Bainbridge Island is primarily patrolled by Bainbridge Island Police. The patrol area is not particularly large for the number of law enforcement on the Island. For this reason, we see more “involvement” when there are responses to 911 calls. What this means for residents is that you may experience a greater likelihood of investigation or arrest. For example, we see more MIP (Minor In Possession) charges as well as more Assault 4 Domestic Violence arrests where the facts seem less egregious or the parties have resolved the situation.
This is not to say that Bainbridge PD have no reason to arrest an individual based on the basic facts provided. However, the response seems different than other situations across the county. For example, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputies certainly make many Assault 4 arrests but they tend to meet the fact pattern necessary for the mandatory arrest rules.
Professional License Problems
One of the biggest complaints or concerns we see as a result of an Assault charge on Bainbridge Island is the potential impact to a professional license. Since Bainbridge is a more affluent area, many of the residents on Bainbridge work in professional capacities that require licensing oversight such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, and real estate agents. A criminal charge, even if it was a misunderstanding, can have long term financial consequences for the defendant. The sooner the case is dismissed or resolved as an alternative resolution agreement, the better it is for the client.
We always have our clients consult with a licensing specialist in their particular field to see if there will be a professional consequence. Sometimes, a dismissal is not possible due to the facts of the case but we can often still get an alternative resolution that results in a later dismissal or reduction in charge. In an alternative resolution, the client can seek guidance on terms of the resolution that may allow for limited consequence to the professional license. This is always our goal for those individuals with professional licenses or security clearances.
No contact order
Due to a small footprint, the logistics of a No Contact Order (NCO) can be a challenge. The residents of Bainbridge are likely to cross paths easily doing basic errands or in a work setting. For this reason, it is critical to have an attorney argue at your Arraignment with this in mind.
It is very difficult to re-address a No Contact Order once it is in place and the case is pending. If you have a local attorney familiar with the area, it is possible he or she could help carve out exceptions within the No Contact Order that allow the defendant to work or grocery shop without violating the NCO.
The Victim Can Not Drop The Charges
Do not delay in reaching out to an attorney because you think the “misunderstanding” will get resolved when the victim “drops the charges.” In Washington, it is the state or city bringing the charges against you so the victim cannot drop charges.
Additionally, prosecutors are trained to understand that true victims often try to recant their story or “drop charges” because they feel there will be less punishment or harm to them by protecting the perpetrator. For this reason, even if you are caught up in a true misunderstanding or law enforcement escalated the situation, realize that the case is not going away.
The best chance you have for a quick or positive outcome is to get a very experienced criminal defense attorney on the case right away. Even a delay of a few weeks can mean the case won’t get resolved before the next Pre-Trial hearing so the No Contact Order could be in place for an additional month or two until your next Pre-Trial date.
The judge will not lift the No Contact Order while your criminal case is pending. So, don’t delay in getting a local defense attorney who understands Bainbridge Island cases to walk you through the process.
A better outcome with early representation
As noted above, the most critical component to a positive resolution in an Assault 4 Domestic Violence case is early guidance from a local criminal defense attorney. If your attorney is familiar with the practices and procedures as well as the disposition of the judge and prosecutor, you are far more likely to get proper advice about the No Contact Order as well as conditions of release at your Arraignment. Not understanding the real limits of your No Contact Order can easily lead to an additional criminal charge that will ruin any chance of a positive outcome on your original Assault case.
We always want to be on an Assault case before Arraignment so we can have our clients do several proactive things that will put the client in a better light. It’s always more beneficial if these tasks get accomplished before Arraignment but we can still create a better path forward if the client calls as soon as possible after the Arraignment.
Early dismissal or alternative resolution
The sooner we are on the case, the more we can accomplish before the first Pre-Trial hearing. This is really important because there are appointments you need to complete prior to pre-Trial and they often take weeks or months to accomplish.
Through years of experience and connections, we can often get our clients into assessments early. This allows us to get the case resolved faster, get the No Contact Order lifted, and allows the client to tackle any professional license issues because the case is no longer pending in limbo.
Additionally, by getting the No Contact Order lifted, it reduces the chance our client will accidentally pick up another criminal charge by violating that Order. These Assault cases are particularly tricky on Bainbridge for this reason and early resolution is always beneficial.
If you have been charged with Assault by the Bainbridge Island Prosecutor or the Kitsap County Prosecutor, give our office a call for a consultation. We are here 7 days a week.