Puyallup Domestic Violence
Domestic violence charges often stem from very close personal relationships, and some alleged victims may tell the people arrested for crimes of domestic violence that they will “drop the charges.” While a victim’s statement may be the basis for a criminal case, the filing decision is the prosecutor’s decision alone to make.
Failure to understand this can land you in trouble with the law and lead to life-changing consequences. It can be tempting to want to tell your side of the story to the police, but you should never submit to questioning by law enforcement without an attorney present.
When facing arrest for domestic violence charges in Pierce County, it’s important to remember that freely offering any information may only lead to the state being able to build a better case against you. If you have any questions about domestic violence charges, such as
- What are the consequences of a domestic violence charge in Washington State?
- Is there a difference between assault and domestic violence assault charges in Pierce County?
- Do I need a lawyer to fight domestic violence charges in Puyallup?
- Will I have to appear in court for a domestic violence case?
Be sure to stay silent and only speak to your lawyer. A skilled and knowledgeable Puyallup DV defense attorney will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding your arrest and subsequent charges.
When facing any type of domestic violence accusation, the sooner you contact our Puyallup criminal defense attorneys, the sooner we can begin protecting your legal rights and advocating on your behalf. We offer a free case consultation to every prospective client because we are committed to helping you find the best possible legal outcome through skilled and relentless domestic abuse defense representation.Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Washington State
Domestic violence laws across the country have one main goal: to protect spouses, children, and other members of a household from abuse. While every state has domestic violence laws, they all define them somewhat differently. For example, in Washington, Domestic Violence is an umbrella term applied to many different charges such as
- Violation of Protective Orders
- False Imprisonment
What makes an assault charge become a domestic violence assault charge in Puyallup is the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. State law requires that the DV designation be added to a criminal charge if the victim or perpetrator of the crime is a member of the same household or family.
According to Washington State Statute RCW 26.52.010, family or household members include “spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.”
Another interesting facet of the DV laws in Washington State is that any law enforcement officer who responds to an incident of domestic violence must make a warrantless arrest if there is probable cause that an offense was committed. This is considered a domestic violence exception to the rule that law enforcement officers must usually follow, which is that they can only make a warrantless arrest for a felony, or for a misdemeanor that occurs in the officer's presence.
Whether the allegations are true or false, if you have been arrested for a domestic violence charge in Pierce County, you need to defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law. Let our team of experienced Pierce County DV criminal defense lawyers fight the charges and make sure you walk away as cleanly as possible. Our team works closely with each client to build a strong defense. We want to make sure your voice is heard. You have rights under the law, and we are here to ensure you are afforded all of your rights.Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction in Pierce County
As you can see from the above section, DV charges can fall under many different criminal charge categories. Washington State criminal penalties for all 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.
Most Domestic Violence charges in Washington State fall under the gross misdemeanor category. All domestic violence related misdemeanor charges will be adjudicated at the Pierce County District Court, located in Tacoma. 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)
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.
Some DV charges that are charged as felonies include
- 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
All Puyallup felony DV charges are adjudicated at the Pierce County Superior Court, which is also located in downtown Tacoma.
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
Just remember that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and you have the right to competent counsel. Regardless of whether you feel you’re innocent or guilty, you deserve the best available defense, one that will examine all of the evidence and investigate your case thoroughly to protect your rights.How a Puyallup Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Can Help You
It’s often difficult for the defendants of a domestic violence charge to clear their names. There’s a stigma that follows these cases around, and it can feel like the whole world is against you. However, if you’re in the Puyallup area of Pierce County, there’s hope. Our team of Washington State Domestic Violence defense attorneys can help you resolve your domestic violence charges.
If you were recently arrested for domestic violence in Pierce County, you should not delay in seeking legal representation. Our team of experienced criminal law professionals will fight aggressively to protect your rights and help you achieve the most favorable outcome for your case. Contact us today for a no-cost confidential case evaluation.