When household conflict grows intense, it can often result in domestic violence charges. In other cases, interpersonal conflict can turn physical resulting in assault charges. When that happens, you need a criminal defense attorney who understands the special nature of crimes that arise when people get too close for comfort.
In Washington state, "assault" covers a range of crimes. Simple assault, that is 4th Degree Assault, is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. It applies when one person hits, touches, or attempts to injure another, or makes him or her afraid of being hurt by a physical act. When an assault causes more serious injury or is against a child or protected employee, the penalty increases. In those circumstances, you may be charged with a higher degree of assault, including:
Those more serious injuries come with higher maximum penalties. No matter what type of assault charge you are facing, I can help you identify defenses and fight against excessive penalties at court.
Domestic violence under Washington state law can be attached to a variety of criminal charges, if the alleged victim is a "family or household member." That includes:
Theoretically, any type of crime can be considered a domestic violence "DV" crime. The DV designation is simply a tag that attaches to the crime, showing that the crime occurred against a family or household member. Domestic violence is often connected to assault crimes, coercion, burglary, trespass, kidnapping, rape, stalking, malicious mischief, disorderly conduct, and violating a protection order. If you are convicted of a domestic violence crime you could be placed on probation for up to 60 months (misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors), potentially lose your firearms rights, and receive a higher number on your offender score (even if convicted of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor). This is in addition to any jail time, fines, and costs related to the connected criminal charge. Also, the stigma attached to a domestic violence conviction can create problems for individuals in the areas of employment, housing, and perception in the community.
Domestic violence arrests are relatively common in Washington. State law requires police officers to arrest a person if they reasonably believe he or she is the primary aggressor or that a serious domestic violence offense has occurred within the last 4 hours. This means that sometimes domestic violence charges arise based primarily on a police officer's impression in responding to a disturbance. If you have been charged with domestic violence, I will help you develop your case to show the judge and jury what really happened.
Many assault and domestic violence cases involve the issuance of a no contact order (NCO). A NCO restricts an individual from contacting (directly or indirectly) a protected party, or coming within a certain radius (determined by the Court) of the protected party's residence, workplace, school, or other location. Violation of a NCO is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both. Also, any assault that is a violation of a NCO, or if someone has two prior violation of NCO's convictions, the violation is a felony. Other types of orders that are similar to NCO's are:
There seems to be a great deal of confusion among the general population about the scope of these orders and consequences for violating them. No contact means no contact. Because of this, I strongly recommend that anyone served with or affected by one of these orders consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Often, it takes a great deal of planning to figure out a temporary living situation when a NCO is issued in a domestic violence case. I have helped many clients who are forced to deal with NCO's. It is important to get an understanding of these orders right away, before a violation occurs due to a lack of understanding.
If you are facing assault or domestic violence charges, you need to talk to a skilled Washington criminal defense lawyer. I will sit down with you for a free 90 minute consultation and review all the facts and interpersonal dynamics in your case. I handle most cases with one clear flat fee, so you will know what to expect before you leave the office. When you're ready to choose Campbell Law Firm as your criminal defense firm, all you need to do is contact me.