Domestic Violence No Contact Orders

On April 26th, 2018, The Washington State Supreme Court paved the way for how judges can impose domestic violence no contact orders.

They decided in State v. Granath that “Under RCW 10.99.050, a court of limited jurisdiction lacks authority to issue a domestic violence no contact under that exceeds the length of the underlying sentence, which can be up to 5 years.”

What does this even mean?

Let’s start with the different types of no contact orders in King / Pierce County that the court can impose.

First, a judge presiding over a criminal case can impose a pretrial domestic violence no contact order. In misdemeanor cases, judges often impose a pretrial domestic violence no contact order when a defendant has been accused of an assault domestic violence charge, harassment domestic violence charge, or malicious mischief third degree domestic violence charge. This order will prohibit the defendant from having contact with a victim, and the order could last for up to five years. If the defendant violates this order, then he or she can be criminally charged with violating a no contact order.

A judge presiding over a criminal case can impose a post-conviction domestic violence no contact order when a defendant has been convicted of a domestic violence offense as a result of a guilty plea or guilty verdict at trial. If the defendant violates this order, then he or she can be criminally charged with violating a no contact order.

This is where that Supreme Court decision comes in. When a person is convicted of a domestic violence crime, the court can place he or she on probation for up to five years and impose a no contact order for that length of time as well. However, if the court decided to only place them on probation for two years, the length of the time that the not contact order could remain in place could only be two years also. Before, a no contact order could remain in place for a longer period of time than the defendant’s probation.

A pretrial and post-conviction domestic violence no contact order should not be confused with a civil protection order. The two types of civil protection orders that one could seek in Pierce County are: a harassment order or stalking protection order. The judge, who issues these orders, does not do so as a result of someone being charged with a crime. Instead, if a person felt that they were being harassed or stalked, they could fill out a form and submit it to the district or superior court to have the judge review it. There would then be a hearing to determine if the judge finds reason to impose either type of order. If a judge does impose either type of order, someone can be criminally charged for violating this type of order.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a violation of a no contact order in Tacoma, Lakewood, or anywhere in Western Washington, please contact Horwath Law right away.

Misconceptions About Assault And Domestic Violence

Lakewood, Tacoma, WA Assault Charges

On May 9th, 2018, a Lakewood man was charged with second degree assault for allegedly causing his 3 month old girl to have brain hemorrhages and several broken bones.

When you read that news headline, I’m sure many of you wondered what a second degree assault actually means and thought that there is only one universal assault charge. This is a misconception. There are actually many categories of assaults that range in their penalties.

There are 4 main types of assault charges:

1. Assault 1 is Class A Felony.

A person is guilty of assault 1 when with intent to inflict great bodily harm he or she: (a) Assaults another with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death; or (b) Administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, poison, HIV virus, or any other destructive or noxious substance; or (c) Assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm.
*For more information on what is classified as assault 1 search RCW 9A.36.011.

2. Assault 2 is typically a Class B Felony.

A person is guilty of assault 2 when he or she: Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm; or (b) Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or (c) Assaults another with a deadly weapon; or (d) With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or (e) With intent to commit a felony, assaults another; or (f) Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture; or (g) Assaults another by strangulation or suffocation.
*For more information on what is classified as Assault 2 search RCW 9a.36.021.

3. Assault 3 is a Class C Felony.

A person is guilty of Assault 3 in many of the following circumstances: assaulting a bus driver, transit operator, nurse, law enforcement officer, assaulting someone in a courtroom, etc.
*For more information on what is classified as Assault 3 search RCW 9a.36.031

4. Assault 4 is a Gross Misdemeanor

To convict the defendant of the crime of assault in the fourth degree, each of the following elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) That on or about(date), the defendant assaulted(name of person), and
(2) That this act occurred in the [State of Washington] [City of ] [County of ].

*For more information on what is classified as assault 4 search WPIC 35.50.

Domestic violence:

Often times assault charges are accompanied by domestic violence tags. The term “domestic violence” does not necessarily mean that you were “domestically violent.” The term domestic violence is attached to a charge when the charge involves: a family or household member, spouse, registered domestic partner, roommates, people in a dating relationship, and the list goes on.
*For more information on what is classified as domestic violence search WPIC 2.27.

Felony versus Gross Misdemeanor

Felonies carry prison time, meaning a year or more in jail whereas Gross Misdemeanors carry a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.

So the next time that you hear the word “Assault” in the news, you’ll know that not all assaults are treated equal in the eyes of the law.

If you or someone you know has been charged with Assault in Tacoma, Lakewood, or anywhere in Western Washington, please contact Horwath Law right away.