What to Do If You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence?
The effects of domestic violence can be far reaching, affecting not only the individuals that have been victimized, but those around them as well. The consequences of domestic violence depend on the specific acts committed and whether or not they constitute misdemeanors or felonies. There are various classifications of both misdemeanors and felonies, and you’ll want to discuss these with your Seattle domestic violence attorney prior to your free consultation. Your Seattle criminal defense lawyer will tell you how the laws apply in your specific state and recommend the best course of action when it comes to combating domestic violence charges brought against you.
Even if your state does not require a showing of actual malice or punitive damages in order to successfully defend against a domestic violence charge, most states still require some type of prove of actual negligence or damage. In many cases, this evidence is turned over to the prosecuting attorney, who has the burden of proving “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant knew of the alleged incident beyond a reasonable doubt. This subjective element is extremely important, as it helps to ensure that the accused does not get a pass with a defense based on ignorance. Having an experienced Seattle domestic violence attorney on your side can significantly increase your chances of avoiding jail time and getting a fair trial.
There are three different types of criminal charges faced by those accused of domestic violence, as listed above. Those types are misdemeanor charges, felony charges, and grand theft charges. Each of these carries different penalties and jail time requirements. For example, in Washington state, simply punching a person can result in a misdemeanor charge, while knowingly causing death or physical harm to a person can result in a felony charge. Even those accused of misdemeanors can still face jail time if they are found guilty.
To fight for justice, many victims turn to hiring a Seattle criminal defense attorney, particularly if they believe they may be the victim of a crime such as assault, burglary, abuse, child abuse, sex crimes, or domestic violence. The first step a Seattle domestic violence attorney will take is making contact with law enforcement authorities. This means speaking with the local police, prosecutor’s office, or any other agency responsible for taking action in the area. The goal is to gather as much information as possible to present in your defense. Your attorney will also make contact with any witnesses to help build your case.
A Seattle criminal defense attorney will also make contact with the alleged victim, in order to gather additional information that will be used in court. Your attorney will seek to verify whether the victim actually saw the attack occur, what details the victim can remember about the event, and what type of injuries the victim endured. The entire interaction between the victim and law enforcement will be recorded to aid the defense in building its case against the defendant.
In cases where the alleged perpetrator is in Washington state, contacting the victim’s home or place of employment can also prove to be invaluable to your defense. In instances where the alleged abuser is a Seattle resident, you will want to find out exactly where he or she works or goes to school. This is not only important for the sake of safety, but also to provide information to help build your case. Your domestic violence attorney will do all he or she can to get information from the alleged victim or other witnesses to use as part of your defense.