A Domestic Violence Conviction Has Far-Reaching Consequences
Law enforcement agencies and courts of Washington state take allegations of domestic violence assault very seriously. In addition to criminal prosecution, an allegation of domestic violence can spill over into other facets of your life, including family court proceedings, gun rights and employment.
When police are called to a domestic disturbance, it sets in motion a series of events that can seem unfair and heavy-handed. If you are accused of family violence, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately to protect your rights and shield you from the harshest consequences.
Experienced Defense For Charges Of Domestic Violence Assault
Our criminal defense lawyer, Desmond Kolke, understands how to confront these serious and sensitive allegations. In 30 years of practice, he has represented many clients charged with domestic assault, violating a protection order, stalking and related domestic violence offenses. In addition to the criminal proceedings, he can represent you in the civil hearing to argue against an overly restrictive domestic violence protection order.
Domestic assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances: There is no actual charge of “domestic violence assault.” The accused is simply charged under the corresponding assault statute:
- Assault 4 — Simple assault resulting in injury, a gross misdemeanor
- Assault 3 — Bodily harm with a weapon or causing great pain, a Class C felony
- Assault 2 — Substantial bodily harm or use of a deadly weapon, a Class B felony
- Assault 1 — Great bodily harm or use of a firearm, a Class A felony
These are oversimplified definitions. The prosecution has discretion in charging decisions, and Mr. Kolke can sometimes convince the prosecutor to charge a non-felony offense such as assault 4 or disorderly conduct if the victim suffered no serious or lasting injury. He examines every aspect of the case, starting with the 911 call or complaint of an assault, the investigation by the responding officers, and the testimony of witnesses.
See our page under Family Law for more about what constitutes domestic violence and whom it applies to.
Working To Limit The Punishment
Whenever possible, the goal is to avoid a conviction for domestic violence assault. Assault 4, for example, is punishable by up to one year in jail and fines up to $5,000. Anyone convicted of domestic violence assault may be prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, and once your gun rights are taken away it is highly difficult to get those civil liberties restored.
There are defenses and mitigating circumstances in any domestic violence situation. Part of our job is to tell your side of the story, which may be very different from the version that the accuser told police. This is especially true when domestic violence allegations are used as leverage in a divorce or child custody proceeding.
It is also important to note that you can be charged, tried and convicted of domestic assault even if the victim does not want to press charges or recants their story. Only the prosecutor can drop the charges. Desmond Kolke has worked to cultivate good relationships with prosecutors and judges in King County, and this is one of the times when his professional respect may spare you from the harshest consequences. If your case does go to trial, he is a proven courtroom litigator who gives you a fighting chance to beat the charges.
Arrested For Domestic Violence?
Give us a call at 253-357-5395 or use our email form to reach out and tell us what happened. Mr. Kolke will take swift action to assert your rights and prevent the government and accuser from railroading you or punishing you too severely for a regrettable incident.