Serving Skagit,
Island, and
Whatcom Counties
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100

Complications from an Assault Charge

If the alleged victim in an assault charge is a family member, significant other, or roommate, the crime of Assault can be labeled a crime of domestic violence too. Any crime alleged to include domestic violence can cause serious complications to the alleged perpetrator. The first issue is that the person charged will likely end up in custody at the local jail because the police must arrest a person if the domestic violence took place within four hours of their arrival. Then, once a person is released from custody, the court will likely issue a No-Contact Order (NCO).

A No-Contact Order can prevent a person from going back to their home, having access to a vehicle, or even stop someone from seeing their children. The court will keep this order in place until a hearing takes place to decide if the order should be dropped. It is very important for an experienced criminal defense attorney to get involved quickly so that he or she can try to work with the prosecutor to drop the NCO, or to have the court hearing quickly.

At the court hearing, the judge will decide if the parties will be safe if the NCO is lifted. The court usually has the person protected in the order make a statement. If the court issues a No-Contact Order to protect you and you want it dropped, please contact the court where the charge is filed and prosecuting authority who is charging it. The court will also allow the prosecutor to make an argument as to whether the order should be dropped. Once the court has this information, the judge will decide to either lift the order or to keep it in place.

If the order is lifted, the defendant will be free to contact the protected party. If the order is kept in place, the defendant must not speak to or communicate with the protected person in any way. Contact between the two parties is still prohibited even if the protected party initiates the communication. For example, if the defendant sees the protected party at the store, then he or she must turn around and leave. It is of upmost importance that no contact between the parties occur even if the protected party does not want the order to be in effect. If contact does occur and the prosecutor finds out, it is very easy for the state to obtain a conviction for Violation of a No-Contact Order.

The sentence for a conviction of assault varies, but if you are convicted, you will face at least the possibility of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Additionally, you can be ordered to stay away from a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend or child for periods of time that can last years. If the assault is defined as a crime of domestic violence, you will also lose your right to possess and carry firearms. There can also be additional complications with your employment or attempts to find future work. In short, the crime of assault should be taken very seriously and an experienced criminal defense attorney should be consulted as early as possible in the criminal justice process.