Skagit County Domestic Violence Lawyer
A charge of Domestic Violence in Skagit County can drastically affect your life. Domestic Violence is not a crime by itself. Domestic Violence, or DV, is a category of crimes. In Washington, any charge can be labeled as Domestic Violence. This means that a person is charged with a crime involving a victim they are in a defined relationship, such as a spouse.
The most common Domestic Violence charge in Skagit County is Assault in the Fourth Degree. A person is charged in Skagit County District with Assault in the Fourth Degree – Domestic Violence alleges that you touched another without permission and that they were in a defined relationship. This relationship can be with the following people:
- Those in a dating relationship;
- Children (including step-children);
- Anyone whom you dated in the past; or with whom you lived with in the past.
Domestic Violence charges are seen in cases beyond Assault.
Other common charges in Skagit County include Malicious Mischief. This crime, Malicious Mischief, can be either a felony or a misdemeanor; it happens when property is broken in an argument. A spouse can even be charged with Malicious Mischief for breaking property they own because the courts label it as “community property.” This has been seen in Skagit County Domestic Violence cases when a husband slams a door and breaks the frame or when a spouse throws a phone that is on a family plan. And depending on the cost of the property, for example, a new iPhone, the Domestic Violence charge would be a felony, or Malicious Mischief in the Second Degree.
Other Skagit County Domestic Violence charges are Harassment and Interfering with Reporting DV. Harassment is threatening to harm someone now or in the future. The Harassment can be either possible physical injury or damage to another’s property. If the threat includes a threat to kill, then Skagit County would charge Felony Harassment. Interfering with Reporting is charged when a person stops another from calling 911 or otherwise trying to get help. This Domestic Violence charge is usually seen when, during an argument, one person hangs up the phone when the other party is trying to call law enforcement.
A crime of Domestic Violence makes any criminal charge much more severe. The police are required to arrest a person if it is determined that a crime of domestic violence occurred within 4 hours or their arrival. This would not happen if the crime was Assault in the Fourth Degree, but the addition of DV makes incarceration mandatory. The result is that any department, Mount Vernon, Burlington or Anacortes, will take you to jail. You must remain in custody until you see a judge. Bail cannot be posted, nor can you be released on your own recognizance. It is extremely important to get an experienced Domestic Violence attorney on your team as soon as possible to protect your rights.
The next morning (or, if the arrest was Friday afternoon or on the weekend, the next Monday), a judge will determine if the person is released. The court will also decide if any conditions of release will be set. In a Skagit County Domestic Violence case, the judge will order the following: (1) a No Contact Order between the arrested person and any victim, (2) that any firearms must be surrendered to law enforcement until the case is resolved, and (3) to not be charged with any new criminal law violations. If the person violates any of these conditions, the court will likely order them back into custody until the case is resolved.
A pending Domestic Violence charge can be harmful, even without a conviction. This firm represents people charged with Skagit County Domestic Violence offenses. Problems associated with being charged can include employment, divorce and hunting. Many employers in Skagit County or Mount Vernon, will not allow a person charged with a crime of Domestic Violence from working in certain areas. We have seen employees of Boeing and NAS Whidbey be prevented from working, simply because they are facing a charge. Many times, a DV charge will be in the middle of a divorce or child custody battle. The other party will ask a court to change custody arrangements solely on a mere allegation. This limits a person’s ability not only to see their child, but may result in them losing custody. Finally, if you are a hunter, an allegation of Domestic Violence will result in the court taking away your guns until the case closed. The court will forbid you from possessing firearms until the case is over so you cannot borrow a shotgun or rifle to go hunting with friends. The multiple problems of merely facing a Domestic Violence charge require you to obtain an experienced Domestic Violence defense attorney.
If you are convicted of a crime of Domestic Violence in Skagit County, your life will be significantly changed. The court will order fines in amounts that could be in the thousands. The court can also order you to go to jail; if the crime is a misdemeanor, such as Assault in the Fourth Degree, then you could face 364 days in custody. If you are convicted of a felony, such as Assault in the Second Degree, the sentence could be up to 10 years in prison.
Other sanctions will include a requirement that you obtain an Anger or Domestic Violence Assessment. This usually requires a person to undergo treatment for up to a year or two. If treatment is not completed, the court can order additional jail time. In most cases, the court issues a No Contact Order that forbids you from contacting the other party. This is done even against the wishes of the alleged victim. The order can be for up to five years.
The court will also find that you will be unable to possess firearms. The length of time will decide how long it will take before you petition the court to reinstate your gun rights. A misdemeanor can be three years, and a felony charge can be up to ten years. It is a crime to possess a firearm due to a DV conviction until you have your right to bear arms reinstated. The process to reinstate your firearm right is done through the Superior Court and requires a separate action to be filed.
There are other ramifications to you beyond the court process. Many employers will fire you if you have a Domestic Violence conviction. Your ex-spouse can change the terms of your custody agreement to limit any contact you have with your child. A DV conviction will be seen by prospective landlords if you try to rent a new apartment or house; this can limit your housing choices. A crime of Domestic Violence in Skagit County will affect your life. Deciding to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you limit the amount of damage. Call Powers Law Group to get the process of protecting your rights underway immediately.