Domestic violence charges are leveled against people in Spokane County just about every day. According to the Spokane Regional Health District each year there are around 5,400 people charged with domestic violence in Spokane County.
If you are one of these and have been charged with Domestic Violence Assault in the Fourth Degree. (DVA 4), you are facing a gross misdemeanor which can result in up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. It doesn’t take much to be charged with a DVA 4 charge, as the current laws in Washington state are designed to immediately diffuse a volatile situation by removing the alleged offender.
When the police arrive at a DV call, if one party says the other assaulted them, that is enough for police to make an arrest. In fact, if the police feel they have probable cause, then they are required to arrest the one they deem to be the aggressor.
Since “assault” in a DV charge is any unwanted touching, then there doesn’t need to be any evidence such as bruises, scrapes, or torn clothing, just the word of the alleged victim will suffice.
What if I’ve Been Charged with Domestic Violence?
There are things you should know before you decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty to a DV 4 charge.
- 364 days in jail
- $5000 fine
- No-Contact Oder (can go for 2 years)
- 12-Month DV Treatment Plan
- Loss of firearm license and right to carry
Not Guilty: This gives you time to speak to an attorney and decide what’s best to do.
Asserting your rights is sometimes tough to do on your own. The system is there to protect victims of DV, but many times, the victims are using the charge to put themselves in a better position in a divorce or child custody case.
Trial: If the prosecutor refuses to drop the charges and you feel that they are unjust, then a trial is a way to get your side of the story told. You have your full constitutional rights meaning that the prosecutor has to prove that an assault took place beyond a reasonable doubt.
You have the right to call the alleged victim to the stand and be questioned by your attorney. You have the right to a jury trial and the right not to take the stand if called and the right not to incriminate yourself.
If you win, then you will not have a DV 4 charge on your record and you can even get the charges and the arrest expunged. If you lose, then you face the penalties mentioned above.
What if My Partner Wants to Drop the Charges?
Any arrest for a DV 4 charge must be accompanied by probable cause, and if police have that and make an arrest, then the victim can’t “drop” the charges. This happens all the time, and prosecutors rarely drop the charges just because the victim now recants his or her testimony.
If the victim refuses to come to court and testify to what was said to police that gave them probable cause, then the police report and officer testimony can be used in court to make the case. In some cases, the victim can be prosecuted for making a false claim or lying to the police.
So if your partner says not to worry because he or she is not going testify or they will go and drop the charges, don’t count on this, rather talk to an attorney and be ready to fight the charge.
Should I Get an Attorney?
The consequences for a DV 4 charge can be serious. It rips apart families, it can cause the defendant to lose their job, it can tarnish their reputation in the community, estrange them from their family and children. The financial fallout can be catastrophic.
The consequences are too great to just expect the truth to come out on its own and the charges to be dropped. Take this as seriously as the state does, and talk to an attorney right away.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been arrested and charged with Domestic Violence 4th Degree, you need to talk to our own Dean Chuang, a successful and well-respected criminal defense attorney. Dean knows how to build a tough and resilient defense plan supported by the facts and the law. Our goal is to help you achieve the best outcome for your case whether it’s a reduction of charges or acquittal.
You can contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case review where we will listen to your side of the story. Then we’ll discuss options based on the facts and the law. Remember that if you’re accused of a crime, invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and insist on having an attorney present during any interrogation.
We’re experienced, effective, and respected by both judges and prosecutors, and you can contact us right away to speak with a Spokane criminal defense attorney from our office.