Washington has an unusually broad definition of some of the words within the laws that apply to allegations of domestic violence. As a result, a person who does not have a current or former romantic relationship with you could make an accusation of domestic violence and seek to have you removed from your own home.
Navigating these waters can be complicated and tricky. One misstep could haunt you for years with your career and your ability to find decent housing. You will want to work with a Seattle domestic violence defense attorney before that happens to you, because undoing that kind of harm can be difficult, if not impossible. Here is an overview of domestic violence and no contact orders involving roommates and house guests.
Who Can Be Subject to Washington’s Law About Domestic Violence and No Contact Orders
People usually think of spouses, domestic partners, or people who are dating as those whom the domestic violence and no contact orders laws are intended to protect. They might be surprised to find out that people who have never had a romantic relationship could find themselves facing domestic violence accusations under these laws.
Let’s say that you had a roommate during college, shared an apartment with a friend, or temporarily let someone stay in your house while they looked for a place to rent or buy. Any of those people could file charges of domestic violence against you under Washington’s domestic violence and no contact orders law.
Potential Consequences of Allegations of Domestic Violence
If a judge issues a no contact order based on allegations of domestic violence, the defendant could be forced from the residence. Additional possible fallout from being on the receiving end of a no contact order for domestic violence can include:
- You could have a criminal record that could follow you throughout your life. If the judge finds you guilty of the allegations, the judge will sentence you to specific terms and conditions.
- You could have long-term social stigma from getting charged with domestic violence, even if not found guilty.
- Your current employer might fire you based merely on allegations of domestic violence. If you get convicted of a charge, it could be difficult to find future employment. You might not get a chance to explain your side if a prospective employer does not give you an interview because of what showed up in your background check.
- You could have difficulty finding housing in the future. If you rent your apartment or house, your landlord could evict you.
With the possibility of any of these adverse outcomes, you would want to talk with a lawyer as soon as possible to try to avoid getting a no contact order entered against you.
How a Lawyer Could Help You If You Get Accused of Domestic Violence by a Roommate or Houseguest
Sometimes, an attorney can help someone accused of domestic violence by a roommate or houseguest by asking the court to create an exception to the usual no contact order and allow you to remain in your home when the accuser is a platonic housemate. It might be possible, through an attorney’s assistance, to have the accuser legally removed if they are a mere houseguest and have no legal right to remain in the home.
A Seattle criminal defense can protect your rights and housing if a housemate, roommate, or guest accused you of domestic violence. Contact our office today for help with your case.
DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights, and some general information on various aspects of criminal cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.