Charged with Domestic Violence? It’s Time to Call An Attorney

Being charged with domestic violence in Washington is a very serious offense. If you have been charged but have not yet spoken to a defense attorney in Lynnwood, it’s wise to do so as soon as possible. You are facing many potential negative consequences that are very serious and will have a lasting impact on your life.

Jail Time and Fines

If you are convicted of domestic violence, you may face thousands of dollars in fines and jail time. Non-felony domestic violence charges are either misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors. Those that fall under the misdemeanor category carry punishment of a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days. If your domestic violence charge is a gross misdemeanor, you’re facing a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of as much as $5,000.

The fines and sentences for domestic violence charges that are a felony are even steeper and vary depending on the nature of the offense. In general, once you have a felony conviction on your record, you will struggle to gain employment and may be barred from using certain services and programs altogether.

Loss of the Right to Bear Firearms

In Washington, people who are convicted of a domestic violence charge automatically lose their right to have a firearm. Unlike the other penalties the court may impose on you, the ban on owning firearms has no end date and will be permanent unless you are able to successfully petition the court to reinstate this right. Keep in mind that there is no exception made to this condition for people who have to carry a firearm for their job, such as military members or law enforcement officers. Contact us today to see if you
are eligible to get your firearms rights restored.

No Contact Orders (NCO)

At the start of your domestic violence case and/or at your conviction, a no contact order may be imposed. This will bar you from contacting the person you are charged with harming and can interfere with your ability to see other loved ones, such as your children, because of the charge and their proximity to the victim. Violating an NCO can land you in jail, and this true even before you are convicted of the underlying crime. Violating an NCO post-conviction can also lead to incarceration as a violation of

Whether an NCO continues after you have been convicted will depend on many factors, including:

  • The recommendations of the prosecutor and victim’s advocate
  • The victim’s wishes
  • The standards and policies of the court
  • Your progress in any court-ordered treatment, such as domestic violence or drug/alcohol programs
  • The crime you’re being convicted of
  • The severity of the facts of your case

Treatment Programs

You may be ordered by the court to successfully complete a domestic violence batterer’s treatment program, which is expensive and requires a significant time commitment. This program has 26 weekly sessions held in groups, followed by monthly group therapy sessions for six months. Since the program you attend must meet the state’s requirements, your defense attorney in Lynnwood can help ensure you are enrolled in a proper program and doing all that is required.

Travel Restrictions

When you are convicted of a domestic violence charge in Washington, you will find an unexpected roadblock should you decide to move to another state. You will be subject to the Interstate Compact, which means you have to follow certain rules and be approved by the state you want to move to. You will have to tell the judge or the probation officer of the court you were sentenced in that you want to move out of state, apply to get approval from that judge, and then apply for a supervision transfer through the commission that is responsible for the compact. If you have been convicted of domestic violence in Washington but want to move, contact an attorney for help with this process to ensure you do everything correctly.

Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously in Washington. If you’re facing this type of charge, consider having experienced legal help on your side. Being convicted will immediately affect your personal and financial lives and can continue to have an impact for years to come, so it’s crucial that you have proper legal representation as your case progresses.

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