Domestic violence assault charges are common in Washington; even a light shove or grab can result in an arrest. While violence between family or household members is never acceptable, false accusations of can arise when conflicts get out of hand. If you have been accused of assault by a spouse, partner, or family member, you need an aggressive domestic violence defense attorney at your side.
Jennifer Horwitz Law is a highly sought-after criminal defense practice serving clients in Seattle, Kings County, and throughout Washington. Lead attorney Jennifer Horwitz has extensive experience handling domestic violence assault cases and will work to protect your rights, your freedom, and your reputation.
Common Domestic Assault Charges in Washington
Assault involves any act intended to cause fear of harmful conduct and that causes such fear in the victim. This means that a person can be charged with domestic violence assault even if he or she does not make contact with the victim. While there are four levels of assault in Washington State, the most common domestic assault charges are Fourth-Degree Domestic Assault and Second-Degree Domestic Assault.
Fourth-Degree Domestic Violence Assault
Fourth-degree assault is also referred to as simple assault, which can be charged in a domestic violence case when there are allegations of a minor injury or no injury at all. The charge only requires that the offender acted with intent to cause the victim fear of bodily harm. Even an allegation of unwanted touching can lead to an arrest. It is not necessary to show that a physical injury occurred or that the offender intended to cause harm, but rather the contact would be considered offensive by a reasonable person.
In any event, law enforcement is required to make an arrest if there is probable cause. Moreover, the court will likely issue a no-contact order and require the defendant to surrender any firearms. Domestic violence assault in the fourth degree is considered a gross misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.
Second-Degree Domestic Violence Assault
Domestic violence assault in the second degree can be charged when the defendant:
- Intentionally assaulted another, recklessly inflicting serious bodily harm
- Assaulted another with a deadly weapon
- Assaulted another by strangulation or suffocation
Second-degree domestic violence assault is considered a felony – the most common domestic violence felony charge in Washington State – punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $20,000. Individuals who are convicted of felonies will also lose the right to own or carry a firearm as well as the right to vote. Ultimately, being convicted means that you will have a permanent criminal record, which could impact family law matters such as child custody and visitation.
Potential Defenses Against a Domestic Violence Assault Charge
Being arrested for domestic violence assault does not mean you will be convicted. The prosecution must be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Jennifer Horwitz will listen carefully to you, conduct a thorough investigation of the case, and choose the best line of defense. Potential defenses include:
If you acted to protect yourself or another family or household member, you are allowed to use reasonable force to stop an attack. However, you cannot raise self-defense against a domestic violence assault charge if you initiated or escalated the household conflict.
False accusations of domestic violence are not uncommon in contentious divorce cases and child custody battles. Jennifer Horwitz will pinpoint any inconsistencies in the accuser’s story about the incident and work to have the charges dropped.
If you can prove that you were not present during the alleged incident, the case against you will be undermined. An alibi may involve other people who attest that you were with them at the time the alleged incident occurred.
Lack of Evidence
Because there are no witnesses in many domestic violence cases, the prosecution may not have enough evidence to gain a conviction, especially if the victim did not sustain any injuries.
How Jennifer Horwitz Can Help
If you have been charged with domestic violence assault, Jennifer Horwitz will handle all the details of your case, including:
- Conducting a thorough investigation
- Carefully weighing the evidence against you
- Challenging the alleged victim’s story
- Defending you at trial
Jennifer is committed to having the case dismissed or winning an acquittal, but she will also negotiate a plea bargain to have the charges and penalties reduced if necessary. Above all, Jennifer Horwitz will work in your best interests at all times and protect your rights and your future.
Contact Our Seattle Domestic Violence Assault Defense Attorney
Being charged with domestic violence assault is a serious matter. Don’t go it alone. Contact Jennifer Horwitz now so she can start working on your defense.