Because of the broad stay-at-home order issued by Governor Inslee, tensions and tempers have been mounting as more time is spent at home with family members. As a result, reports of domestic violence have increased dramatically. In fact, according to Seattle Chief of Police, Carmen Best, domestic violence calls in the city have gone up by as much as 25%. This increase led to a message from Best to friends and family to "not stand idly by."
There's a problem, however, with this call-to-action: it has the potential to create more harmful situations and to lead to more unfair incarcerations for domestic violence charges.
The Incident that Led to the Call-to-Action
On May 1, the Seattle Police Department released blurred officer bodycam footage of an incident in which a man beat his girlfriend before running away and kidnapping her baby. The woman called 911, saying that her boyfriend was attacking her and that he had fired a gun at her. When officers found the man outside of a nearby apartment building, he had the woman's one-year-old child with him. In the ensuing altercation, the suspect was shot and killed, but the baby was not injured.
Seattle Chief of Police Best's Statement
Speaking in response to this specific incident, as well as the general rise in domestic violence calls that the city of Seattle has seen, Police Chief Best had this to say:
We don't want to see anyone else in the community victimized by domestic violence. And we know that people know… neighbors, friends, family... if you know someone is the victim of domestic violence please, call it in. Intervene.
Best's message, though seemingly well-intended, could create some complicated scenarios. People could be put at physical and legal risk by attempting to intervene in situations. Also, the call to not stand idly by could induce friends and family of alleged victims to provoke alleged abusers into fights that might lead to jail time. If you are caught up in a situation like this, speaking with an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and fight back against unfair charges.
What Do I Do If I'm Arrested?
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic violence, harassment, or a related crime, then you might be feeling a bit lost about what you should do. Every case is different, but some general advice includes:
- Do Not Resist Arrest: In the overwhelming majority of situations, an individual does not have the right to resist their arrest. If you are physically violent with an officer as they are trying to put you under arrest, it could make an already bad situation worse.
- Do Not Answer Incriminating Questions: You may be required to answer truthfully when asked your name and birthdate, but other than that, answering more questions is probably a bad idea. Any answer that you give could be used against you later.
- Ask to Speak to an Attorney: Make it very clear from the moment that you are arrested that you would like to speak with an attorney. Speaking with an attorney may help you avoid making a mistake that could lead to more serious consequences.
Contact Steve Karimi Law Office Today
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic violence, having an experienced and dedicated attorney on your side can make all the difference. Steve Karimi has handled thousands of cases as a King County prosecutor and is now ready to put that experience to work for you to help you defend against your own charges. For a free consultation, call 206-621-8777.