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Domestic Violence

In Washington criminal law, domestic violence is not the name of a crime or charge – but a label that is added to a case to designate the relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim.  The addition of a domestic violence or DV label can significantly change the potential penalties, conditions imposed by the court while a case is pending, and the long-term consequences of a conviction.  

A prosecutor will add a domestic violence label to a case when it is alleged that the crime was committed between family or household members or people with a dating relationship.

Many clients over the years have been surprised when a DV label is added to their case.  Washington law allows the DV label to be applied in broad circumstances and includes: spouses and ex-spouses, people with a child in common, people related by blood or marriage, people who live together or have lived together in the past and have dated, parents and children including stepparents and stepchildren.  This broad definition can result in domestic violence charges when the involved parties are roommates in a shared home, people who are distantly related and barely know each other, adult siblings, etc. 

A dating relationship means a “social relationship of a romantic nature.”  The court may consider various facts in determining if a relationship is a dating relationship including: the length of time a relationship existed; the nature of the relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the parties.   

Common Washington DV related crimes include:

  • Assault
  • Harassment
  • Violation of a No Contact Order
  • Malicious Mischief or Property Destruction
  • Stalking
  • Interfering with Reporting Domestic Violence
  • Kidnapping
  • Residential Burglary
  • Criminal Trespassing
  • Reckless Endangerment

If you are facing a Walla Walla DV or domestic violence related crime - please contact me.  I can help. 

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