When the police are called during a domestic dispute in Seattle or King County, an arrest almost always results. If you are accused of any unwanted physical contact, damaging property, or threatening harm, that is enough evidence for an arrest to be made.
Since the police will normally take the side of the person who called the police, it is easy to feel like you are guilty until proven innocent. Most domestic violence (DV) arrests are unfair and are based on either exaggerations or false accusations made during the heat of the moment.
What actually happened is normally very different from what is in the police report, especially when drugs or alcohol are involved. Regardless of what did or didn’t happen, you deserve the best possible defense.
After the Arrest
It is a common misunderstanding that after the arrest, the alleged victim can decide to press or drop charges. In Washington State, it is the prosecutor’s decision to file charges or dismiss the case.
Often times, the prosecutor will press charges against the wishes of the alleged victim. If the accuser wants to recant or take back statements made to the police, they can be charged with making a false statement to the police, which is a gross misdemeanor.
A domestic violence attorney should be involved as early on in the process as possible. During the early stages of a case, a DV lawyer can sometimes prevent:
- Criminal charges from being filed
- Incriminating statements from being made
- More serious or additional charges from being filed
- Court orders prohibiting contact with the purported victim
Common Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic Assault – If there are allegations of unwanted physical contact, Domestic Assault charges are normally filed.
Malicious Mischief – When there are accusations of damaged property, criminal charges for Malicious Mischief or Destruction of Property are likely.
Harassment – Even if there is no physical contact or damage to property, threats of harm to a person or their property is enough to result in an arrest for Harassment.
No Contact Order Violation – In Seattle, Bellevue, and other parts of King County, court orders preventing communication with the purported victim are almost always issued after an arrest for domestic violence. These orders are very easy to violate and can cause considerable hardship. A violation of a No Contact Order is an additional criminal charge.
Defending DV Charges
Much of the information in the police report is hearsay and there is often times no witness to back up the story of the alleged victim. If there was a physical struggle resulting in an injury, it can be difficult to prove who instigated the fight and who was acting in self defense.
At Beckwith DV Law, we have successfully defended over 1000 clients accused of domestic violence. We will conduct an independent investigation to uncover any evidence that is favorable to your defense.
Often times, we can convince the prosecutor that they do not have enough evidence to win at trial. This can allow for a settlement that results in a case dismissal or significantly less serious charge.
You always have the option to go to trial. However, the great majority of our clients are happy with the settlements we are able to negotiate and choose to avoid the risk of trial.
We understand that the stakes are high and we are prepared to fight for you. You can call us any day of the week for a free consultation.