Washington State domestic violence charges can be charged as felonies, gross misdemeanors or misdemeanors. A person charged with a Washington felony can serve significant time in “prison” and be put on “parole”, whereas an individual charged with a Washington gross misdemeanor, or a misdemeanor may serve significant time in “jail” and be put on “probation”. Whether a crime is a felony, a gross misdemeanor or a misdemeanor is determined by the specific facts of the case and the seriousness of the crime alleged. Generally crimes that result in serious injuries are charged as felonies; conversely, cases with minimal to no injuries are charged as either gross misdemeanors or misdemeanors. Penalties for felony convictions are significantly more serious than penalties for either gross misdemeanors or misdemeanors. Felony penalties range from shorter prison terms and moderate fines for less severe felonies to life sentences and large fines for more serious offenses, and possibly even the death penalty in extremely rare circumstances. Gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor penalties for domestic violence convictions depend on the specific facts of each case. Washington court’s consider prior convictions, whether the alleged abuser was on probation or parole, the local community’s attitude toward the crime and any other mitigating and/or aggravating circumstances. Some of the penalties that may attach to gross misdemeanor and/or misdemeanor domestic violence charges include: probation, mandatory treatment programs, short to moderate “jail” sentences, fines, and restitution to the victim. Gross misdemeanor defendants face up to a year in jail plus a significant fine for each charged offense. Misdemeanor defendants face up to ninety days in jail plus a significant fine for each charged offense.
No matter the circumstance, the best approach to take when arrested for domestic violence in Washington State is to contact a qualified Washington State domestic violence defense attorney who has knowledge of the Washington State court system and the Washington State police procedures. The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified Seattle domestic violence defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those charged with domestic violence in Western Washington. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the domestic violence allegation are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible.