Lynnwood Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence is one of the most serious charges you can face in Washington. People are put in jail every day for domestic violence. In fact, if you are charged with a crime of domestic violence you have probably already been arrested, taken to jail and likely held overnight if not longer.
Domestic violence is the only non-felony crime in Washington where the police are required by law to take someone to jail.
We defend domestic violence charges in every court in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Skagit counties. We occasionally serve other counties as well if the need arises. Contact us today!
No two cases are the same and we take on each case with a new outlook. These cases involve thorough investigations and defense to benefit the client. We are dedicated to fighting for your needs and wants.
Read some testimonials from previous clients to get a better feel for the representation We can provide you:
"Your professionalism and commanding presence while negotiating in the courtroom gave me full confidence that you would succeed in our favor."
"I would recommend Lance as a lawyer to anyone because of his honesty, hard work, expertise and support."
What is a Domestic Violence Crime?
The term "domestic violence" does not in itself signify a crime. In other words, there is no such thing as simply being charged with "domestic violence" in the state of Washington.
Instead, "domestic violence" is a designation that serves as an enhancement to several other crimes when they are alleged to have been committed by one "family or household member" against another.
Unfortunately, the term "family or household member" is defined broadly in Washington state:
"Spouses, domestic partners, former spouses, former domestic partners, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and person who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren." - RCW 26.50.010(2).
The most common crime that gets the "domestic violence" designation in Washington is assault. Therefore, if you are charged with assaulting a family or household member by pushing them, let's say your spouse, significant other, roommate, or relative, your charge would be Assault 4 - Domestic Violence. On the other hand, if you were charged with assaulting a stranger, your charge would simply be Assault 4.
Incidents involving more severe types of domestic violence can be charged as felonies and result in much harsher penalties and jail terms. Your ability to see your children, if any, can be impaired if you have a domestic violence conviction on your record.
Consequences of Being Charged With a Crime of Domestic Violence
The consequences of a domestic violence charge could be life altering, whether or not you are convicted. This is because even an arrest or accusation is sometimes enough to dramatically affect a person's home life and social standing in the community. When children are involved, the stakes are raised even higher.
Hefty fines, prison sentences, and probation time await those who are formally found guilty of a crime of domestic violence. However, even for those who are not convicted the consequences of an accusation could continue to plague the accused. Rather than risking a guilty conviction, or even a non-guilty charge, get the defense you need to protect against the possibility of unnecessary negative consequences.
- If you are charged with a crime of Domestic Violence, you will almost certainly be arrested and taken to jail.
- Any of the crimes listed above can be punishable by up to one year in jail
- Any of the crimes listed above can be punishable by a $5,000 fine.
- A no-contact order will likely be issued against you.
- You may not be permitted to return home.
- You may not even be permitted to see your family or children.
- If you were arrested in Snohomish County, your no-contact order may expire in just 3 days. This depends if you were arrested on a City or State case.
- Most convictions of crimes of Domestic Violence will result in the permanent loss of your right to possess firearms.
Interfering with Reporting Domestic Violence
If you have been charged with committing domestic violence, you can also be charged with interfering with reporting domestic violence if you in any way prevent or attempt to prevent the victim from reporting the crime.
This entails cutting off the victim's means of calling 911, preventing reporting to the police department or a law enforcement officer, or from obtaining medical assistance. This charge is a gross misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5000. fine.
Common Washington Domestic Violence Crimes
1. Assault 4
Assault is committed when the accused intentionally makes unwanted contact with the victim. A push, shove, punch, or kick is enough. Spitting, slapping, or hair pulling is enough. Throwing an object at the victim is enough. If a weapon is used or if serious injury results, a higher level of assault may be charged. Assault 4 is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5000 fine. Assault 1, Assault 2, and Assault 3 are felonies.
Assault charges have the highest number of factual defenses. Often the best defense is the defense that you are innocent. The prosecutor must prove that you assaulted the victim beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be difficult. Another common defense is self-defense. If you are found not-guilty by a jury due to self-defense, you may be able to recover the entire cost of your defense including attorney fees and time off work. If you are charged with assault you need to see us at once. We need to interview you and begin working on your defense as possible. With early intervention, we will work hard to avoid a no-contact order being issued against you.
2. Malicious Mischief
It is not a crime to destroy your own property. If you are married, however, all of your property is presumed to be communal property, and therefore destroying it in anger is illegal. If the damaged property was yours before the marriage, we can argue that the statute does not apply. A common mistake by the police is assuming that a couple is married when in fact they are not. If you are not legally married to the victim, we may be able to assert that you alone owned the property in question. Other possible defenses include accident, prior damage, and lack of damage. There are more hidden defenses with this charge than any other.
Contact us online or by calling (425) 224-7075 as soon as possible so we can gather the necessary evidence to assert the most applicable defense.
3. Violation of Protection Orders & Violation of No-Contact Orders
Protection Order Violations or No-Contact Order Violations are committed when the accused violates the terms of a served order for protection or a served no-contact order. A "protection order" is an order that the protected party petitioned for on his or her own. A "no-contact" order is an order that is issued by a court as part of another criminal proceeding. Violation of either of these types of orders is usually punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5000 fine. A third violation of a protection order, or an assault in violation of an order, is punishable as a felony.
If you had no knowledge of the order, then there can be no violation of the order. While it is not a defense that the victim contacted you or invited you over, it may lessen the severity of the charge. Most order defenses are highly factual. To have the best chance, contact me as soon as possible so we can explore your defenses and determine what the prosecutor is likely able to prove.
Harassment is committed when the accused threatens to harm the victim and the victim reasonably fears that the threat will be carried out. Harassment is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5000 fine. A threat to kill or a repeat offense is punishable as a felony.
Comments can be interpreted in many ways. If an individual is already in a certain state of mind, a wide variety of statements could be perceived as threats. The prosecutor must prove that your comment was actually an intentional threat. The prosecutor must also prove that the victim reasonably feared that the threat would be carried out. If you are charged with harassment, it is very important that you discuss your case with no one other than a Lynnwood domestic violence attorney. The prosecutor will use what you say after the fact against you to argue that your statement was a threat. Contact us as soon as possible so your side of the story can be properly represented.
5. Interfering with Reporting Domestic Violence
Interference with Reporting Domestic Violence involves the accused preventing the victim from calling the police after suffering a crime of domestic violence by the accused. This crime is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5000 fine.
If you did commit a domestic violence offense, then it is illegal to have interfered with the victim reporting the crime. If, however, you were unaware that the victim was attempting to call the police, you are not guilty of interference. This crime usually is charged along with another domestic violence charge. Often times defeating the underlying domestic violence charge will be enough to have this charge dismissed.
If You Have A Legal Defense, We Will Find It
We are sure you have many questions right now. You may be wondering what a no-contact order means for you, whether or not you can contact your family, what will happen to you in court, and more. We can answer these questions and more. If you would like, we can even set you an appointment for a free consultation at our office to go over what really happened and what you should do next.
Lance Fryrear paid his dues as a former prosecutor for seven years and has been on the defense side now for over 25 years. He knows how the system works. Having examined thousands of defenses as a prosecutor; if you retain his services, he will stop at nothing to find the best defense based on the severity of your charges.
Facing domestic violence charges? Contact a Lynnwood domestic violence lawyer online or by calling (425) 224-7075.
“Thank you for your help during my legal crisis. Your particular brand of counsel was a comfort and a blessing to me. Keep being real.”- A.M.
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