Domestic Violence

Confronting a System That’s Often Unfair for the Accused

The current domestic violence justice system is fast, confusing and often unfair. All it takes is for a 911 call to be made and the system kicks in with mandatory arrests, no bail jail holds, no contact orders and mandatory court hearings.

No corroboration is required.  The law also does not require corroboration in the form of injury, eyewitnesses or even the consent and support of the alleged victim. Rarely, if ever, is there an investigation into the innocence of the accused person.

What is Domestic Violence?

There are four degrees of assault in Washington’s criminal code.  Assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, Assault in the third degree, and Assault in the fourth degree.

The lowest level of assault is Assault in the fourth degree. Assault in the fourth degree is a gross misdemeanor. The other degrees of assault are felonies.  Assault in the fourth degree domestic violence is also often referred to as “misdemeanor assault” or “Assault DV.”

Assault in the fourth degree is defined by statute: “A person is guilty of assault in the fourth degree if, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first, second, or third-degree, or custodial assault, he or she assaults another.”

Very generally, assaults in the first, second and third-degree usually involve some injury, a weapon or other serious use of force.  4th degree Assault does not require injury.

What is the Domestic Violence Label All About?

The relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim can convert a crime into a domestic violence offense. If the defendant and the alleged victim are “family or household members” or “intimate partners”, the charge is classified as a domestic violence offense.

“Family or household members” are: (a) Adult persons related by blood or marriage; (b) adult persons who are presently residing together or have resided together in the past; and (c) persons who have biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.”

“Intimate partner” means: (a) Spouses, or domestic partners; (b) former spouses, or former domestic partners; (c) persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; (d) adult persons presently or previously residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship; and (f) persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship.

A domestic violence conviction can result in several possible unique outcomes:

  •   Domestic violence treatment
  •   Firearm surrender and firearm rights revocation
  •   Payment of a domestic violence assessment
  •   Domestic Violence no contact order
  •   Penalties for re-offense can be strict
  •   Sentencing outcomes can be more severe

Domestic violence doesn’t have to be the “classic” drunk husband beating his wife daily. In fact, in 2013, domestic violence prosecutions encompass the most minor of “assaults” such as pushing.

Domestic violence charges, including felony domestic violence charges, can be filed when there is no violence at all, such as with:

  • Harassment
  • Interfering with domestic violence report
  • Property destruction
  • Residential burglary 

While this may be difficult to understand, it is, in fact, how the system works. We understand the system, how it works, and we know how to navigate it to our client’s advantage.

We Won’t Let You Get Blindsided Again

If you are accused of domestic violence, there are sudden and immediate deprivations of your rights that you must move to protect. Days in jail can lead to emotional damage and job loss. A No Contact order can keep you from your home, belongings, and loved ones. There are special domestic violence courts, prosecutors, and detectives who have already begun their work. 

Others are already working against you; it’s time to get an attorney working for you and one who is a domestic violence defense attorney.

As domestic violence defense attorneys, we take immediate action to fix the most immediate problems. We work to get you out of jail and back in contact with your loved ones, home, and belongings. We identify who your prosecutor and judge are so we can start advocating for you now.

We Protect All of Your Rights

Beyond the immediate problems, the bigger picture has to be addressed. Just like you, we don’t want you to be convicted of a crime and lose important rights. It’s our job not to let that happen to you. We strive to expose false allegations and get cases dismissed through diligent work. We’ve done that over and over again in courts all over western Washington. 

If there is merit to the accusation and you have made a mistake not characteristic of you, we know the optimal ways to get a positive outcome anyway. If there isn’t a satisfactory pretrial resolution of dismissal or settlement, we will marshal every bit of information and all rules to your advantage in a hearing before a judge or jury. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a protection for you, and we know how to present those arguments.

We Seek the Position of the Alleged Victim

A “victim” may be heavily invested in the prosecution or very opposed to it. The outcome of the case is not certain in either scenario because the prosecutor is in charge of the charges until a jury or judge takes over. The perspective of the victim does not control the prosecutor, but it can influence the prosecutor. We know how to evaluate the different postures an alleged victim may take and to utilize that or neutralize that as needed.

We Are Among the Highest-Rated and Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys in Western Washington

We know the steps to take, both inside and outside the courtroom, to prepare the best defense possible. Through our own investigations, we uncover the evidence that will expose accusations as unreliable or simply fabricated, leading to a favorable settlement being reached or cases dismissed entirely.

Our knowledge and experience have led to numerous successes for our clients. We are ready to work for you today.