Facing Domestic Violence Charges in Washington
Being charged with a domestic violence offense is a serious situation in Washington or in any state. Any type of domestic violence accusation can lead to steep penalties and felony charges. It is important for anyone facing a DV crime to contact an experienced defense attorney right away. Domestic violence abuse advocacy group SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) estimates that every year, 700,000 people are wrongfully arrested for domestic violence in the U.S. Many people who are accused of a DV crime feel that no one will represent them or believe their side of the story. That is simply not true. A domestic violence defense lawyer will listen to you and help you build a strong defense.
Like any type of criminal offense, there are many defense options available for domestic violence offenses. What defense works best will depend on your particular situation and the facts of your case. The important thing to remember is that all charges are defensible. An experienced lawyer will go over your case and look for areas of weakness. Defense options can even be as simple as arguing that there is not enough evidence to support the charges against you.
Domestic Violence Defense Options
There are many defense strategies that domestic violence attorneys use to fight for their clients. One of the most common defense strategies is to argue that you acted in self-defense. When police respond to a domestic violence call, they most often believe the party that called for assistance. In many cases the abuser may actually be the one calling for help causing the real victim to be the one arrested. In other cases, a person is accused of a domestic violence crime after acting in self-defense after experiencing a period of abuse by the alleged victim. If a person feels that their life or safety is in jeopardy, they can legally act out to defend themselves. Unfortunately in domestic violence situations, this can lead to a ‘he said, she said' situation where the victim is accused of instigating the violence. A domestic violence defense attorney can help demonstrate to the court the pattern of abuse that their client suffered which ultimately caused them to respond in self-defense.
Another commonly used DV defense strategy is to challenge the evidence against you. Many domestic violence cases are based solely on the accusations of another person. This is also a way to build a defense in cases of false allegations. In these situations, there is usually a lack of hard evidence because the allegations are simply untrue.
Sadly, falsely accusations of domestic violence occurs do occur. One party will accuse another of committing some form of domestic violence against them in order to gain the upper hand. This can be done for many reasons; to get the other person's attention, for revenge purposes, etc. Often, this is done to make the other party look bad during a divorce or child custody situation. SAVE reports that 48 states in the U.S. currently require a judge to consider domestic violence allegations made against the parents when awarding child custody.
When a case goes to trial it is up to a jury to make a conviction. Jury members are told that they should only convict when they believe the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A defense attorney's job is to establish that reasonable doubt. Pointing out the lack of evidence may seem like an obvious move, but it can often be very convincing to a jury in establishing doubt.
In addition to these defenses, there are numerous other strategies. Sometimes a defendant can present an alibi and argue that the crimes were committed by another person. An attorney can also argue that the defendant was originally given consent for the act. Finally, an attorney may argue that the crime was a de minimis infraction. The term de minimis is defined under RCW 9.94A.411.1(c) as:
It may be proper to decline to charge where the violation of law is only technical or insubstantial and where no public interest or deterrent purpose would be served by prosecution.
This defense is most often used in allegations of harassment or stalking.
Call a Seattle Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Now
If you have been accused of a domestic violence crime in Seattle, call our office right away. Regardless of the type of charges you are facing, a criminal defense lawyer is always a smart decision. Attorney Steve Karimi is here to listen to your side of the story and help you build the best defense possible. He is a former prosecutor so he understands what defenses are the most effective. Best of all, attorney Karimi will meet with you for a free consultation in order to discuss your case. Call now to get started.