Domestic Violence Defense

Were you recently arrested for any kind of alleged crime of domestic violence? The Law Offices of Kim E. Hunter, PLLC defends individuals facing domestic violence charges in the state of Washington.

Kim E. Hunter is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Northwest College for DUI Defense. You can have her review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (253) 709-5050 or complete an online contact form to set up a free consultation.

Washington Domestic Violence Laws

Revised Code of Washington § 10.99.020(5) defines domestic violence as including but not being limited to 23 listed crimes when committed by one family or household member against another. Under Revised Code of Washington § 10.99.020(3), a family or household member is defined as meaning:

  • spouses
  • former spouses
  • parents of a child
  • adults related by blood or marriage
  • adults who have lived together
  • persons 16 years of age or older in a dating relationship who have lived together
  • persons 16 years of age or older in a dating relationship
  • stepparents
  • stepchildren
  • grandparents
  • grandchildren

Revised Code of Washington § 10.31.100(2)(c) establishes that a police officer must arrest any person 18 years of age or older when the officer has probable cause to believe that a felonious assault has occurred, an assault has occurred which has resulted in bodily injury to the victim, or any person has intentionally attempted to cause fear of bodily harm to another person.

The first four crimes listed under the definition of domestic violence in Revised Code of Washington § 10.99.020(5) are the four degrees of assault. Such incidents are commonly referred to as domestic assault.

Assault in the first degree under Revised Code of Washington § 9A.36.011 is a class A felony assault of another person with the intent to inflict great bodily harm, including with a weapon or great force.

Assault in the second degree under Revised Code of Washington § 9A.36.021 is a class B felony in which a person intentionally assaults another person and recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm on another person or unborn child. This includes assault using a deadly weapon, strangulation, or suffocation. Assault in the second degree becomes a class A felony if there is a finding of sexual motivation.

Assault in the third degree under Revised Code of Washington § 9A.36.031 is a class C felony that usually involves assaults committed against individuals in certain protected classes.

Assault in the fourth degree under Revised Code of Washington § 9A.36.041 is a gross misdemeanor when an assault of another person does not amount to assault in the first, second, or third degree. A fourth-degree assault in which domestic violence is pleaded becomes a class C felony if the person has two or more prior adult convictions within 10 years for any of the following offenses:

  • repetitive domestic violence offense;
  • harassment;
  • assault in the third degree;
  • assault in the second degree;
  • assault in the first degree; or
  • an out-of-state comparable offense.

The other 19 crimes listed under the definition of domestic violence in Revised Code of Washington § 10.99.020(5) include:

  • Drive-by shooting, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.36.045 — Class B felony
  • Reckless endangerment, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.36.050 — Gross misdemeanor
  • Coercion, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.36.070 — Gross misdemeanor
  • Burglary in the first degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.52.020 — Class A felony
  • Burglary in the second degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.52.030 — Class B felony
  • Criminal trespass in the first degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.52.070 — Gross misdemeanor
  • Criminal trespass in the second degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.52.080 — Misdemeanor
  • Malicious mischief in the first degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.48.070 — Class B felony
  • Malicious mischief in the second degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.48.080 — Class C felony
  • Malicious mischief in the third degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.48.090 — Gross misdemeanor
  • Kidnapping in the first degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.40.020 — Class A felony
  • Kidnapping in the second degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.40.030 — Class B felony, although offense with sexual motivation is Class A felony
  • Unlawful imprisonment, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.40.040 — Class C felony
  • Violation of the provisions of a restraining order or no-contact order, Revised Code of Washington §§ 10.99.040, 10.99.050, 26.09.300, 26.10.220, 26.26.138, 26.44.063, 26.44.150, 26.50.060, 26.50.070, 26.50.130, 26.52.070, or 74.34.145 — Penalties range from gross misdemeanor to Class C felony
  • Rape in the first degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.44.040 — Class A felony
  • Rape in the second degree, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.44.050 — Class A felony
  • Residential burglary, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.52.025 — Class B felony
  • Stalking, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.46.110 — Gross misdemeanor, but can become class B felony in certain circumstances
  • Interference with the reporting of domestic violence, Revised Code of Washington § 9A.36.150 — Gross misdemeanor

People need to understand that all filing decisions in domestic violence are at the sole discretion of a prosecutor. This means that alleged victims do not have the power to “drop charges.”

Washington Domestic Violence Penalties

The consequences of a domestic violence arrest are usually apparent rather quickly. In many cases, courts will quickly issue domestic violence protection orders or domestic violence no-contact orders that may prevent alleged offenders from returning to their homes.

The possible sentences alleged offenders can face will depend on how their alleged crimes have been classified. Convictions in Washington are generally punishable as follows:

  • Misdemeanor — Up to 90 days in jail and/or fine of up to $1,000.
  • Gross Misdemeanor — Up to 364 days in county jail and/or fine of up to $5,000.
  • Class C Felony — Up to five years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000.
  • Class B Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $20,000.
  • Class A Felony — Up to life in prison and/or fine of up to $50,000.

Domestic violence convictions can also substantially impact your ability to gain or retain custody of your children. Additionally, a domestic violence conviction can result in the loss of your right to possess a firearm.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Many incidents of alleged domestic violence stem from heated disputes between family or household members. In some cases, an alleged victim’s allegations may be exaggerated or even patently false.

The Law Offices of Kim E. Hunter, PLLC will be able to conduct a thorough independent investigation of your arrest and can challenge any weaknesses in evidence in order to possibly have your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We can protect your rights if your conduct was in self defense or defense of others.

If you were arrested for domestic violence in Washington, you should not try to explain yourself to authorities until you have legal representation. Call (253) 709-5050 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.