Seattle Domestic Violence Criminal Classes
When it comes to sentencing offenders for domestic violence crimes, judges often look to crack down, both as a way of protecting the victims and sending a message to others. Anyone who is facing a domestic violence charges in Washington should understand the potential penalties they face. With any domestic violence crime, the offender faces sentencing for the crime as well as additional penalties such as a no-contact order when the crime involves domestic violence.
According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, those charged with domestic violence related offenses tend to experience harsher sentencing than non-domestic violence offenders. In 2002, one-third of violent felony offenders were charged with domestic violence crimes. Domestic violence sexual assault offenders had a 98% conviction rate whereas only 87% of non-domestic violence sexual assault offenders. Additionally, at 54%, domestic violence aggravated assault offenders were less likely to be granted pre-trial release versus 62% of non-domestic violence offenders.
If you have been arrested for a domestic violence charge, call our office right now. Attorney Steve Karimi will meet with you for a free consultation and explain more about the potential penalties that you face. Every case is different and there is no way to know for sure what penalties you will be sentenced to.
Types of Domestic Violence Penalties
A crime is charged as one of 3 categories depending on the severity of the offense. This is a system used to make sure that the more serious offenses are punished with harsher sentences. Under Washington law RCW 9a.20.021, there are maximum penalties for every class of criminal charge. Criminal charges are made up of three categories:
- Gross Misdemeanors
Every criminal offense in Washington is classified under one of these three categories. Additionally, felonies are further divided into three classes: A, B and C. The maximum sentences for each class are as follows:
Misdemeanors – The least serious offenses are misdemeanors. Very few domestic violence crimes are actually misdemeanors. The penalties include jail time of not more than 90 days, a fine of not more than $1,000 or by a combination of the two.
Gross Misdemeanors – The crimes that are more serious than misdemeanors but that are not harsh enough to be felonies are called gross misdemeanors. The penalties for a gross misdemeanor include not more than one year of jail time, a fine of less than $5,000 or a combination of the two. In some cases, a felony crime may be reduced to a gross misdemeanor. When this happens, it means that you will face lesser penalties if convicted and will avoid having a felony on your criminal record.
Felonies – The most serious offenses are called felonies. Many domestic violence related crimes are felonies. Anyone facing any class of felony charge should contact a lawyer right away.
- Class A: Class A offenses are the worst offenses. The maximum sentence for these crimes include life in prison, a fine of less than $50,000 or a combination of both.
- Class B: These offenses are the second most serious charges that a person can face. Penalties include 10 years of jail time or less, a maximum fine of $20,000 or a combination of the two.
- Class C: These crimes are the least serious felonies. A Class C conviction will result in a jail sentence of at less than 5 years, a fine of less than $10,000 or a combination of the two penalties.
Seattle Domestic Violence Sentencing
According to RCW 10.99.080, a person convicted of a domestic violence criminal offense can be sentenced to an additional fine of less than $100. This fine will be used to establish a fund for domestic violence survivors, advocacy and prevention. When determining sentencing for a domestic violence crime, the judge will look at many factors of the case. The prosecution will also be asked to supply other evidence. A judge will look at the following:
- Whether the defendant suffered control, coercion, or abuse by the victim and was acting in self defense
- The offense occurred within the sight or sound of a minor child under the age of 18
- If the victim displayed a pattern of abuse towards the defendant prior to the offense
- The defendant's personal history
- The defendant's criminal history
Call a Seattle Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been accused of a domestic violence offense in Seattle, make sure that you understand the potential penalties you are facing. Experienced criminal defense lawyer Steve Karimi understands how to fight domestic violence charges and get great results. He is a former prosecutor for the state of Washington who understands what it takes to build a strong defense for his clients. He will walk you through the entire process and answer all of your questions. Call attorney our office today to find out more about your defense options.