Written by Stryder Wegener
When it comes to domestic violence allegations, serious consequences can start immediately and be far-reaching. If you are facing domestic violence charges, you may have lots of questions, including if you can return home after domestic violence allegations by your spouse.
Under Washington state law, domestic violence is criminal conduct committed by a family or household member against another. Household members do not have to be married or related by blood. Domestic violence includes acts of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
What might have started as a small disagreement can escalate into serious legal trouble if you are charged with domestic violence. That is why you need the help of a Seattle assault lawyer at Emerald City Law Group. Our firm can help you understand what to expect if you face domestic violence allegations, including during the time between arrest and trial. To schedule a free consultation of your case, contact us today at (206) 973-0407.
What Happens After an Arrest?
If you have been arrested due to domestic violence allegations, you will likely be released from custody on bail or personal recognizance before your arraignment. Prior to that release, the court may issue a no-contact order under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 10.99.040. The order prohibits you from having any contact or knowingly approaching the alleged victim.
At your arraignment, the court will decide if the no-contact order should be extended or terminated. If the order is extended, it will terminate if you are acquitted, or the charges against you are dropped.
What Does “No-Contact” Mean?
When you are subjected to a no-contact order, you must strictly follow its provisions. You must not contact the family or household member who made the domestic violence allegations. Likely, the order will also mandate that you stay a certain physical distance from the alleged victim. Accordingly, you will not be able to stay in the home until the matter is resolved and the court order terminates.
A Seattle assault lawyer can explain your order’s details if you receive such a document from the court. Importantly, you must not have any contact with the accuser, even if that person reaches out to you. In other words, even if there is a change of heart by your spouse concerning domestic violence allegations, you must not go back home if your spouse is there. Violations of a no-contact order may subject you to additional charges and penalties.
Convictions on domestic violence offenses bring serious consequences. Misdemeanor convictions could result in up to 90 days in jail, and a $1,000 fine. Gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, and a $5,000 fine. Felony convictions may result in prison time of more than a year, depending on the severity of your alleged actions. A conviction will also prohibit you from possessing a firearm in the future, which can be especially problematic if your profession requires it.
Facing Accusations of Domestic Violence? Contact Us Today
Most people understand the basic concept in our justice system of innocence until guilt is proven. That presumption allows for due process for those charged with crimes. The system tries to work in a way that prior to a final determination by a judge or jury, there is no punishment. But with domestic violence allegations, the court can issue orders that temporarily curtail rights – such as staying in your home – before the final judgment on the charges is rendered.
Because so much is at stake, quick action to protect yourself is essential. Contact Emerald City Law Group today at (206) 973-0407, or reach out online to discuss your defense against domestic violence allegations an experienced Seattle criminal defense attorney.