Arrested? A Seattle Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help
Domestic violence allegations are serious in Washington. The state frequently prosecutes violent offenses to the fullest extent of the law. But no case is open and shut. The domestic violence lawyers at Emerald City Law Group know how to handle such sensitive domestic matters quickly, effectively, and with as little negative impact as possible.
From proving your innocence to restoring your reputation with a dismissal, contact Emerald City Law Group for help from a highly skilled Seattle domestic violence lawyer.
Based in Seattle, We Assist People Across Washington and Offer Virtual Consultations. Initial Consults are Free, Confidential, and We’re Available 24/7 to Answer Your Questions.
Washington Domestic Violence Offenses
Under Washington’s Revised Code, Section 26.50.010, domestic violence includes physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, sexual assault, or stalking of one intimate partner, family member, or household member by another intimate partner, family member, or household member.
Any of the following may be considered domestic violence in Washington if they involve intimate partners, family members, or household members:
- Sexual Assault
- Child Abuse
- Criminal Trespass
- Unlawful Imprisonment
Domestic Violence Charges: What to Know
Domestic violence crimes may sound easy to understand. But they are quite complex. There are specific definitions for related offenses as well as who may be the victim and offender in a domestic violence case. It’s important to understand Washington domestic violence laws if you’ve been charged.
Domestic Violence Victims & Offenders
In Washington, domestic violence cases involve “intimate partners” or “family or household members.”
According to Washington domestic violence laws, an intimate partner includes :
- Domestic partners
- Former spouses
- Former domestic partners
- People who have a child in common (regardless of marital status)
- Adults presently or previously living together who have or have had a dating relationship.
- Persons aged 16 or older residing together who have or have had a dating relationship.
- Persons aged 16 or older who have or have had a dating relationship.
People are family or household members if they are:
- Related by blood or marriage.
- Presently residing together or have lived together in the past.
- Have biological or legal parent-child relationship (including stepparents and grandparents)
Domestic Violence Penalties & Sentencing
The penalties for domestic violence in Washington depend on the specific offense you’re charged with. Consequences can be far-reaching beyond incarceration and fines. You may be facing a misdemeanor or a felony domestic violence charge.
If your offense is a misdemeanor, you may face up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. If your offense is a felony, it could result in up to life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Domestic Violence – Alternative Penalties
If your Seattle domestic violence lawyers can negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor, you may be able to avoid incarceration and deal with charges more favorably and meaningfully. Alternative penalties in a domestic violence case may include anger management treatment, counseling, community service, or house arrest.
Other Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be far-reaching. Your freedom will likely be restricted with a restraining order. You won’t be able to work, live, and travel near the alleged victim. This can also affect your ability to be near family and loved ones.
Your child custody or visitation may be impacted as well. The family court and Child Protective Services (CPS) will likely find out about your violent conviction and consider it when determining what type of custody schedule is in the best interests of your child. If you have primary custody, a child may be taken away with a domestic violence conviction on your record.
- Difficulty finding and keeping a job.
- Difficulty finding safe housing.
- Refusal of a professional license
- Restriction of your travel
- Difficulty obtaining financial aid
- Immigration issues
Navigating King County Domestic Violence Charges
If someone calls to report domestic violence, law enforcement almost always makes an arrest. If you are arrested for a domestic incident in Washington, contact a domestic violence criminal defense attorney immediately. The legal process can quickly become complex.
After being arrested, you will be taken to the local jail and booked. This will include taking your fingerprints, photographs, and personal information. You will likely be held in jail until you can appear before a judge.
You may be released with conditions if the prosecutor files charges. If you are not immediately charged, charges may be filed in the future. You must return to court if they are filed. Once charged, the judge will likely impose a no contact order disallowing you from having contact with the alleged victim. . This can be a major inconvenience if you share a residence and have children with the alleged victim.
