State law requires law enforcement to make an arrest if they have probable cause to believe an act of Domestic Violence (usually an assault) has occurred within the last 4 hours. If law enforcement contacts you and they have reasonable grounds to believe you committed an act of Domestic Violence (even if you acted in self defense or if their information is incorrect) you will be arrested.
If you are about to be accused or are being accused of an act of Domestic Violence, it is usually in your best interest to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions posed to you by law enforcement. Be polite but firm in your desire to remain silent. A law enforcement officer may try to act as if they are trying to help you. They may tell you that you should talk to them and tell them your side of the story. DO NOT BELIEVE THIS. You are going to be arrested! It is usually better to wait and tell your side to an attorney and let them decide how to best get your story out. Our Attorneys are available right now. Call us for advice on how to react to law enforcement.
If you are a victim of an act of Domestic Violence and have called or are thinking of calling the police, please remember that once you make a statement and tell the police you are the victim of an assault or some other act of domestic violence, you loose all control over what happens to you, your family and the person you are accusing. You will not be able to change your mind later and get the charges dropped/dismissed. Nor will you be able to control what punishment is imposed upon the person accused. Once an arrest has been made and the case has been referred to the Prosecutors, they have all the power and you become just another witness. The concept of you being able to press or drop charges does not exist in Washington. If you truly need protection, then call the police and make a statement. However, if you are just trying to gain some control over the situation and you think the police will help…you are wrong. All you will be doing is transferring complete control to them. Feel free to call us if you need advice.
The Domestic part of domestic violence (DV) means that the crime is committed by one “family or household member” against another family or household member. A family or household member means spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common, adults related by blood or marriage, adults who are or have lived together, persons who have or are dating and persons having a parent-child relationship (includes step parents, step grandchildren, grandparents and grandchildren). A DV label can be put on almost any crime but the most common are Assault (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree), Reckless Endangerment, Coercion, Burglary (1st and 2nd degree, and Residential), Trespass (1st and 2nd degree), Malicious Mischief (1st, 2nd and 3rd degree), Kidnapping (1st and 2nd degree), Unlawful Imprisonment, Rape (1st and 2nd degree), Stalking, and Interference with Reporting DV. But any crime commited against a family or household member can be labeled "DV", it does not need to be an act of violence.
If you are convicted of the crime of Domestic Violence, your right to possess a firearm will be lost. Additionally, you will not be able to “expunge” this conviction from your record. The concept of returning your right to possess firearms is discussed but not currently soemthing that can actually happen.
A person arrested for a DV crime will be booked and they cannot be bailed out until they go before a Judge. This means that a person arrested on Friday, Saturday or Sunday will likely not be able to get out of jail until Monday; after going to Court and addressing a Judge. In all likelihood a no contact order will be issued prohibiting the accused from contacting the alleged victim(s). Any attempt to contact or actual contact will be a new criminal act if the Court has served the person with a copy of the No Contact Order.
Usually, a person arrested for their first misdemeanor (non-felony) act of Domestic Violence will be released on their personal recognizance (PR’d) but; keep in mind, that the court always has the option of setting bail if it feels the accused is a risk of flight, a risk to commit a violent offense or likely to obstruct justice (for example by trying to intimidate a witness).
An alleged victim may be contacted by a “Domestic Violence Advocate”. This person will hold themselves out as someone who will advocate for the alleged victim. When interacting with these people, please keep in mind that “Domestic Violence Advocates” are employed by the Prosecutors, share office space with Prosecutors, and regularly work with and take orders from Prosecutors. There is absolutely no way for them to be completely independent and able to advocate for the alleged victim. By the very structure of their employment, they are influenced and controlled by Prosecutors. An alleged victim who wants an advocate who is required to put the alleged victim’s interest above all else, must hire their own attorney. Only an attorney hired by the alleged victim can be independent and able to advocate solely for the alleged victim.
As an alleged victim, remember you can pick and choose who you talk to. An alleged victim, until ordered otherwise by a Court, can refuse to talk to DV advocates, police, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. Only a Court order can take away this right.
 Dating relationship is a bit of a gray area, but basically means a social relationship of a romantic nature. Court will factor in the length of the relationship, nature of relationship and the frequency of interactions.