Yelm Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is most commonly used as a way to describe spousal abuse, which may take the form of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse. What some people may not realize is that domestic violence is defined broadly and is used to describe any type of abusive behavior that is committed by one member of an intimate relationship or household against another.
Washington state statute RCW 26.50.010 defines a member of the household as
“(a) Adult persons related by blood or marriage; (b) adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past; and (c) persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
(7) "Intimate partner" means: (a) Spouses, or domestic partners; (b) former spouses, or former domestic partners; (c) persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; (d) adult persons presently or previously residing together who have or have had a dating relationship; (e) 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; and (f) persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship.”
Domestic violence crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Washington State. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors do their due diligence to put alleged domestic violence offenders behind bars and will rarely ever drop charges, even if the alleged victim does not wish to press charges. If you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Thurston County as soon as possible.
The truth is, it’s scary to be charged with a crime - it throws your life into chaos. In the highly emotional aftermath of a police investigation and arrest, tensions are at their highest. Before you’ve even begun to process what is happening to you, you will probably have a million questions, like-
- Is a domestic violence charge different from an assault charge in Thurston County?
- Do I need a lawyer if my spouse/partner/parent decides to drop the charges against me?
- What are some of the penalties for being convicted of DV in Yelm?
- What is a no-contact order?
This website attempts to answer some of those questions. It never hurts to arm yourself with knowledge when you’re facing such a difficult scenario. What you need most in this situation is somebody with knowledge and experience who can help you understand exactly what’s going to happen. Our team of Thurston County domestic violence defense attorneys is here to stand with you through the process, help you understand what’s happening and what you need to do, and fight for you every step of the way.What Charges are Defined as “Domestic Violence” in Thurston County?
If you are looking at this page, chances are you or someone you love has been charged with a domestic violence offense in Yelm. So what does that mean to you?
No single statute in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) defines “domestic violence.” Rather, multiple codes contain aspects of a broad definition. What this means is that a variety of criminal charges including
- Criminal trespass or burglary
- Criminal mischief
- Sexual assault and other sex crimes
- Harassment and stalking
can be charged as domestic violence as long as the alleged crime is perpetrated against a “household member” or “intimate partner.”
Washington state law requires all state police officers to make an arrest and take someone to jail if the officer believes that 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. Additionally, even if the alleged victim of domestic violence decides to drop the charges against you, you may still be prosecuted for the charge by the government.
Domestic violence charges are deeply personal and emotional. Getting aggressive yet compassionate legal representation can be fundamental to fighting the charges and easing the tension during a stressful time in your life. If you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Yelm criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your future and your freedom are on the line.Penalties for a Domestic Violence Charge in Yelm
The penalties for even a first conviction of DV are harsh and can include jail time, and subsequent convictions for domestic violence bring with them enhanced penalties. Listed below is a general outline for penalties if convicted of criminal charges.
Washington State criminal penalties 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 DV related misdemeanor charges will be adjudicated in either the Yelm Municipal Court or the Thurston County District Court, which is located in Olympia. Where your hearings will be held is determined by several factors. If you would like more information about where your trial might be held, please contact our firm for more information.
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.
All felony trials are adjudicated at the Thurston County Superior Court, which is also located in Olympia.
Because DV charges can fall under numerous different categories of criminal charges, we encourage you to contact our Yelm criminal defense attorneys to discuss the specific penalties for whatever charges you may be facing.How a Washington Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You With Domestic Violence Charges
Though you have a constitutional right to defend yourself in court if you’ve been brought up on criminal charges, it’s a risky endeavor. If you intend to represent yourself, you would be gambling with your freedom and the possibility of subjecting yourself to the maximum sentencing.
A skilled and experienced Thurston County criminal defense attorney is an invaluable asset for domestic violence charges. Aggressive criminal defense representation is required in cases involving a highly emotional situation. You must take these charges seriously. When accused of certain types of physical abuse (including spousal abuse or child abuse), you may be presumed guilty before all of the facts are known. A DV charge doesn’t just affect your wallet or your freedom. There can be serious social repercussions for anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime.