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What to expect following allegations of domestic abuse

If you are in a volatile relationship, chances are you have had your share of explosive arguments. You may not be proud of the way you behave as the situation gets out of your control. Perhaps your words become hurtful and even threatening. You may even lash out in frustration or anger.

You may have no intention of harming your partner, and you may not even have laid a hand on him or her. However, if your partner calls the police and accuses you of domestic violence, your life is about to change very quickly. Domestic violence allegations are among those that police respond to rapidly and take seriously. If you are facing these charges, you would be wise to have a focused and aggressive criminal defense strategy in place as quickly as possible.

What happens next?

Washington State laws require police to arrest the person they deem to be the primary aggressor in a domestic violence situation. If your partner contacts police, you are immediately the focus of their attention. Once they conclude that you recently placed your partner in danger, they must arrest you. There is no wiggle room in the law. Once you are under arrest, you can expect the following:

  • You will likely go to jail until your appearance before a judge, which will probably occur within 24 hours.
  • The prosecuting attorney will read the responding officer's report and decide whether to file charges against you.
  • Since the prosecutor is the one filing the charges, your partner will have no power to drop the charges if he or she has a change of heart.
  • When you appear in court, the judge will decide whether to issue a no-contact order as a condition of your release, which will prevent you from having any communication with your partner, even through a third party, until your trial.
  • If you violate the no-contact order, even to retrieve clothing or other belongings from your home, you may face felony charges.

A conviction for domestic violence can change your life forever. You will likely face years of probation and mandatory counseling. You may have to undergo treatment for anger management, alcohol or drug use, and even sexual deviancy. You risk jail time and the very real possibility that this conviction on your record will cost you your job and many of your rights. Fighting charges of domestic violence means fighting for your future. Having the skill of an experienced attorney allows you an advocate throughout the process.

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