People in unhealthy relationships often share a defining characteristic of the relationship, which is a partner’s desire to maintain power and control over the other partner. To maintain that power and control, a partner may go to great lengths, resorting to physical violence, threats of violence, verbal abuse, stalking, harassment, and even false imprisonment.
There are also relationships where it appears that someone is engaging in controlling behavior to an outside observer, but in fact it is not an unhealthy or controlling relationship. There are also incidents that involve consensual conduct, such as a relationship that involves role play, which gives an appearance that is not, in fact, the reality of the dynamics of a relationship.
Seattle domestic violence attorney Jennifer Horwitz knows every relationship is different, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. Jennifer’s compassion allows her to listen to your side of the story, regardless of whether you are the victim or the accused, and formulate a strategy to best assist you based on your needs. Approaching each case without judgment, Jennifer wants to help all of her clients, regardless of the situation.
The Complex Relationship Between Control, Harassment, False Imprisonment and Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Generally
Domestic violence describes a category of harmful behaviors toward loved ones or those living in the same household. Domestic violence is defined as physical harm, bodily injury, assault, sexual assault, threats of any of these harms, or stalking of an intimate partner by another intimate partner or of a household member by another household member. Domestic violence is often used to physically control another person by causing physical harm or placing another person in fear of physical harm.
However, domestic violence is more than just causing bruises or breaking bones. It is creating an environment that places a victim in constant fear to maintain control. There are many ways to instill fear. The most obvious is the physical abuse that leads to the constant fear of harm. Other behaviors include harassment, stalking, or unlawful imprisonment.
Harassment is a crime defined as knowingly threatening to:
(1) cause bodily injury to another person;
(2) cause physical damage to property of another person;
(3) subject another person to being physically confined or restrained; or
(4) any other action that is intended to cause substantial physical or mental harm to another person.
Harassment includes both threats made by words and by conduct or actions that place another person in reasonable fear that the threat will be carried out. Examples of harassment include sending threatening text messages, breaking another person’s belongings, or locking a person in a room.
Harassment is a crime classified as a gross misdemeanor. The punishment for a conviction of a gross misdemeanor is not more than 364 days in prison and/or a fine of not more than $5,000. Harassment will be escalated to a Class C Felony if the accused is a repeat offender, threatens to kill another person, or the threats are made against anyone involved in the Washington criminal justice system. A Class C Felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
At the most basic level, harassment is threatening another person. Accordingly, those accused of domestic violence are often charged with harassment because domestic violence involves threats of physical violence.
False or Unlawful Imprisonment
False or unlawful imprisonment is also a crime that is defined as knowingly restraining another person. Unlawful imprisonment is classified as a Class C Felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Grabbing someone or holding onto them can constitute restraining a person, and those accused of domestic violence are often charged with unlawful imprisonment. Other examples of unlawful imprisonment include taking something like a cellphone and refusing to give it back, which prevents a person from leaving or refusing to unlock a car door.
Relying on Legal Protections
Whether domestic violence presents itself as direct physical abuse or living in constant fear of abuse, the Revised Code of Washington protects those in unhealthy and harmful relationships.
If You are a Victim of Domestic Violence, Harassment, or False Imprisonment
If a partner or member of your household commits domestic violence against you, there are ways to protect yourself. If you have experienced a domestic violence incident in a relationship or household, you can obtain a protective order from the Washington Courts to prevent an abuser from contacting you. Attorney Jennifer Horwitz has helped hundreds of clients in need of protection to obtain court orders limiting contact between the victim and the accused. Jennifer’s understanding of the law means she knows how to persuade the court to give you an order of protection.
If You are Accused of Domestic Violence, Harassment, or False Imprisonment
If you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, harassment, threatening behavior, or unlawful imprisonment, you have rights in both criminal and civil proceedings. In criminal proceedings, you have constitutional rights to protect the wrongfully accused. In civil proceedings, you have the opportunity to present your side of the matter and rebut any allegations against you. Attorney Jennifer Horwitz is experienced in both criminal prosecution and domestic violence protection cases and can represent you every step of the way in both proceedings.
Consult with a Seattle Area Domestic Relations Attorney
Whether you are a victim of domestic violence or crimes involving a domestic relationship or have been accused of domestic violence, attorney Jennifer Horwitz has over 25 years of experience representing clients on both sides of this domestic issue. Contact Jennifer Horwitz Law to discuss your case today. Jennifer Horwitz is located in Seattle, WA, and also serves the areas in and around King County, Issaquah, Sammamish, and Bellevue.