The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for many it is just stressful and overwhelming. There can be unrealistic expectations for joy and gift giving, financial pressures and strain, and tense family dynamics.
Tempers flare and emotions run high during the holiday season. With heightened stress levels and the increased consumption of alcohol this time of year, there may be more incidents of domestic violence.
Don’t ruin your holidays by lashing out. Be mindful of your own emotions and aware of your behavior. Make decisions that will keep yourself and those around you safe.
Washington law ardently prosecutes crimes of domestic violence. Conviction can involve very serious and long-lasting consequences. This is not to be taken lightly.
Domestic Violence Crimes:
Domestic violence is defined by Washington state law as any crime committed by one family or household member against another (RCW 26.50.010), which involves physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault. It is often assumed that domestic violence only applies to couples in an intimate relationship. While this is the most common, it is not the only type of relationship included in the definition. Roommates, siblings, and other domestic relationships as defined in RCW 10.99.020 are also included.
Some of the crimes connected with domestic violence include, but are not limited to:
- Reckless endangerment
- Drive-by shooting
- Criminal trespassing
- Malicious mischief
- Unlawful imprisonment
- Violation of protection order
- Manslaughter or murder
- Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence
Furthermore, if you commit a crime of domestic violence and then in any way prevent or attempt to prevent the victim from reporting the crime, you may face an additional charge: “interfering with the reporting of domestic violence”. Please see our prior blog post for further information about the interfering with domestic violence reporting statute.
Depending upon the classification, circumstances, and severity of the crime, domestic violence convictions may be classified as misdemeanor or felony. Penalties may vary significantly. In any case, it is important to understand that domestic violence related cases are taken very seriously and consequences can be life altering. Some of the repercussions of a domestic violence arrest or conviction may include jail time, large fines, protection orders, court ordered counseling, and loss of gun rights. This is in addition the long term impacts of a having a criminal record, which may impact employment opportunities, immigration, and even your relationships.
*If you are ever in an emergency situation, please call 911 immediately. Safety first!
If you find yourself in a position where you are being charged with a domestic violence related crime, including interfering with reporting of domestic violence or defending against a protection order, please don’t waste any time in enlisting competent legal counsel. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.