Skilled Legal Representation For Criminal Defendants in Lakewood
Lakewood, incorporated in 1996, is the second-largest city in Washington’s Pierce County. As its name suggests, there are many lakes in the city, including American Lake and Lake Steilacoom. The creeks that pass through the city drain into Puget Sound. The city created its police department in 2004. Although it is a relatively new department, it has a caseload that is substantially larger than the national average. If you have been charged with an offense like domestic violence in the Lakewood area, an experienced criminal defense attorney at Vindicate Criminal Law Group can help you fight the charges against you.
Domestic violence is not one particular crime, but rather a category that applies to many different offenses in the state of Washington, including rape, assault, harassment, and stalking. The designation applies if the perpetrator and victim have a household or family relationship. The statutory definition of “family relationship” is broader than you might imagine, encompassing situations such as when an 18-year-old and another 18-year-old have previously had a dating relationship. For example, if a teenage boyfriend hits his teenage ex-girlfriend, this could be charged as domestic violence.
This designation can have substantial consequences for everyone involved. The legal consequences can include jail time, monetary fines, and a requirement that the perpetrator of the violence receive treatment or attend classes. Among other things, the prosecution often will request a “no contact order” that keeps the alleged perpetrator from contacting the victim and possibly other people close to the victim. This can be put in place before the trial of the perpetrator. If the alleged perpetrator violates the no contact order, that action is also considered an incident of domestic violence.
In order to prove the crime of violation of a no contact order, the prosecution will have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a valid order in place, that the defendant had notice of it, and that the defendant contacted the alleged victim. It does not matter if the victim does not want the no contact order or wants the order to be vacated. Violation of the order is a gross misdemeanor if the act that violated it is not an assault and there are not already two prior convictions for violating similar orders. However, if the contact is an assault, or if there are two or more prior convictions for violating a similar protective order, the charge becomes a class C felony. This level of crime can be punished with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Consult a Lakewood Attorney to Fight Your Charges
Although domestic violence laws in Washington have good intentions, innocent people can get caught up in a punitive system that carries a significant social stigma. Facing these types of charges requires not only experience developing legal strategies, but also sensitivity to the difficult personal dynamics that may exist. At Vindicate Criminal Law Group, we are diligent and tenacious in our defense of those charged with a domestic violence crime in Lakewood and the surrounding communities. Contact us today for your confidential case evaluation, or call (888) 212-4824.