As previously discussed in one of our many blog postings, under RCW 10.31.100(2)(c), if the police arrive within four hours of a domestic violence related 911 call, they must arrest at least one person. Thereafter, it is generally a ‘rubberstamp’ that a criminal charge will be filed against the arrested person.
At the defendant’s first appearance in court, various conditions of release will be imposed by the judge. These often include, showing up for all future court dates, keeping the court notified of any change of address, no further criminal law violations, and the dreaded No-Contact Order (“NCO“). These conditions are deemed ‘pretrial conditions’ and last until either the court lifts them or the case is resolved.
Sometimes an NCO can be lifted or modified at the victim’s request prior to the case being resolved. However if the person is found guilty, whether by plea or a verdict, a 5-year NCO may be entered. Thus, hiring a stellar Seattle domestic violence attorney may be in one’s best interest when facing a domestic violence allegation. A Seattle domestic violence lawyer may be able to get an NCO dropped or at least shortened.
Sadly, in Washington, an alleged victim cannot simply demand that a case not proceed to trial or that an NCO not be ordered. And regardless of the alleged victim’s desires, the prosecution will often proceed with a case, and in like kind the court will order an NCO. Perhaps even more disheartening, even if the alleged victim wants to testify that she was wrong, or freely admits that she lied, the prosecution, and the court, will often give greater weight to statements made on the date of the alleged incident.
It should be noted that failing to comply with an NCO will trigger a new – and very serious – criminal charge, as well as violate the conditions of release of the original charge. This is true even if the victim invites the defendant to break the order. Also of import, only the defendant can be punished for violating an NCO; and judges really, really don’t like it when their orders are violated and thus will harshly punish a person for doing so.
If you (or a loved one) find yourself facing a DV related criminal charge, it is infinitely important to immediately contact and hire a Seattle domestic violence attorney. The Seattle domestic violence attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle domestic violence lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for domestic violence related assault, malicious mischief, property destruction or some other crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately at 206.441.0900.