Port Orchard Domestic Violence Lawyer
Have you or a loved one been arrested for domestic violence? If so, you’re undoubtedly worried about what could happen to you. If you were arrested unfairly, you may even be confused or angry. What you do next could have a dramatic impact on your life, so it’s important to talk to a qualified Washington State domestic violence lawyer without delay.
Did you know that when the police are called in a domestic disturbance, they have little choice other than to arrest at least one person? Washington state law requires all state police officers to make an arrest and take someone to jail if they believe they have probable cause to determine who was the primary aggressor in an act of domestic violence. The law does not require visible injuries, or an active warrant to make an arrest.
Domestic Violence charges are on the rise in Washington State. The Washington State Department of Health reported that there were over 51,000 DV calls made to the police in the year 2015. That number is steadily rising. Because of this increase, Washington State prosecutors have been aggressively pursuing all criminal cases involving DV charges.
If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with a crime of domestic violence, your legal situation is precarious; your personal and professional reputation could be destroyed. The type and severity of punishment for a DV charge can be unique to each case, but almost always includes jail time and fines, and loss of personal freedoms such as owning or carrying firearms.
This website is intended to provide you with some basic knowledge regarding Washington State’s byzantine Domestic Violence laws. If you would like to speak to a knowledgeable Port Orchard Domestic Violence Attorney regarding the specifics of your case, please contact us for a free initial case consultation today.What Does It Mean to Be Charged With DV in Washington State?
To even begin to understand Domestic Violence charges in Kitsap County, we must first define what Domestic Violence means. According to Washington State Statute RCW 26.52.010, DV charges include, but are not limited to, “conduct when committed by one family member against another that is classified in the jurisdiction where the conduct occurred as a domestic violence crime or a crime committed in another jurisdiction that under the laws of this state would be classified as domestic violence.” Confusing, isn’t it?
Basically what that means is that almost any crime can be charged as a DV crime. The crime itself is not DV, it’s the victim’s relationship to the alleged perpetrator that determines whether it's DV or not.
Who does Washington State deem to be a “family member” under domestic violence charges?
- Former Spouses
- Persons who have a child together (regardless of if they are married or have lived together or not)
- People age 16+ who have been dating and/or living together
- Step-Parents & Step-Siblings
- Foster Parents
- Adoptive Parents
What crimes can fall under the Domestic Violence umbrella of charges?
From RCW 10.99.020 -
- Assault in the first degree;
- Assault in the second degree;
- Assault in the third degree;
- Assault in the fourth degree;
- Drive-by shooting ;
- Reckless endangerment;
- Burglary in the first degree ;
- Burglary in the second degree;
- Criminal trespass in the first degree;
- Criminal trespass in the second degree;
- Malicious mischief in the first degree ;
- Malicious mischief in the second degree;
- Malicious mischief in the third degree;
- Kidnapping in the first degree;
- Kidnapping in the second degree;
- Unlawful imprisonment;
- Violation of the provisions of a restraining order, no-contact order, or protection order restraining or enjoining the person or restraining the person from going onto the grounds of or entering a residence, workplace, school, or day care, or prohibiting the person from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance of a location;
- Rape in the second degree;
- Residential burglary;
- Stalking; and
- Interference with the reporting of domestic violence.
It’s clear that even an accusation of family violence can have an immediate negative impact on your life. Not only do you have to worry about defending against criminal charges in court, but you also have to defend your reputation amongst your family, friends, co-workers, and community. Dealing with a pending domestic violence case is very challenging and can make you feel defeated before you even get to court. There is no need to panic, a skilled Port Orchard domestic violence lawyer is just a phone call away. Allow our team to help you get your life back. Contact our office today for a no-cost case evaluation.What Are the Penalties for a DV Conviction in Kitsap County?
As you can see from the above section, Domestic Violence charges can fall under many different criminal charge categories. Washington State criminal penalties for domestic violence-related crimes are divided into two general categories -- misdemeanors and felonies.
A misdemeanor is regarded as a more minor criminal offense, punishable by less than 12 months in jail. There are two categories of misdemeanors, defined by the punishments applicable to each charge.
- Simple Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.
- Gross Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.
Felonies are crimes that may be punishable by time in a state correctional facility, as opposed to county jail. These are the most serious criminal charges in Washington state. There are three levels of felony charges:
Class A Felony- carries a sentence of up to life in prison and/or fines up to $50,000.
Class B Felony- carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or fines of up to $20,000.
Class C Felony- carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000.
Most Domestic Violence charges in Washington State fall under the gross misdemeanor category. Some of the more common gross misdemeanor DV charges are
- Violation of a no-contact order
- Simple Assault (also known as Assault in the 4th degree)
Other charges are more serious and are considered Felonies, such as
- Violation of a no-contact order with an assault
- Assault in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree
- Malicious Mischief in the 1st or 2nd degree
In addition to jail time and/or fines, a Domestic Violence conviction may have other ramifications, including
- A No-Contact order
- Supervised Probation
- Domestic Violence treatment/counseling
- Drug or Alcohol treatment/counseling
- Parenting Classes
These legal consequences don’t even begin to cover the social stigma of being convicted on a DV charge in Port Orchard. An experienced Kitsap County criminal defense attorney will be able to help you fight to protect your freedom and your reputation.
Because the situations that can lead to a DV charge can vary significantly, our Port Orchard domestic violence lawyers will want to discuss all the details that led up to your arrest. Contact our team today to start your free initial case consultation.How Can a Port Orchard Domestic Violence Lawyer Help You?
Fighting back against domestic violence charges involves significant investigation. A skilled domestic violence lawyer will interview witnesses, collect evidence, and review police and witness testimony. Some frequently used defenses for domestic violence include:
- Accidental injury
- Police misconduct or mistakes
- Proving innocence with an alibi
- Disproving parts of the accusations
Some accusations of domestic violence are false or seriously exaggerated. The alleged victim may be seeking some advantage in a divorce or could harbor ill-will toward the accused.
If you or a loved one are being targeted with false allegations, you must retain the services of an aggressive and dependable Kitsap County criminal defense attorney before your case moves any further. Our team prides itself on acting fast to build a strong defense strategy for our clients. We understand the profound impact that effective representation can have on your case and your life. The sooner our Port Orchard domestic violence lawyers get involved in your defense, the better off you will be.