Plaintiff’s Legal Responsibilities in a Domestic Abuse Case

For victims suffering from domestic abuse, removing themselves from the situation can be challenging enough. When victims decide to pursue legal recourse against their abuser, they undertake some legal responsibilities in the domestic abuse case.

What Qualifies As Domestic Abuse?

Depending on the plaintiff’s relationship with the accused, the type of charges and responsibilities that fall on the plaintiff will differ.

For the law to recognize the case as domestic abuse, the plaintiff and defendant must be either married, in a romantic relationship, share a child, living together, or related by blood.

The act of domestic abuse can range from physical abuse, such as slapping and pushing, stalking, or even rape or murder.

What Are A Plaintiff’s Legal Responsibilities In A Domestic Abuse Case?

If a victim wants a protective order or restraining order against their abuser, the victim will need to appear in court. The initial hearing does not require the defendant to be present.

During this hearing, you will need to provide the court with the history of your relationship with the abuser and any evidence of the alleged abuse to help the judge decide if a protective order is warranted. Strong evidence to support your case includes photographs of any injuries, medical records, dates, time, and abuse location.

Once the court notifies you of the temporary order, the defendant may not contact you or see you. The defendant will need to be present at future hearings in regards to the restraining order.

Then, the state or county prosecutor decides to charge the alleged abuser with domestic abuse charges. Often, the court will subpoena victims to testify, at which point during the hearing, you’ll be questioned by the prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer.

Plaintiffs can choose not to testify; however, since the defendants have the legal right to confront their accuser in court, choosing not to testify can weaken or even dismiss the case.

If the court convicts the abuser, victims often may give a statement before the court, often known as a “victim impact statement,” to help influence the abuser’s sentencing.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A Domestic Abuse Case?

If you’re involved in a domestic abuse case, contact VanWa’s legal offices right away. Our top rated attorney and legal team boasts decades of a successful track record in criminal cases.

VanWa offers free consultations to help you understand the services we provide and for us to evaluate your case and offer some guidance.

Tactics Used by Prosecutors in Domestic Violence Cases

In domestic violence cases, child custody, eviction, and jail time are at stake. Approximately 1.3 million women are a victim of domestic violence from their intimate partner each year.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Before understanding how prosecutors will approach a domestic violence case, it’s important to understand what domestic violence encompasses.

Domestic violence is a “catch-all phrase” for murder, assault, stalking, kidnapping, harassment, and more, between people that are blood relatives, married, in an intimate romantic relationship, or lived together.

What Tactics Do Prosecutors Use In Domestic Violence Cases?

Before the trial even starts, prosecutors will hold a hearing for a temporary restraining order to ensure the victim is protected. The defendant does not need to be present during this hearing, and the police will serve them with the order after the judge has signed the order.

First, they will use gather evidence to prove their case. Prosecutors will gather the following evidence to help earn a conviction:

  • Phone records and 911 calls
  • Domestic violence reports
  • Photos of the scene of the crime showing any struggle
  • Medical records and reports that show any injuries the plaintiff suffered
  • Written reports from victims and police officers out of court
  • Compile a list of witnesses who can testify to the violence

Prosecutors will avoid relying on victim testimony alone. The victim may fear the defendant and not want to testify. The victim may not wish to cooperate, and jurors may consider that the victim could be lying.

If the defendant attempts to contact the victim, the prosecutor will employ a witness intimidation strategy by the defendant. This can land the defendant will a harsher sentence, fines, or more jail time.

What Should I Do If I Am Involved In A Domestic Violence Case?

If you are involved in a domestic violence case, hire an experienced attorney right away. VanWa Legal can provide you with the representation you need to navigate through this trying time.

VanWa Legal’s team has handled thousands of cases and a proven track record of winning jury trials.

Don’t fret about paying for our services. First, call our offices to schedule a free consultation. One of our lawyers will contact you within 24 hours to discuss your case. If you decide to work with us, we provide clients with the option of flexible, flat-fee payment plans and can work with you to ensure you can afford the quality representation you deserve.

Information You Need to Mount Your Defense Against a Domestic Abuse Charge

Information You Need to Mount Your Defense Against a Domestic Abuse Charge

Being wrongfully accused of domestic abuse can alter your entire life and feel overwhelming. Hiring an experienced lawyer right away can help you gather evidence to defend yourself against a domestic abuse charge.

What Happens When Someone Is Charged With Domestic Abuse?

If a spouse or family member has accused you of domestic abuse and law enforcement has brought a charge, a court will first put a temporary restraining order in place. The plaintiff can request an ex parte court proceeding, which means the court will hear the plaintiff’s evidence without the defendant present or being notified. To put it bluntly: this proceeding will happen without your knowledge, and then you’ll be served with a temporary restraining order.

Temporary restraining orders typically last ten days. During that time, law enforcement must notify the defendant, and the plaintiff must request an official court hearing where all parties attend.