If the prosecutor files charges, you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at your arraignment. Your lawyer will begin investigating your case, will take part in negotiations and attack legal deficiencies on your behalf. Your defense attorney will try to get your charges dismissed or negotiate a favorable resolution with the prosecutor to reduce your charges or minimize your penalties.
If a plea agreement cannot be reached, your case may proceed to trial, where the judge or jury will reach a verdict, and you will be sentenced if found guilty.
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges in Washington
Hiring a lawyer for domestic violence charges can help you avoid a conviction by developing a strong defense strategy. Some common defenses in domestic violence situations include:
- Self-Defense: This defense is available if you can show that you used force against the alleged victim only to protect yourself from imminent harm.
- Defense of Others: This is similar to self-defense, but it applies to situations in which you used force to protect someone else from imminent harm.
- Coercion or Duress: This defense is available if you can show that you were forced to commit domestic violence crime by threats of violence or other serious harm.
- Insanity: This defense is available if you can show that they were mentally ill at the time of the crime and did not know right from wrong.
- Accidental Conduct: This defense is available if you can show that you accidentally caused the alleged victim’s injuries.
Washington Domestic Violence Info & Resources
Our domestic violence defense attorneys can help you navigate a case and protect your rights throughout the legal process. If you have additional questions, contact Emerald City Law Group for answers.
Is Domestic Violence a Felony?
Domestic violence may be charged as a felony, depending on the offense that was allegedly committed. For example, sexual assault on an intimate partner would be a felony domestic violence charge. Penalties for felony domestic violence can be as serious as life in prison and fines of up to $50,000.
Can I Avoid a Restraining Order in a Domestic Violence Case?
If you are arrested for domestic violence, the court will likely impose a no-contact order with the alleged victim. This may prevent you from seeing your children or entering your house. It’s possible to avoid a restraining order by working closely with a domestic violence attorney who can fight for your rights and present evidence of your innocence.
What if I am Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?
If falsely accused, it is crucial to remain calm, avoid contact with the accuser, and seek legal representation immediately. Providing your attorney with evidence supporting your case, such as text messages, emails, or witness statements, will be crucial to illustrate your version of events.
Can a WA No-Contact Order Be Lifted or Modified?
A no-contact order can be lifted or modified while a case is pending or after the imposition of sentence, but this requires a court appearance and a judge’s approval. The accused party often needs to attend domestic violence treatment or counseling to illustrate that there is a change of circumstances and the alleged victim must convincingly demonstrate that they are no longer at risk and have a safety plan in place.
How Does Washington Handle Domestic Violence Involving Children?
Washington takes domestic violence cases involving children very seriously. The court may issue a protection order, and Child Protective Services could become involved. The accused may lose custody or visitation rights, and parental rights may be terminated in severe cases.
Can Domestic Violence Charges be Expunged in Washington?
In Washington State, expunging a domestic violence charge is possible, but contingent upon fulfilling court requirements and a waiting period, with misdemeanors being more likely to qualify than felonies. Consulting an experienced attorney is essential for navigating this complex process and determining eligibility.
Don’t Wait. Call a Seattle Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
A domestic violence criminal defense attorney at Emerald City Law Group is ready to get started on your case. We know that you may not be able to call us immediately. You can have a friend or family member call Emerald City Law Group. We will help them understand the Washington domestic violence process and how to get you out of jail.
Emerald City Law Group Will:
- Explain your domestic violence charges and potential penalties.
- Discuss your options and alternatives to jail.
- Help you get started with anger management or counseling if it would help your case.
- Gather evidence to support your innocence.
- Help you keep your Constitutional rights, including voting, gun, and travel.
- Communicate honestly and clearly to you throughout your case.
- Work to get you the best outcome possible.
Defense Attorneys Serving Washington – Free Consults 24/7
Emerald City Law Group provides Seattle and the greater Washington area with high-caliber legal representation for those facing domestic violence accusations.
Seattle – Local Areas Served
- King County – Bellevue, Auburn, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Carnation, Duvall, Issaquah, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Seattle, & Woodinville
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