According to Washington law, any physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or instilling fear of physical harm, assault, or bodily injury amongst members of the same household or family is considered domestic violence. It also covers stalking and sexual abuse by a family member. Here is some crucial information about domestic violence in Washington, along with specifics regarding charges related to it.
Examples of domestic violence charges
Many acts or crimes that one family member or household member may perform against another may qualify as domestic violence due to the broad definition of domestic violence in law.
This can involve doing things like:
- Unlawful detention
- Trespassing illegally
- Property damage
- Protection order violations.
All of these are crimes against anyone, but they are usually classified as domestic violence when they occur between family members or other household members at home. Legally speaking, this matters since Washington has rules requiring mandatory arrests in specific cases of domestic abuse.
Penalties for domestic violence crimes
Is domestic violence a felony in Washington? Domestic violence may fall under felony or misdemeanor based on the allegations against you and if you have previously been convicted of the same or comparable offenses. Domestic violence attacks fall under one of the following categories depending on the specifics of the case.
Fourth-degree DV assault
Allegations of a slight injury or no harm at all are the basis for filing accusations of fourth-degree domestic violence assault. For instance, sufficient contact to warrant an arrest would be an allegation of unwelcome touching.
Additionally, intentionality to cause harm is not required per WA state law. All the law says is that a “reasonable person” should find the contact insulting. A domestic violence lawyer may include the reasonable person test in an all-encompassing defense strategy, albeit it is subject to interpretation.
A conviction for DV Assault 4 in Washington State is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail, a $5000 fine, and the loss of one’s privilege to bear guns. There are court-ordered options for anger management programs, home detention, community service, and drug abuse therapy.
Second-degree DV Assault
In Washington State, second-degree domestic violence assault is a severe crime. Usually, this charge is brought after a significant harm that is not life-threatening. The State will probably file charges of felony assault if there is proof that a weapon was used in the incident or if the accused victim has a broken bone.
Since choking is a felony charge, there need not be any apparent injuries for there to be claims of choking. Law enforcement officers are trained to inquire as to whether hands were ever in the throat region during the altercation, so this is a typical accusation.
As a Class B felony, DV assault 2 carries a sentence of up to ten years in prison, the loss of one’s ability to bear guns, and a fine of $20,000. It is also considered a strike offense, with a third strike carrying a life sentence.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer is helpful if you are being prosecuted in Washington on allegations of domestic violence.