Collateral Damage from False Accusations of Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence is rightly decried as abhorrent behavior and it is universally accepted that perpetrators of spousal and other domestic abuse should be punished to the full extent of the law. But heavy-handed laws, overzealous social workers and even well-meaning friends of alleged victims of abuse can create an environment where it is all too easy to falsely accuse a spouse or other cohabitant and cause serious damage to that person’s life. Even if the accused is later exonerated, often the damage to the persons reputation will be permanently colored in the eyes of their peers.

Read moreCollateral Damage from False Accusations of Domestic Abuse

How To Get A Restraining Order In Washington State

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.

Read moreHow To Get A Restraining Order In Washington State

What Is Unlawful Imprisonment In Domestic Violence Cases?

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.

Read moreWhat Is Unlawful Imprisonment In Domestic Violence Cases?

When Does ‘Assault’ Become ‘Domestic Violence’ In Washington State

When a victim is assaulted, the crime can become a domestic violence charge depending on who the victim’s attacker was. If the relationship between the attacker and the victim is romantic, household members or they’re related by blood, the charge would be classified as domestic violence.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence In Washington State?

In Washington State, domestic violence occurs between two people who share a household relationship, such as dating or blood-family relationships. Domestic violence usually involves a victim suffering physical injury from pushing, slapping or hitting, though sometimes it can involve the greater charges of murder or rape [1].

Domestic violence charges differ from assault charges because the relationship between the attacker and victim is known. This means the attacker may have abused the victim’s trust and confidence to commit the crime. In domestic violence crimes, the victims also often get special protections from their attacker after the case is settled.

What Is The Relationship Between The Attacker And Victim To Be Considered Domestic Violence in Washington State?

In Washington State, domestic violence happens between two people that are [2]:

  • Intimate partners, such as spouses or domestic partners.
  • Former spouses or former domestic partners.
  • Two people who share a child, regardless of marital status or if they’ve ever lived together.
  • Two adult people who currently or previously lived together and are currently or previously dated.
  • Two people who are at least 16 years old and currently live together, or lived together in the past, and have dated.
  • Two people, both over the age of 16 years old who have dated.
  • Adults related by blood.
  • People with a biological or legal parent relationship, such as step-parents or grandparents.

What Is The Punishment For Domestic Violence In Washington State?

If a police officer in Washington State is called to a scene for a domestic violence incident and that officer has a reasonable belief or probable cause that a crime was committed they must arrest the alleged attacker [3]. The officer can arrest the alleged attacker without a warrant if they believe the attacker has hurt someone in their household in the last four hours or the person in question has violated a domestic violence protective order [3].

If the alleged attacker is convicted of domestic violence, how much time in jail they will serve is based on the class of charge, such as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony. In Washington State, domestic violence misdemeanors carry a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in prison. Gross misdemeanors can be punished by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Domestic violence felonies can carry a sentence of more than a year in prison [4]. After the attacker has been convicted they may also have a domestic violence protection order or restraining order against them preventing them from contacting their victim.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A Domestic Violence Case In Washington State?

If you have been charged with domestic violence or you’re the victim of domestic violence, reach out to the trusted team at Priest Criminal Defense. Our team has experience working with families involved with domestic violence in Washington State. We can help you build your best case and work to achieve a speedy resolution.

[1] Berman, Sara J. “Domestic Violence And Domestic Abuse.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/domestic-violence-33813.html
[2] “RCW 26.50.010.” Washington State Legislature. https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?Cite=26.50.010
[3] Mince-Dider, Ave. “Washington Domestic Violence Laws.” Nolo. https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/domestic-violence/domestic-violence-washington-state-penalties-d
[4] “Washington Domestic Violence Laws.” FindLaw.com. https://statelaws.findlaw.com/washington-law/washington-domestic-violence-laws.html

Protection from Domestic Violence: The Attorney’s Role

Domestic Violence in vancouver waVictims of domestic violence have been subjected to harrowing events over extended periods of time. The most important way to help break the cycle of violence is by building multi-layer support structures to allow those effected to begin a new, better phase in their lives. Hiring an experienced attorney is an important part of your support team.

Domestic Violence and the Law

Although domestic violence is almost universally covered in state and federal law, it is extremely complex and working within the system almost without exceptions, brings out the worst in the people involved. There are many issues regarding the proper timing and maintenance of court orders so that you and your loved ones are protected to the fullest extent possible. Having experienced professionals helping you keep track of your legal obligations can help you better utilize your other support resources throughout your journey.

Role Your Attorney Plays in Protecting You from Domestic Violence

Although it is possible for you to get an emergency court order to protect you from the your current situation, there are several legal instruments and procedures that an attorney can assist greatly with that you probably can’t do yourself. Even if it is possible to do some things yourself, it is important for you to realize that you almost certainly won’t be able to do everything you need to without help. Part of getting better is knowing when you need help and having the courage to ask for it. Things your attorney can do include:

  1. File a protection or no-contact order
  2. Get a divorce
  3. File a lawsuit against the violent party
  4. Help with custody proceedings
  5. The Importance of Emotional and Health Support

Domestic violence leaves both physical and emotional pain that will eventually need to be addressed to build your new life. Working with qualified health professionals such as licensed therapists who offer both group and individual therapy sessions is absolutely critical for dealing with the mental and emotional fallout from the trauma you have suffered. And, unfortunately, working with health professionals to repair the physical injuries is often necessary. Without adequate support here, legal support, no matter how comprehensive, likely won’t be enough to maximize the chances of success.

By getting support from health and legal professionals along with the force of our legal system, victims can get past the nightmares of the past and look forward to a bright new future. Give us a call today if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and needs the protection of the courts.