What Strategies Can Be Used To Defend Against A Domestic Abuse Charge?

Working with an experienced lawyer who possesses an in-depth knowledge of domestic abuse laws will help you curate the best defense for your charge.

First, your lawyer may push for the judge to dismiss the case if the plaintiff’s complaint does not genuinely constitute domestic violence’s legal definition.

Next, your lawyer will check to see if the jurisdictional requirements have been met. This means the plaintiff and defendant must have one of the following relationships:

  • A spouse, former spouse, or former household member
  • The victim of domestic violence must be at least 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor, who is subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any present or former household member
  • The victim and the defendant must have a child or soon be having a child together because one of the two is pregnant
  • The plaintiff and defendant are dating.

If these legal loopholes do not work, the two defenses that remain are self-defense and de minimis infractions. Your lawyer can argue you inflicted injuries on the plaintiff under self-defense because you were legitimately defending yourself against bodily harm.

With de minimis infractions, your lawyer will argue your actions were so minor it does not constitute being considered a criminal act.

What Are Possible Consequences Of A Domestic Abuse Conviction?

If convicted of domestic abuse, several severe consequences await. If convicted, you may face a hefty legal fine, eviction from your home if you currently live with the plaintiff, jail time, or even losing custody of your children.

Do not contact the plaintiff at any time during these proceedings, as this could increase your punishment.

What Should I Do If I Was Charged With Domestic Abuse?

If you have been charged with domestic abuse and feel you have been wrongfully accused, reach out to VanWa Legal’s offices right away. VanWa’s legal team offers free consultations to help you gather information on your case and understand your chances.

If you have been charged with domestic abuse, seek legal advice right away, as these court proceedings often happen quickly. We know that the legal system can feel overwhelming and complicated and want to use our legal expertise to help you defend yourself and get back to your life as soon as possible.

Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges

Being falsely accused of domestic violence can turn your entire life upside down. Preparing a defense against domestic violence charges will require a strong legal strategy, so contact a criminal defense lawyer fluent in Washington State law right away.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence In Washington State?

Before you and your criminal defense lawyer build your defense against the domestic violence charges, checking to ensure jurisdiction has been met for the alleged crime to be considered domestic violence.

In Washington State, domestic violence is considered a family or household member committing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, sexual assault, or stalking against the victim.

The Evergreen State considers a family or household member to be:

  • Spouses and former spouses;
  • Parents of a child;
  • Adults related by blood or marriage;
  • Adults who currently live or previously resided together;
  • Anyone 16 years of age or older who currently live together or previously lived together;
  • Anyone 16 years of age or older who currently or previously have had a dating relationship;
  • Persons 16 years of age or older who have or have had a dating relationship;
  • Persons with a biological or legal parent-child relationship, such as stepparents or grandparents.

What Are Possible Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges In Washington State?

Typically, two strategies exist for defendants to prove their innocence: self-defense and de minimis infractions. When choosing self-defense, your attorney’s legal strategy is to establish the plaintiff suffered injuries because you were legitimately trying to defend yourself against imminent bodily harm. In this case, you’d be justified in the force used against the plaintiff to protect yourself.

If your legal team chooses a de minimis infraction defense, the goal is to prove that your conduct was so minor that it is “too trivial to be considered a criminal offense.”

What Can I Do To Help Defend Myself Against Domestic Violence Charges?

The best thing you can do to defend yourself against domestic violence charges is to contact VanWa Legal right away and take advantage of our firm’s free consultation to better understand your case.

Typically, domestic violence cases move quickly — sometimes, the hearing is held within ten days of the original charge — so employing a lawyer as soon as possible increases your chances of winning your case.

If you choose to work with VanWa Legals’ attorneys, our team will conduct pretrial discovery to gather medical records, police reports, and other relevant documents to build your defense.

To help with your defense while the case is ongoing, do not contact the plaintiff under any circumstances.

Domestic Violence Types in Washington State

Domestic violence encaptures more than a partner hitting a family member or spouse. The term domestic violence covers a broad range of violent acts in Washington State. Understanding what it coves, will help you understand if you have been a victim of domestic violence or if you’re being accused of it.

Who Can Commit Domestic Violence?

Before understanding what acts constitute domestic violence, understand who can commit it. Washington State defines domestic abuse as a “family or household member” committing the act against another. So this can include parents, spouses, partners, grandparents, or cousins, depending on who lives in the household.

What Is Domestic Violence?

In Washington State, if someone who is related to you or shares the same household does any of the following, it will be considered domestic violence if they:

  • intentionally causing physical pain, physical injury, or illness
  • intentionally impairing a physical condition
  • commit an unwanted or illegal sexual assault
  • commit a physical activity that may cause the victim to fear any violence, pain, injury, or sexual assault will occur

What Crimes Also Encompass Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence goes beyond physical assault; any of the following crimes can fall into this category:

  • Assault
  • Manslaughter or murder
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Coercion
  • Burglary
  • Criminal trespass
  • Property damage
  • Kidnapping
  • Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence
  • Rape
  • Violation of protection order: this includes any letters, emails, texts, or contact through a third party
  • Stalking or cyberstalking
  • False imprisonment: believing you can not leave without risk of injury to you or someone you love

In many cases, even being afraid for your life or being the recipient of violence can constitute domestic violence, as long as a “reasonable” person also in that situation would also be fearful.

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

If you are the victim of domestic violence or feel you have been wrongfully accused of a domestic violence act, reach out to the knowledgeable legal team at VanWa Legal.

We know domestic violence cases are sensitive for you and your family and extremely emotionally trying.

We aim to ease this burden by providing you excellent representation. To start, we offer a free consultation so you can better understand the merits of your case and feel confident you’re making the right decision by choosing VanWa Legal as your lawyer. We also offer payment plans to help ease the stress of paying for a domestic violence case.

We don’t want this case to affect the rest of your life, so we’ll be here for you when you need the help the most.

Mistakes That Can Cause You to Break a Protective Order

If you have been served a protective order, you must understand the guidelines you must adhere to. As the punishment for making a mistake and breaking a protective order can often be more severe than what you were first accused of.

Sometimes these orders may be temporary or permanent, but following them to a tee is essential to keep your freedom.

What Mistakes Can Make That Would Break A Protective Order?

After you have been served a protective order, even going home can trigger your arrest. If you live with the person or people who the protective order is for, you can no longer stay at that residence. It would be best if you found somewhere else to stay until your case is settled.

In fact, when there is a “no-contact” clause of the protective order, any contact or communication with the person, the protective order is shielding will be considered breaking the order. This includes emails, texts, letters, and phone calls.

If you decide to appeal a protective order, you need to notify the other person involved of the legal plan; however, doing this in person would break the order, so be sure to have your attorney deliver it. Any attempt to contact this person through a third party would be considered breaking the order if there is a no contact-clause of the order.

When a protective order is served, you may not contact the person who requested it nor their children or other family members, even if you share those kids and relatives.

You may not try to contact any of these people at their home, place of employment, around their car, and your children’s school or childcare facility.

If you see the person who requested the order anywhere, even at a grocery market, you must leave, or you will violate the protective order.

Even if the protectee contacts you and permits you to contact them — don’t do it. You are still breaking the order even if the protectee contacts you first.

What Should I Do If I Have A Protective Order Against Me?

If you have been served with a protective order, reach out to the expert criminal defense lawyers at VanWa Legal. Our team has vast experience in Washington State law and understands the inner workings of protective orders in this state.

We know this is an already stressful time, so we offer free consultations so we can discuss your case and you can understand the legal strategy we’d use. We also proudly provide flexible flat-fee payment plans and delegate some billable hours to paralegals to lower your costs, so you can enlist the legal representation you deserve.

Can You Fight a Restraining Order in Washington State?

If you believe you have been wrongfully served with a restraining order in Washington State, you do have a chance to fight this order.

To effectively fight the restraining order, you’ll need expert legal counsel and carefully follow the letter of the law.

Can You Fight a Restraining Order in Washington State?

Before a judge allows a restraining order, a temporary restraining order will be served. A judge can serve a temporary restraining order without you present and sets a date for a more formal hearing that you will appear. Fight Restraining Order

During this second hearing will be your chance to fight the restraining order. During this hearing will be your chance to tell your side of the story. Once the judge has ruled, an appeal rarely overturns the judge’s decision, so it’s important to get this right.

After the initial hearing, if you are looking to terminate the order, Washington law requires that you file a motion to set aside the restraining order. With the help of a lawyer, put a specific reason you feel the restraining order should be terminated in your motion.

Next, send a copy of the motion to terminate the mail’s restraining order to the person who filed for the original restraining order. Delivering the motion via the mail is critical; delivering it in person would violate the restraining order and could land you in bigger trouble.

Then, you’ll need a hearing date from either the clerk of the court or from the administrative assistant of the judge assigned to the case. Written notification of the hearing date needs to be sent to the person who filed the restraining order. At the hearing, your lawyer will present evidence as to why the restraining order should be terminated.

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Severed With A Restraining Order In Washington State?

If you have been served with a temporary restraining order in Washington State, reach out to the legal team at VanWa Legal right away. Our team can advise you on your rights and potential next steps.

Responding on time to the temporary order sets the tone for your entire case, and sometimes you’ll have less than four days to respond. Because of this time limit, it’s critical you call VanWa Legal right away. Your best shot at fighting the restraining order requires a seasoned criminal attorney on your side.

During the hearing, we will help you fight the restraining order. This brief hearing is your one shot to fight the restraining order, so it’s essential you have the proper representation right away.

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.

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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.

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