Tumwater Domestic Violence
Relationships between family members and household members are often accompanied by intense emotion. During an argument, emotions run high and a simple argument can escalate to a physical altercation. If police are called to a domestic dispute, 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. Due to high-profile cases dominating our media, Thurston County law enforcement as well as agencies across the nation are under increased pressure to prosecute those accused of domestic violence.
Unfortunately, domestic violence is a crime that tends to occur under a startling range of circumstances, crossing socio-economic barriers perhaps more commonly than any other type of crime. Because the penalties for DV-related crimes can vary so dramatically depending upon the circumstances, it is critical to retain the counsel of an experienced and trusted criminal defense lawyer if you have been arrested for, or accused of committing, an act of domestic violence.
This website is intended to provide you with some basic knowledge regarding Washington State’s complicated Domestic Violence laws. If you would like to speak to a knowledgeable Tumwater 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?
Chapter 10.99 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) is a wide-ranging legal statute that is designed to protect individuals from abuse by someone who is close to them, whether or not the parties are legally related. This chapter provides protection from abuse from a:
- 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
Further, the domestic violence law protects against all forms of abuse in Tumwater, whether that abuse is physical, emotional, sexual, or even threats of abuse or violence.
Our team of Thurston County Domestic Violence attorneys has handled all types of cases involving domestic violence, including situations involving:
- Harassment or stalking
- Restraining orders
- Child endangerment
- Criminal trespass or burglary
- Criminal mischief
- Sexual assault and other sex crimes
Anyone involved in a domestic dispute could find themselves dealing with several different serious legal issues. The best course of action is to contact an experienced Tumwater Domestic Violence defense attorney as soon as possible.What Are the Penalties for a DV Conviction in Thurston 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
Domestic abuse cases can have serious consequences beyond just jail time and fines. The biggest one is the impact on the individual’s ability to carry a firearm. A federal law, known as the Lautenberg Amendment, makes it a felony for anyone who is involved in a crime of domestic violence to ship, transport, or receive firearms. This is a federal crime. The bottom line is that the federal government feels that people who have misdemeanor convictions of domestic assault should not possess firearms.
Other possible punishments for a person convicted of a DV charge include-
- A No-Contact order
- Supervised Probation
- Domestic Violence treatment/counseling
- Drug or Alcohol treatment/counseling
- Parenting Classes
RCW 10.99.100 lays out some of the mitigating factors when a judge is deciding the punishment for Domestic Violence charges.
(1) In sentencing for a crime of domestic violence as defined in this chapter, courts of limited jurisdiction shall consider, among other factors, whether:
(a) The defendant suffered a continuing pattern of coercion, control, or abuse by the victim of the offense and the offense is a response to that coercion, control, or abuse;
(b) The offense was part of an ongoing pattern of psychological, physical, or sexual abuse of a victim or multiple victims manifested by multiple incidents over a prolonged period of time; and
(c) The offense occurred within sight or sound of the victim's or the offender's minor children under the age of eighteen years.
(2)(a) In sentencing for a crime of domestic violence as defined in this chapter, the prosecutor shall provide for the court's review:
(i) The defendant's criminal history, if any, that occurred in Washington or any other state;
(ii) If available, the defendant's prior criminal history that occurred in any tribal jurisdiction; and
(iii) The defendant's individual order history.
Criminal domestic violence offenses can be litigated in either the Thurston County District Court or the Thurston County Superior Court, depending on what the charges are.
The reason crimes of domestic violence incur more severe penalties is easy to comprehend. A disproportionate share of violent crime occurs within households, and among people involved in intimate or family relationships. With the help of an accomplished Thurston County criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to raise the defenses that are applicable in your case. Taking these measures at the outset of your case may enable you to reach a more favorable resolution to the charges against you.How Can a Tumwater Domestic Violence Lawyer Help You?
In addition to the close and often complicated personal relationships that exist between the defendant and the alleged victim, DV cases often involve two separate and distinct cases. On one hand, the state may prosecute the criminal allegations that formed the foundation of your arrest. On the other, your former spouse, significant other, or alleged victim may pursue a claim for a no-contact order against you. Our team of experienced Thurston County Domestic Violence attorneys can handle both sides of the domestic violence case to ensure that your rights are protected on all levels.
If you or a loved one has been accused of assaulting a family member, roommate, boyfriend or girlfriend, or ex-partner, contact an attorney experienced at handling complicated domestic violence cases. When an argument gets out of hand and emotions run high, people may say or do things that they later regret. Regardless of your circumstances, our team of Tumwater criminal defense attorneys can handle your case with discretion and treat you with dignity as you strive to resolve your situation and restore your family.