Domestic Violence is a horrible thing. No one will defend the existence of it, and this article will not suggest otherwise. However, facing the charge of it, guilty or innocent, completely alone is terrifying. No matter what, you need the knowledge and skill of an experienced counsel at your side. Domestic Violence has many intricacies that are specific to these kinds of cases.
The most obvious of them will be discovered by the vast majority of Domestic Violence Defendants just after the police are contacted. Once a Domestic Violence call has been made, the Police, so long as they believe in its accuracy, must arrest at least one individual, and take them to jail. This is by statute, giving the officers no leeway. One of the interesting results is that even if both parties are committing acts of domestic violence on each other (a situation more common then you might think) the police can’t leave without taking one of them to jail. If they so choose, they can arrest both and take them, but at least one is going to go to jail.
The next applies to every crime in Washington State, but is of particular relevance to Domestic Violence charges. You may have heard the phrases ‘dropping the charges’ or ‘not pressing charges.’ As in, the alleged victim can just stop the criminal case. This is a widespread misconception. From the moment an alleged victim calls the police, the choice of whether the case goes forward is out of their hands. In fact, if the alleged victim doesn’t want to participate, they can be jailed themselves, under a material witness warrant.
There are also additional consequences of being convicted of a crime of assault, domestic violence, that are not present in other gross misdemeanors. The court can enter a no contact order, preventing the perpetrator from having contact with the victim, even if they remained married. Violation of that order is its own separate crime, so even entirely consensual contact between the perpetrator and the victim can end with the perpetrator jailed again. Indeed, even contact initiated by the victim can end with the perpetrator in jail.
The second consequence is automatic upon convictions. Most Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Convictions do not result in your right to own, use, or possess a firearm being revoked. Assault, Domestic Violence, automatically results in your right to use one being revoked. Possession of a Firearm after such a conviction is another easy way to end up in jail. There are many intricacies involved in facing down a charge of Assault 4, Domestic Violence. You need experienced defense counsel at your side, to make sure the result is the right one.