The Holidays are a Hotbed for Domestic Violence Arrests

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. 

Beneath the charm of the holiday season lies an undeniable truth, however: the holidays can be stressful. Unfortunately, this time of year and the pressures it brings often correlate with an increased rate of domestic violence arrests. 

Briefly, domestic violence in Washington state occurs when a particular crime (including but not limited to assault, trespassing, burglary, rape, and stalking) is committed between family members, household members, or intimate partners. A family or household member could be a spouse, romantic partner, roommate, blood relative, someone with whom you share children, or a relative by marriage.

Domestic Violence Mandatory Arrest Rule

One of the most important things for those accused of domestic violence in Washington is the state’s mandatory arrest rule. Essentially, this means police responding to a domestic violence call are required to arrest someone if they have probable cause to believe a crime has occurred. There is no room for officers to exercise their discretion and not make an arrest on the scene. In fact, an officer could have probable cause that bodily injury has been inflicted on the alleged victim even if no injury is observable on the victim’s body.

In many cases, a simple accusation is enough for police to determine probable cause for a domestic violence arrest. Combine that with the mandatory arrest rule, and there’s a much higher likelihood that the accused will spend at least one night in jail. The accused must then go in front of a judge to determine bail. Additionally, those accused of domestic violence will often become the subject of a no-contact order, which places certain restrictions on the accused’s movements and usually requires them to move out of the family home.

It’s worth noting that, with the help of a skilled attorney, a domestic violence arrest might not develop into a formal charge of domestic violence. This largely depends on how the prosecutor views the evidence and the overall likelihood of conviction. 

Still, the merits of a particular domestic violence case have no impact on the mandatory arrest rule and the troubles a mere allegation can bring to the accused. All it takes is a neighbor or some other family member to call 911 during a heated argument for the chain reaction, of sorts, to begin. Perhaps the person calling 911 simply wanted the police to help diffuse the situation. Maybe both parties involved in the allegation simply wish to spend the night at different places.

None of those factors matter much when the police respond. If anyone tells an officer that someone kicked, slapped, hit, or so much as threatened to do those things to another person, the police are almost certainly going to take someone to jail. 

Anyone facing a charge as serious as domestic violence needs to call an experienced Washington attorney as soon as possible. Our firm has defended those accused of domestic violence in almost every situation imaginable. We understand the intense emotions that run parallel with these types of criminal charges, and we will do everything possible to get the charges behind you. Call us at (206) 933-2414, and we would be delighted to discuss your options.

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Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC

The first step of our approach here at Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC? Listening to you explain your legal situation. Our attorneys have nearly 40 years of combined experience in successfully defending people against the most serious accusations.

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