When facing charges for any criminal offense, it is important that you understand the criminal justice process. If you are facing charges for a domestic violence offense in Washington, take a moment to learn more about the process. If you still have question, call our office and set up a free consultation with Seattle domestic violence defense attorney Steve Karimi.
The first step in the Washington domestic violence criminal process is the arrest. In most situations involving domestic violence offenses, police will arrest you and take you into custody. You will remain there until your arraignment unless you are released on bond. An arraignment is your first chance to appear in front of the judge and when you will enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. It is important to speak with a domestic violence defense attorney prior to your arraignment in order to understand your charges and how you should plead. A domestic violence arraignment cannot be waived and the defendant must appear. Your attorney, however, however will accompany you and help you through the process.
In most domestic violence cases, a no contact order will also be issued during the arraignment. This order will prevent you from contacting or going near the alleged victim. Often, this is a family member with whom you share household meaning that you will not be able to return to your home until your hearing.
Pre-Trial Hearings and Motions
If you plead not guilty to your charges, the next step will be attending a pretrial hearing. This is your chance to negotiate your charges and request that the no contact order be dropped. Sometimes you can even settle your case at this point. Depending on the situation, another pretrial hearing or motions hearing may be scheduled. If your charges are not settled at this point, the case will proceed to trial.
In Washington, trials for misdemeanor cases are heard in front of 6 person juries. Felonies are heard in front of 12 person juries. During the trial, both your defense attorney and the prosecution will argue their case and it will be up to the jury (or judge in the event you decide to waive your right to a trial by jury) to determine whether or not they believe you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Seattle and would like to know more about what you can expect from the legal process and how you can fight your charges, contact defense attorney Steve Karimi today.