There are several different types of domestic violence crimes. That being said, in order for a crime to be classified as domestic violence, the state of Washington has outlined what “domestic violence” means legally. Washington law legally defines domestic violence as the following.
- “The Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members;
- Sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or
- Stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
A family or household member does not just mean a spouse, it also encompasses dating partners, ex-spouses, ex-dating partners, children, and grandchild-grandparent relationships. This list is by no means all-encompassing. Domestic violence sentencing can range in severity, but domestic violence is taken very seriously and many domestic violence-related crimes are felony charges. If you have been charged with any type of domestic violence charge, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible.
Harassment and Stalking in Washington
One of the many forms domestic violence can take is harassment and stalking. Harassment is often characterized as annoying behavior but is taken very seriously by the law. In order to qualify as harassment, the only evidence needed is that the victim was contacted more than twice and was distressed by such contact. Harassment can take place between people in any type of relationship, not just family or household relationships.
Stalking is another crime that also has the potential to be a charged as a domestic violence offense. Stalking can sometimes be synonymous with harassment as stalking occurs when a person repeatedly follows or harasses someone. Typically, stalking and harassment are classified as gross misdemeanors and can include the following penalties.
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $5,000 in fines
If the harassment of a person is particularly bad, it can potentially result in a class C felony charge. You may be charged with felony harassment if you threaten to kill someone or if you have been previously convicted of harassment or harassing the same person. The penalties are, of course, are steeper when the crime is elevated to a class C felony and can include the following.
- Up to five years in jail
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi
If you or a loved one has been charged with any crime, whether at the misdemeanor or felony level, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Steve Karimi is a former King County prosecutor who now uses his knowledge and insight into prosecution strategies to protect the rights of those accused. Mr. Karimi is a top-rated criminal defense lawyer in the Seattle area who has the experience to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today to discuss defense strategies for your case.