Besides criminal consequences that can include jail time, fines, and treatment, a domestic violence conviction can trigger a wide range of civil consequences outside of the Washington State criminal justice system.
If you are convicted of certain domestic violence crimes, you will be subject to the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) rules. If you want to move out of state or return to your state of residence after being convicted in Washington State, you will have to meet the requirements of WA State AND the state that you are entering. You may also be prohibited from entering Canada.
Loss of Gun Rights
Domestic violence convictions that are considered violent in nature (misdemeanor or felony) will result in a loss of gun rights. This mandatory forfeiture of your firearm rights can last indefinitely and is triggered without regard for your occupation. This means that those employed by the military or by a police department will likely lose their careers if convicted of a domestic violence offense.
Employment Termination & Loss of Future Job Opportunities
A domestic violence conviction can impact any occupation that does a criminal background check. For example, the WA Department of Health has a policy of denying credentials to people convicted of certain domestic assault, harassment, or malicious mischief crimes. This means that a conviction could end the career of someone employed in the medical field.
The WA Department of Education, which regulates teachers, also has strict guidelines for applicants and current teaching certificate holders. A DV conviction could end the career of an educator.
Denial of Housing
Most housing applications in WA State ask applicants to disclose any convictions that would appear on their criminal record (in addition to doing a criminal background check). A conviction for domestic violence carries with it a stigma that landlords may want to avoid, which can result in the denial of a rental application or possible eviction for a current tenant.
How to Avoid Civil & Criminal Consequences
The best way to avoid civil and criminal domestic violence consequences is to get an attorney involved as soon as possible. Any contact with the alleged victim can result in a No Contact Order Violation and should be avoided.
It is risky for unrepresented defendants to make statements to law enforcement, potential witnesses, and the court. Only a skilled attorney with domestic violence experience should tell your side of the story and negotiate on your behalf.
At Beckwith DV Law we have a proven track record for winning tough domestic violence cases in the courts of King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County, Thurston County, and Kitsap County, including the municipal courts of Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Kent, Tacoma, and Olympia, Washington.
Call us today for a free consultation.