Domestic Violence Defense

Domestic Violence laws are strict and cast a wide net.  The Domestic Violence statute can be applied to family members (either through blood or marriage), people involved in a current or past dating relationship, people who have a child in common, even roommates.  If you or a family member has been charged with Domestic Violence you are likely confused, frustrated, and angry at the system.  Domestic Violence charges are severe with quick and unyielding consequences.  Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges act quickly to remove the person charged with Domestic Violence from the home.  In almost all cases if a Domestic Violence report is made, someone will be arrested.  Law enforcement will identify a victim and identify someone as the guilty party.  That person will be removed from the home and taken to jail to await a court hearing.  Law Enforcement does not care if the victim does not want the person removed or if neither party called the police.  Many cases involve neighbors calling police when they hear a loud argument.  Once the arrest is made it can take months, even years to sort out.  The Judge will likely impose a No-Contact Order prohibiting the person charged from entering the home or communicating with the victim. Any statements made to police, the prosecutor, or the Judge can be later used against the person charged.  A Domestic Violence charge may affect your immigration status, your ability to own or possess firearms, where you live, your job, and your relationship with your children.

If you or a family member is arrested for a Domestic Violence offense, contact an attorney immediately.  Having an attorney at your first court appearance can change the course of you entire case.  Michele has represented hundreds of clients charged with Domestic Violence throughout Western Washington and knows the system.  She has had excellent success with non-conviction resolutions, reduction of charges, and dismissal of charges.  Domestic Violence charges can also include Malicious Mischief, Harassment, or Child Abuse.  

False Allegations of Domestic Violence

Families experience stress and sometimes one family member makes a claim about Domestic Violence that is simply untrue or exaggerated.  Michele has worked with many adults and juveniles accused of committing crimes against family members where another family member has an agenda.  Fighting these allegations require special considerations and may often come up in Family Law disputes.  What happens with your criminal case may affect your Family Law matter.  Michele is experienced navigating between these two areas and bringing the truth to light.

Treatment and Family Reconciliation

Washington State’s Domestic Violence laws are strict.  You may have violated the law and not even be aware you committed a crime.  A Domestic Violence Assault may be something as simple as throwing an object at another person or making the other person feel threatened.  If you are charged with Domestic Violence it may be appropriate to seek treatment.  Michele has worked with many individuals to help them engage in appropriate treatment with a provider who meets their individual needs.  The Court may require you to complete treatment, most commonly Domestic Violence Batterer’s Treatment ++LINK??++. The classes are not a good fit for everyone, if you are required to enter a treatment program, Michele will help you find the right program, not just the cookie-cutter approach. Sometimes, engaging with the right treatment provider can help get a No Contact Order lifted or resolve your case.

Child Abuse

Domestic Violence laws include strict and narrow definitions of what behavior is legal for disciplining children.  What may have been acceptable physical discipline twenty years ago is possibly criminal behavior now.  Courts take these charges very seriously and impose harsh consequences to any individual charged with Child Abuse.  These consequences may be imposed even if a conviction is not obtained.  If an allegation of Child Abuse is made, the criminal court is only part of the equation. Washington’s Mandatory Reporter Law requires medical professional, teachers, caregivers, counselors, therapists, and others to report suspicions of child abuse.  Because reporting is mandatory and can result in criminal charge for a mandatory reporter who fails to report child abuse, these reports can often be baseless or the result of mistake.  Child Protection Services (CPS) will also become involved.  Either or both of these authorities can make decisions about when, where, and if you see your child.  You may also be required to enter into a treatment program.  Michele has assisted many families in navigating these difficult charges and has strong relationships with many excellent treatment providers.  

No Contact Orders

In most cases the Court will enter a No Contact Order when someone is charged with a Domestic Violence offense.  This order is a legal document prohibiting the person charged from having any contact with the victim.  These orders are strictly enforced and cover all means of contact; in-person, telephone conversations, text messages, email, and third-party contact.  A violation of a no-contact order is a new and separate crime and can negatively impact the outcome of the original criminal charge.  Michele has successfully argued against the need for these intrusive orders and prevailed in many motions to have the orders lifted after they have been imposed.

Family Law

Family law matters include disputes over separation, divorce, and child custody matters.  Michele does not practice family law but through years of practice has developed a strong network with family law attorneys.  If you need a family law attorney Michele can refer you to a number of excellent and qualified practitioners.  Resources are also available for individuals who cannot afford to hire an attorney.

Domestic Violence Batterer’s Treatment

Domestic Violence Batterer’s Treatment is a specific program designed to treat individuals convicted of a Domestic Violence offense.  Participation in the program is often court mandated.  In order to qualify for the program, a treatment provider must meet certain criteria outlined by the Legislature.