Sumner Domestic Violence
Domestic violence charges can happen to anyone. It can be incredibly daunting and even terrifying to learn you’re facing domestic violence charges. If you or a loved one have been charged with domestic violence in Sumner, you may have a bunch of questions, like
- Can I still be charged with domestic violence in Pierce County if I never physically touched someone?
- What are the penalties for a domestic violence conviction in Sumner?
- Do I need a lawyer to fight domestic violence charges in Pierce County?
- Can my accuser drop the domestic violence charges against me in Sumner?
The most effective way to fight domestic violence accusations is to hire legal representation. An experienced Pierce County domestic violence attorney can answer all of your questions, assess your legal options and begin building a formidable defense for your case.
Do not try to fight this alone. You should know that you cannot get a domestic violence case dropped simply because the victim no longer wants to press charges. The state has the power to prosecute any domestic violence case, regardless of the alleged victim’s desire to drop the charge. That’s one of the many reasons you need an experienced Sumner domestic violence defense attorney on your side.
With over 50 combined years of experience navigating the murky waters of domestic violence laws in Washington state, our firm has the experience and knowledge to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your particular situation. No matter how bleak your case may seem, if you’re facing charges or have questions about domestic violence laws in general, please contact one of our Sumner domestic violence criminal law attorneys today for a free case consultation.Understanding Washington State Domestic Violence Charges
Technically, domestic violence is not a crime; rather, it is an element of an offense that has been done to another person.
In general, domestic violence occurs between family or household members. People mistakenly believe that domestic violence charges can only be applicable to married people or people in a romantic relationship. However, this is untrue. According to Washington state law, the following people are considered “household members” and can be charged with domestic violence
- Former Spouse
- Person aged 16+ who have been dating the alleged victim and/or living together
- Step-Parent or Step-Sibling
- Foster Parent
- Adoptive Parent
Physically harming an intimate partner or household member is well understood to qualify as domestic violence. But it is important to know that threatening violence also qualifies as a crime in Pierce County. In short, bruises and cuts are not the baselines of what constitutes domestic violence. The definition is much broader.
As such, most people don’t realize that assault is not the only criminal charge that can have a domestic violence charge attached to it. Washington state statute RCW 10.99.020 lists the following offenses as domestic violence offenses.
“(i) Assault in the first degree;
(ii) Assault in the second degree;
(iii) Assault in the third degree;
(iv) Assault in the fourth degree;
(v) Drive-by shooting;
(vi) Reckless endangerment;
(viii) Burglary in the first degree;
(ix) Burglary in the second degree;
(x) Criminal trespass in the first degree;
(xi) Criminal trespass in the second degree;
(xii) Malicious mischief in the first degree;
(xiii) Malicious mischief in the second degree;
(xiv) Malicious mischief in the third degree;
(xv) Kidnapping in the first degree;
(xvi) Kidnapping in the second degree;
(xvii) Unlawful imprisonment;
(xviii) 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 daycare, or prohibiting the person from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance of a location;
(xix) Rape in the first degree;
(xx) Rape in the second degree;
(xxi) Residential burglary;
(xxii) Stalking; and
(xxiii) Interference with the reporting of domestic violence”
If you have been charged with domestic violence, it’s critical that you hire a Sumner criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in domestic violence defense. Too often, well-intentioned people hurt their cases by trying to defend themselves.Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction in Pierce 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 sentencing categories -- misdemeanors and felonies.
A misdemeanor is regarded as a more minor criminal offense, punishable by less than 12 months in jail. All domestic violence misdemeanor cases that occur in Sumner will be adjudicated at either the Bonney Lake Municipal Court in Bonney Lake or the Pierce County District Court in Tacoma. Where your case is adjudicated is dependent upon several factors, including the location of the alleged crime, and the level of your misdemeanor charge.
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. All felony cases are the purview of the Pierce County Superior Court, located in Tacoma.
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
- Rape in the 1st or 2nd degree
Consequences of a domestic violence conviction can include not only jail time and fines, but also a marked criminal record, probation, and loss of employment. In addition, even the accusation of domestic violence can damage the accused’s reputation and personal relationships. To avoid these long-lasting effects, it is necessary to work with an experienced Sumner criminal defense attorney. Our team will work hard for a favorable outcome in your case.How a Sumner Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Fight Domestic Violence Charges
Obviously, domestic violence accusations are emotionally charged. As someone who has been accused of domestic violence, you may be understandably on the defensive and are afraid to share your truth about what happened. Please remember, as a Pierce County criminal defense attorney, it is not our job to judge you or the situation. Our goal is to present the best possible defense for you, which we can only do when we have all of the facts of the case.
When it comes to protecting your freedoms, you need an aggressive, experienced Sumner domestic violence defense lawyer to defend your rights. A domestic violence charge does not have to ruin your life and your future. Being proactive now may save you a great deal of stress and trouble down the road. Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation.