When someone is assaulted there are four different levels of assault charges that can be brought against the attacker in Washington State. These charges are designated as assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree and assault in the fourth degree.

What Is Assault In The First Degree In Washington State?

In Washington State, a person is guilty of Assault 1 when they set out to inflict great bodily harm [1]. When the attacker uses a firearm, another deadly weapon, or deadly force in the attack to cause serious injury to the victim this qualifies as Assualt 1, which is a class A felony. Assault 1 can also encompass poisoning or exposure or transmitting of a deadly disease [2].

What Is Assault In The Second Degree In Washington State?

Assault in the second degree is a lesser charge compared to Assault 1. A person is guilty of Assault 2 when they intentionally assault another person but recklessly cause serious bodily harm to the victim [3].

Assault 2 also applies to unborn babies. A person would be guilty of Assault 2 if they intentionally cause serious bodily harm to an unborn child by injuring the mother [4].

Assault 2, which is a class B felony, also encompasses harm by torture, strangulation, and suffocating.

What Is Assault In The Third Degree In Washington State?

Assault 3, which is a class C felony, is a broader charge and applies in distinct and varied circumstances regarding many public and private employees of government or transit agencies.

This charge applies when [5]:

  • Someone resists lawful arrest or tries to prevent another from being lawfully detained.
  • Someone assaults a public or private transit operator or driver, security officer, or transit contractor while they are performing their official duties.
  • Someone assaults a school bus driver, the immediate supervisor of the driver, or security officer of a school district while they are performing their official duties.
  • When, with criminal neglience, bodily harm is caused by a weapon or other instrument.
  • When someone causes bodily harm for an extended period of time that causes excessive, unnecessary suffering and pain.
  • Someone assaults a firefighter or fire department employee while they’re performing their official duties.
  • Someone assaults a law enforcement officer or an employee of a law enforcement agency while they’re performing their official duties.
  • Assault of a licensed nurse, physician or healthcare provider while they are working.
  • Assault of any court officers while they’re performing their job. This includes a judge, bailiff, court manager, court reporter or anyone else performing official court functions. This also applies to anyone in the court, judge’s chambers or jury room at the time of the assault.

What Is Assault In The Fourth Degree In Washington State?

Assault 4 is the lesser of the four assault charges and is considered a gross misdemeanor [6].

In domestic violence cases, the attacker can be charged with Assault 4 if the violence is proven and the attacker pleads guilty. The attacker must have less than two prior adult convictions in the previous 10 years to be charged with Assault 4 [7].

Assault 4 can also encompass some harassment charges.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With Assault In Washington State?

If you’ve been charged with assault in Washington State, or you’re involved in an assault case, contact the lawyers a Priest Criminal Defense right away to help you understand and build your case. Our team has years of experience navigating criminal law in Washington State and winning cases like yours.

[1] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.011

[2] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.011

[3] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.021

[4] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.021

[5] “RCW 9A.36.031 Assault In The Third Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.031

[6] “RCW 9A.36.041 Assault In The Fourth Degree.” Washington State Legislature.   https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.041

[7] “RCW 9A.36.041 Assault In The Fourth Degree.” Washington State Legislature.   https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.041

Imagining your spouse dying feels terrible, but unfortunately, it’s a good idea to have a plan in case the unthinkable happens.

Whether you and your partner are equal income earners or one partner is the bread-winner having a plan can help the living partner navigate an impossible time.

How Can I Protect My Family If My Spouse Dies In Washington State?

If you or your spouse have dependents that rely on you for care and finances, an estate plan can help protect them.

You can use your estate plan to ensure your spouse receives the full property and any inheritance you have. Some states only allow a spouse with no children to inherit one-third to half of the estate, with the rest going to siblings or parents. So if you ever move out of Washington, you’ll want this clearly stated in your wishes [1].

If your family is all on the breadwinner’s health care plan, you may also want to think about a backup plan and how that would be paid for.

You may also want to consider taking out life insurance policies to help supplement any income lost or caring giving responsibilities lost due to the death of a spouse. The money from an insurance policy can help pay for care for young children, pay your mortgage or rent, and help provide some relief financially while grieving.

What Happens If Only One Spouse Is On The Mortgage?

If one spouse purchased your home before getting married and the other spouse was not on the mortgage, you need a plan before that spouse passes. First, you’ll want to designate your spouse as the property’s beneficiary in your estate plan [2]. You’ll also want to check for a due-on-sale clause in the mortgage, which means upon transfer or sale the full remaining mortgage amount is due. You’ll want to consult an attorney to discuss how your spouse can assume the loan on the house if the spouse on the mortgage passes away.

What If My Partner And I Are Not Legally Married?

If you and your partner live together but are not legally married, creating an estate plan will help protect your family. If you do not have a marriage certificate or civil union if one of you dies the other will not be able to make any end of life care decisions nor inherit any property or money [2]. Instead, all of your property will go to your closest living relative.

In addition to creating an estate plan, will, and assigning a power of attorney, unmarried partners should designate beneficiaries on bank accounts.

What If We Have Step Children?

If you and your spouse have any stepchildren, it’s important to know that legally your stepchildren do not have any legal rights to your estate, unless they are legally adopted [4]. If you want any stepchildren to be included in the step-parents will, you’ll need to designate that through gifts designated in your will.

What Should We Do To Create A Plan For Our Family?

If you and your partner currently do not have a plan for if one of you dies, call to set up an appointment with a lawyer at Priest Family Law. Our team has experience creating estate plans that will give you and your spouse peace of mind for you and your family. We understand this can be a hard situation to imagine but we can help guide you through creating an estate plan that protects your family, designates guardians for children, and helps ensure your property and money has the correct beneficiaries.

[1] Keene, Valerie. “Estate Planning For Millennials.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/estate-planning-for-millennials.html

[2] Loftsgordon, Amy. “If I’m Not On The Mortgage, Can The Bank Foreclose After My Spouse Dies?” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/if-i-am-not-the-mortgage-can-the-bank-foreclose-after-my-spouse-dies.html

[3] Randolph, Mary. “Estate Planning For Unmarried Partners.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/estate-planning-for-unmarried-partners.html

[4] “Stepchildren And Your Will.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/step-children-and-your-will.html

In the eyes of the law, people have a legal right to defend themselves if they feel their lives are in danger.

In the legal world, self-defense has been designed to protect people who are attacked by someone else, unprovoked. The victim in this scenario is even allowed to use deadly force in order to protect themselves if the threat they are facing is deadly.

However, the use of force for self-defense can transform into assault if deadly force is used after the aggressor has verbally communicated that they’ve given up or the threat the victim is facing is not deadly [1]. Any aggression that the victim displays at this point can be seen or charged as assault. [2]

What Are The Exceptions To Using Deadly Force In Self-Defense?

Understanding what deadly force is can help frame how self-defense can quickly turn into an assault charge. The definition of deadly force varies from state to state, but in many states, deadly force means if the force used is likely to cause death or serious injury [3].

The law permits the use of deadly force in self-defense when there is a deadly threat. So people are only allowed to use deadly force in self-defense when there is a threat of harm so great that it could cause them death or serious injury. To qualify as self-defense, a reasonable person would deem deadly force necessary in the situation. If a lesser amount of force would protect the victim, then deadly force is not warranted [4]. If a victim uses deadly force when it is not necessary, it can be charged as assault.

In some states, if there is a window to retreat the scene and flee the threat, victims may not use deadly force. In legal terms, this is known as a duty to retreat [5]. If the victim retaliates against their attacker using force when there is an opportunity to get away, this can be seen as assault.

If I Hit Someone First In Washington State, Can I Claim Self Defense?

If someone feels they are about to experience great harm or threat, they do not have to wait to use force to protect themselves [6]. For example, if someone has a baseball bat and says they’re going to hit you, you’d be allowed to hit them first, before they strike, to protect yourself. This would qualify as self-defense.

However, let’s say you encounter someone you’ve had a physical fight with in the past. You’re worried this person will strike you again, but they have not made any verbal threats. You can’t hit them first to protect yourself because there is no real threat of imminent danger.

What Should I Do If I Acted In Self Defense But Have Been Charged With Assault In Washington State?

If you were in an altercation and you believe you were acting in self-defense, but have been charged with assault, contact a criminal defense lawyer at Priest Criminal Defense immediately. Our team of experts have experience defending those that acted in self-defense and can help you present your best defense.

[1] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Limits On Self Defense.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/limits-on-self-defense.html

[2] “Self Defense Law: Overview.” Find Law. https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/self-defense-overview.html

[3] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/criminal-defenses-self-defense.html

[4] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/criminal-defenses-self-defense.html

[5] Schwartzbach, Micah. “Criminal Law Defenses: Self Defense.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/criminal-defenses-self-defense.html

[6] Bergman, Paul. “Can I claim self defense if I hit someone first?” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-i-claim-self-defense-i-hit-someone.html

When creating your estate plan, you will be faced with some hard questions about how you want your property and assets distributed, as well as about your end of life care. You’ll also need to choose an executor to manage your will and estate after you pass. Here are some questions you’ll need to ask yourself while estate planning.

Who Should I Choose For My Executor In Washington State?

Who you should choose as your executor is a personal question that depends on your family and friend relationships. If you are married, choosing your spouse can be a good choice. You and your spouse likely share property, bank accounts and personal wishes with each other, so your spouse is a good candidate to best execute your wishes. Unmarried or widowed people may choose a sibling or an older adult child. You can also appoint two co-executors, but sometimes this is unwise if they disagree [1]. The most important thing is naming someone you trust with your finances and is qualified to complete the tasks needed [1]. It’s also wise to choose someone who lives close to you.

Who Do I Want To Inherit My Property In Washington State?

Deciding who you want to inherit your property and assets is another personal decision that depends on your relationship. Often, people will choose their spouse, child or grandchildren. However, if you have an unmarried partner and want them to inherit any part of your estate you’ll need to explicitly say so in your estate plan and name each other as beneficiaries on bank accounts [2]. You can also leave some of your estate to a charity by leaving a gift in your will or trust [3].

In Washington State Is A Will Or A Living Trust Better?

Talking with an estate planning attorney can help you better decide if you want a will or living trust. Wills generally cost less than creating a living trust, but the benefit of a living trust is your property won’t have to go through probate [4].

Who Do I Want To Be Guardian Of My Children?

If you have any children under the age of 18 years old, you will want to appoint a legal guardian for them, if you die, in your will [4]. You can also appoint a financial guardian for your child. It’s best to ask who you choose before appointing them without their knowledge.

With Washington State Law In Mind, What Are My End Of Life Care Wishes?

During estate planning, you can create a living will or healthcare directive. In these documents, you can appoint a power of attorney who can make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so [4]. People often choose their power of attorney to be the same person as their executor. In your healthcare directive, you can also designate if you’d like a do not resuscitate or if you would like extreme measures taken. Washington State is one of the few states that has a Death with Dignity Act, allowing assisted suicide for those who are terminally ill [5]. This can also be noted in your documents.

What Do I Want My Funeral To Look Like?

In your estate plan, you can leave directions on if you want your body to be cremated or buried, and if you prefer a funeral or memorial service [4]. You could also tell your loved ones what you’d like to be buried with or any songs you’d like played.

What Law Firm Should I Choose In Washington State To Help Me Create An Estate Plan?

Choosing the right lawyer to create your estate plan is an important part of the process. At Priest Family Law, we have vast experience creating estate plans in Washington State and helping our clients answer the hard questions that come up during this process.

[1] “Naming An Executor.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/technical-support-main/online-will-naming-executor.html

[2] Randolph, Mary. “Estate Planning For Unmarried Partners.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/estate-planning-for-unmarried-partners.html

[3] Keene, Valerie. “Estate Planning For Millennials.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/estate-planning-for-millennials.html

[4] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “What Is Estate Planning?” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-estate-planning.html

[5] “Death With Dignity Act.” Washington State Department of Health. https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/DeathwithDignityAct

 

When an attacker commits a physical assault with an object, that can cause death or serious bodily injury because of how it is designed, this is charged as an assault with a deadly weapon [1]. In Washington States and all other 49 states, assault with a deadly weapon is classified as a felony.

How Is Assault With A Deadly Weapon Charge Classified In Washington State?

In Washington State, assault with a deadly weapon is considered to be an Assault 1 charge, which is classified as a class A felony, or an Assault 2 charge, which is a class B felony [2] [3].

Assault 1 would be applied because the attacker intended to produce great bodily harm or death using the object. Assault 1 also automatically applies if the deadly weapon is a firearm. Assault 2 would be applied if the attacker’s original intent was not great bodily harm.

What Is Considered A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

When thinking about a deadly weapon, your mind might go to a gun or a knife. These are both considered deadly weapons, but in court, the prosecutor wouldn’t need to prove these to be deadly weapons to a jury because it’s evident [4]. But the legal definition for what constitutes a deadly weapon is much broader than these obvious items.

In legal terms, deadly weapons are considered objects that can cause substantial bodily harm. This can be a car or a baseball bat because if you drive into someone or hit them in the head with a baseball bat it can be deadly.

Depending on how the attacker uses certain objects, everyday items can be escalated to deadly weapons in court, such as shoes, rocks, or pocketknives [4].

The human body can also be seen as a deadly weapon, based on the amount of force applied during the attack or diseases the body carries, such as HIV. If the attacker is HIV positive and has unprotected sex with someone without disclosing their status, this can be charged as Assault 1 with a deadly weapon [4].

What Is The Punishment For Assault With A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

The punishment for assaulting someone with a deadly weapon will vary based on the force used and the injuries inflicted on the victim. Since assault with a deadly weapon is considered a felony, there is a high risk of prison time. In addition to or instead of prison time, the defendant may be fined. The defendant’s previous record will also be considered during sentencing.

In general, in Washington State class A felonies can carry up to a life sentence in prison and class B felonies can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Charged With Assault With A Deadly Weapon In Washington State?

If you’ve been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, reach out to the team at Priest Criminal Law immediately. Our team of esteemed attorneys have years of experience defending Assault 1 charges. We can help you build your best case with the goal of an acquittal or a lesser sentence.

 

[1] Portman, Janet. “Assault With A Deadly Weapon.” Nolo. https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Assault-Deadly-Weapon.htm

[2] “RCW 9A.36.011 Assault In The First Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.011

[3] “RCW 9A.36.021 Assault In The Second Degree.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.36.021

[4] Portman, Janet. “Assault With A Deadly Weapon.” Nolo. https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Assault-Deadly-Weapon.htm

 

 

Choosing to create a trust can help your loved ones avoid probate, taxes, and keep your finances private after your death [1].  A trust can help you control the inheritance you’re giving by distributing by your assets over time to your beneficiaries or when they reach a certain age [1].

When creating a trust, it’s important to note there are different types, such as an irrevocable trust.

What Is An Irrevocable Trust?

An irrevocable trust is a trust that can not be terminated once it has been created and goes into effect after the person who created it dies [2]. This makes them different than revocable trusts, which can be terminated until the person who created the trust dies [2]. You can also create a living irrevocable trust, which goes into effect before the creator dies, eliminating the creator’s ownership of any property or assets now in the trust [2]. The main benefit of an irrevocable trust is tax benefits.

In Washington State, Can An Irrevocable Trust Be Changed?

There are some exceptions to changing an irrevocable trust, but it can be challenging depending on the terms of the trust when it was created. In some cases, changes can be made if all the beneficiaries of the trust are in agreement, the change is in the best interest of the beneficiaries, or another legal exception applies [3].

What Are The Types Of Irrevocable Trusts Available In Washington State?

Irrevocable trusts can be created in a variety of ways to protect your property and help bypass taxes for your beneficiaries [2]. Some of the most common types of irrevocable trusts are:

  • Bypass Trusts: This trust exists for spouses. When the first spouses passes away, the majority of the estate will go into the bypass trust. Then, the living spouse can use the trust property, but when the second spouse dies the property is not included in his or her estate [2].
  •  QTIP Trust: This helps a married couple delay paying taxes until the second spouse dies [2].
  • Charitable Trusts: These types of trusts allow you to reduce income and taxes on your estate by leaving a large amount to a charitable organization [2].
  • Generation-Skipping Trusts: These trusts leave the majority of an estate to the deceased’s grandchildren. In this scenario, the grandchild is a beneficiary of the trust, but never owns the property, which shields it from tax when the child eventually dies [2].
  • Life Insurance Trusts: This helps shield the income from a life insurance policy from tax [2].
  • Special Needs Trusts: This type of trust allows money to be used to help support someone with special needs without disqualifying them for government benefits [2].

In Washington State, Can I Create My Own Irrevocable Trust?

To create the best irrevocable trust, it’s a good idea to hire a seasoned attorney, as more irrevocable trusts require a lawyer to draft them. The team at Priest Family Law can help you understand how an irrevocable trust works and create a trust that is right for you and your specific situation.

[1] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Why Make A Trust.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/trust-planning/what-is-the-purpose-of-a-trust.html

[2] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Irrevocable Living Trusts.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/irrevocable-living-trusts.html

[3] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Modifying Or Terminating A Trust.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/modifying-or-terminating-a-trust.html

coronavirus-COVID-Business-Response-2

VanWa Legal’s Update To Coronavirus

Updated March 16th, 2020

Dear Customers, Visitors, Family & Friends

In order to help battle the spread of the Coronavirus, our office is changing all face to face client meetings to phone calls and/or virtual meetings.

  • We will update this policy as more information is made available.
  • Our office is still open during this time, we are still working on our existing client matters and available for new client matters, we are merely trying to avoid face to face interaction as much as possible to be in compliance with recommendations from the CDC.
  • Thank you for your understanding. Please call, text, or email us with any questions or concerns.

When it comes to our physical offices, though we are taking extreme precautions to mitigate any risks of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 for our customers and staff, we have still received many questions and wished to proactively address how we are responding:

  • As of this writing, we are still open for business but we are moving all in-person consultations and meetings to Skype or phone calls as noted above.
  • When it comes to our offices, we have implemented the CDC guidelines of ‘social distancing’ and zero-touch in-person meetings.
  • Business personnel have been busy with extra cleanings of the office and other high-touch areas.
  • We will immediately implement any new CDC guidelines as this pandemic unfolds.

There are simple things the CDC recommends you do to help keep yourself and others healthy if requested to visit our location for any reason:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

We will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and make every attempt to keep you informed. Emergency notifications to staff and patients will be conducted through our emergency communication channels including text notifications, telephone calls, and communicated directly to customers.

For updated information on this rapidly changing situation, please visit the CDC website here: http://bit.ly/39TQIyg

VanWa Legal

If you’re being abused, harassed, stalked or going through a divorce, you may be considering filing a restraining order.

If you feel that you’re in danger, a restraining order, which can also be known as a protection order, can be issued quickly in Washington State with the help of an attorney.

What Does A Restraining Order Encompass In Washington State?

Restraining orders are filed in domestic abuse cases or family law cases, such as divorce cases or paternity cases [1]. Restraining orders are broader than a Domestic Violence Order Of Protection and in addition to domestic violence, restraining orders can deal with property issues, child custody, and spousal support. For example, if during a divorce one spouse is concerned the other may dispose of assets, a restraining order can help prevent this.

Are There Different Types Of Restraining Orders In Washington State?

Depending on your situation, there are specific types of protection or restraining orders you may seek.

  • Domestic Violence Order For Protection: This order commands the respondent to not threaten or harm you and forbids them from entering your residence. It can also give one parent temporary custody of a child or use of a vehicle, among other things [2]
  • Restraining Order: A Restraining Order is broader than the Domestic Violence Order and can encompass property issues and spousal support, as well as domestic violence.
  • No-Contact Order: A No-Contact Order is a criminal action and doesn’t require an application to be filled out. This order is usually temporary during a criminal trial to prevent the defendant from contacting you [3].
  • Civil Antiharrassment Order: This order is used mostly when the two parties are not married nor related to each other. This order can be used in disputes or stalking cases and is best for victims who have not been assaulted nor threatened with physical harm [4].

How Do You Get A Restraining Order In Washington State?

Your best first step in obtaining a restraining order is enlisting outside help through a trusted family law practice like Priest Family Law. Then, one of our lawyers can help you get a temporary restraining order. This can be done quickly with an application, which can be found online. Your attorney can help you fill out and file it at the courthouse. Next, the county clerk will decide if a temporary restraining order will be issued. This would happen that same day and without a court hearing. The defendant does not need to be present for a temporary restraining order to be issued [5].

Next, the defendant will be given notice and a court hearing will be scheduled, usually, for a few days later. During this hearing, your lawyer will present evidence supporting your request for a permanent restraining order like abuse or harassment. Then, the judge will decide to make the restraining order permanent or not.

What Should I Do Next If I Want To File A Restraining Order In Washington State?

If you live in Washington State and need a restraining order, reach out to the attorneys at Priest Family Law. Our team can advise you on the best order of protection for your situation. We have experience filing restraining orders quickly and winning long-term protection for our clients.

 

[1] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[2] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[3] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[4] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[5] Portman, Janet. “How To Get A Restraining Order.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/how-to-get-a-restraining-order.html

In domestic violence cases, false imprisonment is when the alleged abuser physically detains their victim either by using physical force or threatening violence against them if they left their home or current location.

The legal definition of false imprisonment is the unlawful restraint of another unwilling person without legal justification [1]. False imprisonment is a felony charge and is considered an intentional tort, which means it is a wrongful act committed with the intent to harm someone else.

What Is Considered False Imprisonment In Washington State?

In domestic violence cases, defendants can be charged with false imprisonment if they prevent their victims from leaving their current location or the victim’s freedom of movement is restricted. In Washington State, domestic violence is defined between two household members or two intimate partners, so this false imprisonment may happen in the victim’s own home and would be committed by a loved one or family member [2].

During the case, a state prosecutor will need to prove that the defendant stopped the victim from leaving their location. They’ll have to prove this was against their will and that the defendant achieved this imprisonment through either coercion, threats, violence or restraints [3].

It’s important to note that physical force or physical restraints, like handcuffs or rope, is not necessary to prove a false imprisonment charge. If the defendant made a threat of violence it can be seen as a legitimate reason for the victim to not be able to leave because they feared for their safety or someone else’s if they left.

During the trial, a prosecutor will also need to prove that a reasonable person would believe they could not leave and were being held against their will [4].

How Is False Imprisonment Different From Kidnapping In Washington State?

False imprisonment differs from a kidnapping charge, but can later evolve into kidnapping. False imprisonment becomes kidnapping when the aggressor moves the victim some distance from the original place they were imprisoned, or a significant amount of time has passed [5]. It’s possible for a defendant to be charged with both false imprisonment and kidnapping. Kidnapping is considered a more serious offense and depending on the circumstances ranks as a Class A or Class B felony.

What Is the Penalty For Being Convicted Of False Imprisonment In Washington State?

False Imprisonment is a Class C Felony in Washington State, therefore it is a very serious charge [6]. Defendants who are convicted as an adult face a fine up to $10,000 paired with potential jail time based on the severity of the case. Felonies can carry a sentence of life in prison.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A False Imprisonment Case?

If you’re involved in a false imprisonment case, you’ll want to be prepared with evidence to help you win your case. Start by quickly booking an appointment with a trusted attorney at Priest Family Law.

Our team has experience navigating the nuances of false imprisonment charges. We know that a false imprisonment charge is often just one of many charges in a domestic violence case. We understand domestic violence cases are deeply personal and can help you navigate your best next steps to succeed in the courtroom.

Sources:

[1] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[2] “Domestic Violence/Domestic Abuse Definitions And Relationships.” National Conference Of State Legislators. https://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/domestic-violence-domestic-abuse-definitions-and-relationships.aspx

[3] Rooth, Jay. “Understanding Domestic Abuse Charges: False Imprisonment.” Lawyers.com, 7, Feb. 2018. https://blogs.lawyers.com/attorney/domestic-violence/partner-4-45446/

[4] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[5] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[6] “RCW 9A.40.040.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.40.040

Creating a proper estate plan will help ensure your wishes about end of life care and your funeral, as well as, how your property and assets are distributed after death. The best way to ensure your estate plan will be executed smoothly is to hire an estate planning attorney.

Asking your lawyer a few questions will help you pick the best estate planning attorney for you and will help understand your options and determine the best path forward for you.

How Long Have You Been A Practicing Attorney In Washington State?

When creating your estate plan, you want an attorney that has experience creating other estate plans. But you also want someone who is familiar with technology and digital assets, as a lot of millennial clients want to name a digital executor to their online files and digital life [1]. At Priest Family Law, our attorney partner has been practicing for 12 years and has experience working with estate plans in Washington, as well as vast trial experience.

How Long Does The Estate Planning Process Take?

This answer will vary based on how complicated your wishes and estate are. You may also wish to advise other professionals in your estate plan, such as your accountant. However, if you are sick, or perhaps you’re helping an aging parent create an estate plan, you’ll want to know if this will take months or weeks with each attorney you speak to.

How Do You Charge For Estate Plans?

Some estate planning attorneys charge by the hour and others may charge a flat fee for estate planning. Wills also tend to cost less than creating a living trust [2].

What If I Want To Leave Someone Out Of My Will In Washington State?

Many states have laws to protect people from disinheriting a spouse and children [3]. If you want to disinherit a child it’s important to explicitly say so in the will and can also be helpful to write a letter of intention why they are being disinherited. This can help prevent your wishes from being challenged in court.

How Do I Avoid High Estate Taxes In Washington State?

While federal estate tax is now only applied to estates valued at more than $11.58 million, Washington State also implements an estate tax [4]. Washington State imposes this tax on estates valued at more than $2.193 million [5]. You may think you’re below the $2 million mark, but it’s important to keep in mind that any homes, property, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance are all added up to create an estate’s value [5]. Your executor is also required to file a tax return for your estate within nine months of your death. Your attorney can help you better understand this.

Why Should I Choose Priest Family Law?

At Priest Family Law, we understand that creating an estate plan can be challenging emotionally to think about your death or if family ties are complicated. We have vast experience helping clients navigate this process and creating strong estate plans. We’ll help you execute your wishes and give you peace of mind.

[1] Keane, Valerie. “Estate Planning For Millennials.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/estate-planning-for-millennials.html

[2] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “What Is Estate Planning?” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-estate-planning.html

[3] Simmons Hannibal, Betsy. “Leaving Someone Out Of Your Will.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/wills-probate/leaving-someone-out-of-your-will.html

[4] “State Estate Taxes.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/state-estate-taxes.html

[5] Randolph, Mary. “Washington Estate Tax.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/washington-estate-tax.html