There is no domestic violence crime in Washington State. Domestic violence is a mark placed on other offenses that indicate that there is a connection between families or households between the parties involved. Most jurisdictions will impose a contact order prohibiting a defendant in a domestic violence case (“DV”) from contacting the alleged victim of a crime. The order will often prohibit contact with the victim’s children, residence and place of work.
Family or family relationship
According to RCW 10.99.020 (3), family or household members are defined as:
(S) Browns, former spouses, persons having a common child whether or not married or cohabiting at any time, blood or marriage-related adults, adults who are currently cohabiting or have resided in the past, persons older than sixteen years of age or older, currently residing together or permanently residing in the past and having or having an affair, persons sixteen or older with whom the person is sixteen years of age or older have been or has been in contact, as well as persons having biological or parent-child legal relationships, including stepmothers and stepfathers, and grandparents and grandchildren.
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As you can see, this definition is extremely broad. It is far more inclusive than what most people would expect it to be. The same goes for the types of crimes that are labeled “domestic violence.” Most people only think of assault when it comes to domestic violence, however there are many other crimes that can carry the DV tag.
According to RCW 10.31.100 (2) (c), the clerk must make an arrest if: A person is sixteen years of age or older and has assaulted a family or household member as specified in RCW 10.99.020 in the previous four hours, and the officer believes:
(i) a criminal attack occurred;
(ii) an assault occurred that resulted in the victim’s bodily injury, whether or not the responding officer noticed the injury; or
(iii) that any physical activity has occurred that has the purpose of justifying the other person of imminent bodily harm or death. Physical injury means physical pain, illness or impairment of physical condition. When an officer has a legitimate reason to believe that the family or household members committed the attack, they are not required to arrest each other. The officer shall arrest the person the officer considers to be the primary physical aggressor. In deciding, the clerk will do his best to consider:
(i) intent to protect victims of domestic violence in accordance with RCW 10.99.010;
(ii) the comparative extent of the injuries or serious threats that cause fear of physical harm; i
(iii) a history of domestic violence between the persons involved.
If you are arrested for a crime involving domestic violence, a contact order without seizure will be immediately received.
No contact account
There are two types of contact orders in Washington State: before trial and after sentencing. Both types of warrant prevent the defendant from contacting the alleged victim. However, neither type prevents the victim from trying to contact the defendant, since only the defendant goes to jail if he violates the order. In other words, Contact Orders do not limit the defendant’s conduct alone.
Pre-trial orders are issued against the defendant (sometimes referred to as the defendant) before being convicted of having done anything wrong. The orders may preclude contact between the defendant and the alleged victim of the crime, the victim’s victim (even if it is the defendant’s children), the victim’s workplace, and the victim’s victim (even if it is also the defendant’s home).
In other words, these orders can drive you away from home and children before you are convicted of a crime at all. This is true even if the victim says that nothing happened or that everything that happened is blown out of proportion.
Pre-trial orders remain in force until a criminal case is reached or until a judge has quashed it.
A non-contact warrant issued after conviction may have the same types of restrictions as pre-bankruptcy orders do. Post-conviction orders are generally good for a year, but the judge can extend it if he or she finds the facts to justify it.
Because a warrantless contact can prevent you from going to your own home, courts will usually allow you one trip home to get your clothes and several personal items. However, you must be accompanied by a law enforcement official. This process is called “civilian standby.” You need to contact a law enforcement agency and schedule a time for civilian standby. Keep in mind, however, that this is a low priority action for most law enforcement agencies, so civilian readiness will only be exercised when they have time to spare.
Non-contact order violation
Deliberate breach of a contact order is not a grave breach; which means you can get up to a year in prison and a $ 5,000 fine. Since the violation of domestic violence is not by any contact in itself marked as domestic violence, your right to possess or possess a firearm will be taken away by conviction – even if it has not been used, possessed, mentioned or otherwise used or imagined . This is true even where the basic criminal case for which the Contact Order was issued is dismissed.
Being in a public place, or even in a courtroom, is not a defense to disrupt order. This means that if a warrant is issued against you and you see a security person at the store, then you must leave. Accidental contact cannot technically violate a warrant, but you may have to go before a judge to defend yourself. Aside from the stress involved, you may need to spend more money to hire a lawyer.
Even if the victim calls for contact, the respondent may face jail time if violated. What I often see in my cases is the following scenario:
Two people have a relationship. Something’s going on and it’s called the police. Because of everyone’s sensitivity to “domestic violence”, police are wrong to accuse someone. The contact order then takes its place, preventing two people from contacting each other. It can also make one of them unexpectedly homeless – but that’s a different question. People, as people, want to solve the problem, and the alleged victim contacts the defendant and says something in the sense of, “I’m sorry this is all happening. Come home and I’ll make it worth your while. “The problem, of course, is that the defendant raised the alleged victim on offer. Generally, legal problems for the defendant multiply shortly thereafter as the happy couple goes out to celebrate their renewed relationship only to pull” slowly and go “at the stop sign – or some other minor traffic offenses. They are then stopped by police. When the officer executes the passenger information, he skips the contact order above and the defendant is arrested and then taken to jail where he is now facing an additional charge.
Removing an account
It is very difficult to remove a pre-trial order without contact once it is established. Even if the victim comes and testifies before the judge that an order is not needed, most judges will leave the order in place.
One strategy is for the defendant to be evaluated by the Domestic Violence Agency. If the counselor wishes to tell the judge that the defendant would not be a danger to the victim if the order were removed, then the judge may revoke the order. The treatment agency may want to place the defendant in classes before agreeing to make a recommendation to a judge.
Another strategy is to ask the Court to amend the Order without C0ontact to allow marital counseling. Some judges will require that contact be allowed only as long as a third party monitors them from the treatment agency.
Once the contact order has not been modified to allow conditional contact, it is more likely that the judge will remove the order later unless there is a new problem.
Most prosecutors have a domestic violence lawyer. This person’s job is to help the victim of a domestic crime, understand what services are available to them, and help them be informed as the court process progresses.
I have seen numerous cases where the victim does not want the contact order to be in effect. Going through the victim advocacy persona can sometimes be helpful.
Most courts have a form that the alleged victim can fill out by asking the judge to drop the contact order. In my experience, most judges will maintain order even after the victim asks to be dismissed. Although the order remains in effect, a victim seeking to have it removed is still valuable as it could later be useful for removing the order.
Conviction for a crime marked by domestic violence will cause you to lose the right to possess or possess a firearm. This is a lifetime ban.
In one case I had, a husband was arrested on a domestic violence charge when he threw a bowl into their kitchen sink during an altercation and smashed it. The argument was heard by a nearby neighbor who called police. Police arrived and when they looked into the sink, they found a chopped bowl and arrested her husband for malicious misconduct for domestic violence. There was no allegation that the husband threw the bowl to his wife or even nearby. Because Washington is a community-owned state, both husband and wife had an ownership interest in the vessel, so by chopping their vessel, the husband damaged property belonging to another (i.e., his wife) and was therefore liable for malicious misrepresentation. Without defense attorneys, the husband (who had no previous criminal history) pleaded guilty at the deal. He was given a one-year contact order that did not stop him from going home for a year or any contact with his wife.
Had the husband contacted a lawyer before pleading guilty, he may not have had a verdict at all. Even if there was a conviction, a lawyer could help him avoid such a lengthy contact order.
Copyright (c) 2007 The Cahoon Law Office – All rights reserved.