The state of Washington, just like every other state, does not take domestic violence lightly. If you are facing domestic violence allegations, you will go to jail -- even if only temporarily -- if the officer responding to the complaint has probable cause to arrest you.
If you're facing a domestic violence charge, you may have a lot of questions, such as: What constitutes domestic violence? What are the potential penalties associated with a DV conviction? Is there any way to fight a DV charge?
What constitutes domestic violence?
The law defines domestic violence as a criminal act of abuse against a family member or significant other. Several categories of abusive behavior constitute DV. A few of these categories are physical violence, neglect, emotional abuse and economic control. As you can see, DV covers a lot of ground.
If you end up in court on DV charges and the prosecuting attorney over your case achieves a conviction, the punishment issued in your case will depend on a number of factors. The court will look at the type of abuse, the age of the victim, your relationship to the victim and if you used any weapons during the alleged crime. Domestic violence charges may be filed as misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors or felonies. The punishments associated with each of these are as follows:
- Misdemeanor: Punishable by a fine of $1,000 and up to 3 months in jail
- Gross misdemeanor: Punishable by a fine of $5,000 and up to a year in jail
- Felony: Punishable by jail time for over a year
Any of these punishments can do a real number on your personal and professional life.
While it may not seem possible to fight DV charges, it actually may be. Various defense options exist that may prove effective in your case. After a careful case review, a criminal defense attorney will have the ability to go over all of the options and help make informed legal decisions regarding the charges.
When facing domestic violence allegations, it can be easy to feel lost and hopeless about your future. Such accusations can ruin your reputation. With the assistance of legal counsel, you can do everything possible to fight back against DV allegations while seeking the best outcome possible under the circumstances.