Assault charges with the special allegation of domestic violence are very common this time of year. Perhaps it’s the stress of finances or just spending too much time together, tensions are higher. Part of our job is to help the accused and their loved ones understand what it means to have this special allegation attached to their criminal charge. Whether it is Theft—DV or Assault—DV, the tag of domestic violence is important for many reasons.
One of the most burdensome results from the Domestic Violence allegation is typically the length of the No Contact Order. It is costly and difficult for the defendant to remain out of the home while the case is pending. It becomes overwhelming when there are children involved and the alleged victim wants help with the parenting responsibilities. While cost of maintaining a separate residence as well as missing family are big reasons to want the No Contact Order gone, there are many other reasons a defendant wants to fight the special allegation of domestic violence.
Watch this video to learn more about the definition of Domestic Violence in Washington State.
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It was just a misunderstanding so why did I get arrested?
Because Washington State has a mandatory arrest rule, when someone calls 911 for help during a domestic dispute, someone has to be arrested. The officers have to make a quick decision as to who is the primary aggressor—even if both people are being aggressive with one another. This does not always end up with the correct result.
Learn more about Washington’s Mandatory Arrest Rule
Unfortunately, the “tag” or special allegation of domestic violence attached to any criminal charge raises the stakes for the defendant. In addition to the typical No Contact Order put in place, the defendant has much more serious conditions of release as well as the loss of firearm privileges. When someone is arrested for a DV charge, the “prime” time a private attorney can help the defendant is BEFORE the Arraignment. This can change the trajectory of the case. A public defender can’t do this because they are not assigned until the Arraignment.
The second most beneficial time for a private defense attorney to help is when the case is being resolved. There are often many loose ends to a domestic violence case. For example, there are ways a private defense attorney can reach out to the victim to determine if he or she is ready to request the No Contact Order be lifted at the same time the defendant enters into an agreement with the state. This can be tricky and it only happens under special circumstances where the judge is satisfied that the victim is not in any danger. The defendant AND the victim must have done certain things to satisfy the judge’s concerns. This is not something that will be coordinated by a public defender. It is outside the scope of their duties.
We have a lot of content on our blog and YouTube channel on this topic. None of it should be construed as legal advice but it might help you understand the backdrop of how domestic violence cases get charged, the urgency of seeking help, and the more significant punishment that is associated with these charges.
Here are just a few blogs on the topic:
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If you have a criminal charge in Kitsap County, Washington, please reach out to our office. We are available 7 days a week. 360-792-1000