misdemeanor with a Domestic Violence tag, that person spend up to 364 days in jail. Depending on what classification of felony, a plaintiff could be punished with five, ten, 20 years or more in jail.
What Strategies Can Be Used To Defend Clients In Domestic Violence Cases? Is Self-Defense Ever A Viable Defense? Do I Have The Right To Defend Myself?
In the majority of Domestic Violence cases, the police are called after the event, so the two involved parties are usually the only eyewitnesses. In this case, lawyers and the court will often look to see which party is more credible. Sometimes, the alleged victim will recant what happened or change their story. Other times, the alleged victim is simply not credible. They may have a history of lying or they may have been under the influence or possibly looking to gain leverage in certain situations.
In many cases, self-defense is a viable defense. If the alleged victim was the initial aggressor, we need to look at whether or not the person charged with the crime was simply defending themselves. A person is permitted to reasonably defend themselves against an aggressor.