What many folks don’t know is that our Washington laws require a police officer responding to an incident of domestic violence to make an arrest if the officer has probable cause to believe that a domestic violence assault or other serious domestic violence offense was committed within the previous four hours. If the officer determines that family or household members have assaulted each other, the officer will arrest only the person he or she believes to be the primary aggressor. Washington also requires mandatory arrest for violations of No Contact Orders and Civil Protection Orders.
Folks are also often shocked to find out that only a prosecutor has the authority to file or drop charges. The victim is deemed a witness for the state and as such has no authority to file or drop charges. Often the government will prosecute a case even if the victim refuses to testify or doesn’t want a case to move forward.
Domestic violence offenses are either misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, or gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Felony domestic violence offenses are punishable by more than one year in jail. A person who has been convicted of a domestic violence assault cannot possess a firearm or get a concealed weapons permit in the State of Washington, and a violation of this provision is a felony.
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.