Domestic Violence charges in Washington State involve two or more people, whose relationships under the statute are defined at RCW 26.50.010. The details vary from case to case, but they usually involve accusations of destruction of shared property, physical assault, or a harassment of some kind either in person or through electronic means.
DV charges usually come with strict conditions at the beginning of the case that include no contact orders. A violation of a no contact order is itself an additional potential criminal charge. Because of these common conditions, the accused often has to secure a new residence away from the protected party either temporarily or for a much longer period. Further, at the resolution of a DV case a Domestic Violence evaluation is often ordered which will recommend very costly and extensive treatment.
Although relationships exist that involve an abusive dynamic, domestic violence charges in Washington State can often stem from a nosey neighbor who hears a couple having an argument or they may be reported by a party claiming to be a victim who is in reality not being truthful. Conversely, it is not unusual for an alleged victim to regret involving the authorities later on wishing that there be no further prosecution. The bad news in both situations is that when the cops show up, they usually want to determine a primary aggressor and start a report to hand to a prosecutor. And if the prosecutor thinks they have a case where conviction is possible, it is likely they will move forward regardless of the desires of the parties involved.
Many defendants become frustrated claiming that there is no evidence when the only witnesses are the alleged victim and the defendant. Even if there are no visible marks on an alleged victim and it truly is a proverbial “he said, she said” type of a case, the prosecution usually will file the charge due to the alleged victim’s initial testimony.
Prosecutors cannot try every domestic violence case that comes across their desk. Naturally, they have to prioritize. Things like severity of the accusations, coupled with similar or general criminal history will place each case in a unique position. For example, a case with a couple arguing and a damaged, shared house door will have a better chance at dismissal than a repeat offender who inflicts bodily harm on a victim.
A Domestic Violence conviction can strip you of your firearm rights, blemish an otherwise clear criminal record, and cost lots of time and money in fines and treatment. If you’ve been charged or believe you will be for any type of Domestic Violence crime, you need to contact an attorney immediately. The prosecution will be building a case from the beginning. You should as well.
Featured photo from here.