Domestic violence is a serious problem that has damaging and widespread effects. The state of Washington takes domestic violence charges very seriously and has legal penalties for those who are convicted of this crime.
Being accused of domestic violence can uproot your livelihood and propel you into uncertain territory. Getting familiar with statistics on domestic violence in the state can help you understand the landscape as you determine your next course of action.
Learn more about domestic violence statistics in Washington State and how to navigate charges below.
Domestic Violence Statistics in Washington State
Organizations such as The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The National Criminal Justice Reference Service compile data on domestic violence and its treatment in the legal system. Below are eye-opening domestic violence statistics from Washington State.
Assault is the most common domestic violence charge that is prosecuted. A study of domestic violence cases in California, Oregon, Nebraska and Washington revealed that assault charges account for 59-81% of total prosecuted domestic violence cases.
Domestic violence can lead to loss of life. Since 1997, Washington State has compiled data on homicides and suicides that occur due to domestic violence. Domestic Violence Fatality Reports break down the number of fatalities by county. In 2018, there were 32 homicides as a result of domestic violence in Washington state.
Getting domestic violence cases dismissed is difficult. Due to the incorporation of no-drop policies, prosecutors are pursuing domestic violence cases at higher rates. National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) data displays that dismissal rates decreased by over 50% in Everett, Washington. That is why mounting a solid legal defense against domestic violence charges is pivotal.
Some cases have been incorrectly deemed domestic violence cases. Washington State courts specify that a small number of cases labeled as domestic violence are the result of illness-based violence. While this is rare, it allows the individual who is accused of committing a crime to pursue “appropriate medical or mental health intervention” as part of a means of rehabilitation.
Only prosecutors have the authority to drop charges. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office determines whether charges should be filed. That decision to drop the charges is in the prosecutor’s hands, not the individual who the charges were made on behalf of (the alleged victim). This means that even if the alleged victim wants the case dismissed, the final decision is still up to the prosecutors.
How does Washington State Define Domestic Violence?
Title 10.99.020 of the revised code of Washington makes it clear that a wide range of crimes fall under the umbrella of domestic violence when “committed either by (a) one family or household member against another family or household member, or (b) one intimate partner against another intimate partner.”
Some of the actions that qualify as domestic violence in Washington State include:
- Malicious Mischief
- Violation of the provisions of a restraining order, no-contact order, or protection order
- Criminal trespass
- Reckless endangerment
- Unlawful imprisonment
The list above covers some of the acts that are considered domestic violence under Washington State law. However, they do not fully encompass all the activities that can lead to a domestic violence charge.
The revised code of Washington also defines “interfering with the reporting of domestic violence” in title 9A.36.150. This charge can be brought against someone who has allegedly committed an act of domestic violence and stops (or tries to stop) the alleged victim from contacting authorities, getting medical aid, or filing a report.
How to Battle a Domestic Violence Charge
If you or a family member has been accused of domestic violence, gaining legal assistance from an experienced professional is crucial. The steps you take moving forward can have lasting impacts on your life for years to come.
At Will & Will, we understand the dramatic repercussions that domestic violence charges can bring about both for you and those you love.
No two domestic violence cases are the same. In light of the complex series of laws surrounding domestic violence in Washington State, a skilled attorney is a must. Don’t settle for mediocre legal representation when so much is at stake. Get a custom legal strategy that takes your unique situation into account from the law offices of Will & Will.
Connect with Will & Will at 206-209-5585 or fill out a contact form online.