Under most circumstances a willful violation of a no contact order (“NCO”) is a gross misdemeanor in Washington State. This means that a person charged with a NCO violation faces up to a 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Moreover, since violating a “Domestic Violence” no contact order is itself labeled a crime of domestic violence, a person’s rights to own or possess firearms will be forfeited upon conviction of the same – this is so even if no gun was used, possessed or even mentioned during the unlawful contact.
It is important to understand that being in a public place (such as a movie theatre, grocery store or even a courthouse) is not a defense to violating a NCO. This means that if a NCO is issued against a peson and that person sees the protected person at a grocery store then he must leave. Even if the the protected person invites contact, a person faces jail time if the order is violated.
A common NCO violation scenerio is as follows:
Two people are arguing at home and eventually the police are called by one of the parties. Once the police arrive one of the parties is arrested, as is required by statute. That person is ultimately charged with a domestic violence related crime, i.e. DV assault. Pending the outcome of the case, a NCO is issued by the court. The NCO precludes the two people from having any contact whatsoever with one another. Nothwithstanding the NCO, the parties decide to work out their issues without court approval – this often happens because the parties have personal issues that they must take care of, i.e. operating a business together, banking, child rearing issues and the like. While in contact with one another, a neighbor sees the parties hanging out together and calls the police, who in turn quickly come to the house and arrest the person who is bound by the NCO. As a result, this person faces multiple criminal charges, a stint in jail until the case(s) are resolved, and a prosecutor who is even less likely to favorably negotiate the initial underlying case, let alone the new case.
Because of the sheer magnitude of domestic violence related allegation, it is imperative that when a person is facing single or even multiple criminal charges arising out of an argument that got out of hand, a person cannot simply entrust his life, his future, his reputation or even his profession to an inexperienced and untested Seattle domestic violence lawyer. He must seek – he must demand – only the very best criminal defense representation available. Anyone charged with domestic violence in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle domestic violence defense lawyer.
The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly seasoned and reputable Seattle domestic violence defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for domestic violence in Western Washington and the greater Puget Sound region. The team is designed to create success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office so as to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations brought against the accused are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances. If accused of a crime protect your rights – contact SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.