Domestic Violence/Protection Orders

The mere allegation of domestic violence can turn your life upside down. You can be denied your freedom. You can be denied access to your home and/or property. You can be denied contact with your children and spouse. When you are accused of a crime of domestic violence, no one seems to care that “There are two sides to every story.” The allegation was made and someone was arrested. And that someone was most likely you.

Before you place yourself into a worse situation, it is important that you immediately receive advice from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. If you are accused of a crime of domestic violence, you should quickly contact the Law Office of Philip E. Thornton. Mr. Thornton will directly respond with advice and suggestions as to how you can prevent these allegations from ruining your life. Contact the Law Office of Philip E. Thornton before you speak with the police to obtain an understanding the consequences and hazards of speaking with the police.

Domestic Violence/Spousal Abuse

In the State of Washington, a domestic violence allegation can be added to any criminal charge, and can lead to additional penalties or consequences for the accused.

The State of Washington has a specific definition of “domestic violence.” The term domestic violence is defined as potentially any crime against any family or household member by another member of the household. The term “household member” is defined by the Revised Code of Washington section 10.99.020, as “spouses, former spouses, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.”

Physical injury does not necessarily have to have occurred to be accused of a crime of domestic violence. Certainly such acts as a punch, a slap or a kick will be considered as domestic violence, but the term also includes such acts as shoving, threatening gestures or verbal threats. The damage or destruction of property, even your jointly owned property, can lead to an allegation of domestic violence. The penalties for a crime of domestic violence are harsh. You may face jail or prison time. If convicted, you will be prevented from owning or possessing, or having under your control any firearms. A conviction can also prevent you from certain areas of employment or be cause to terminate your current employment. A conviction for domestic violence is a basis to prevent or limit your time with your children.

Let me hear your side of the story before you talk with the police. Do you have a self-defense claim? Who contacted police and what was their motive in doing so? Are there other witnesses? What did they saw or hear? Is the alleged victim making it up or exaggerating events? I will work hard to assist you in getting the charges dismissed or reduced. I am an experienced lawyer who has tried numerous domestic violence cases. I have also negotiated hundreds of cases away with reduced pleas and alternative penalties such as a deferred sentence, probation or counseling.

Domestic Violence Penalties

Most domestic abuse charges in the Tacoma and Pierce County areas result in gross misdemeanors charges where the maximum penalties are by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. District courts in Tacoma and municipal courts throughout Pierce County have ordered jail time for even a first time domestic violence convictions. For a Domestic Violence Assault in the Fourth Degree conviction, there is usually a mandatory batterer's treatment requirement. This is a one year program which is paid for by the defendant. The program can cost several thousand dollars.

No Contact Orders, Protective Orders and Restraining Orders

In almost all cases of an allegation of domestic violence, the court or a party will seek to restrain or prevent a party from having any contact with the other party. Often times, the police will advise the alleged victim to obtain a restraining or protective order through the courts. The police will provide the other party with the necessary form to fill out for such protection. The court most often will grant such orders on a temporary basis and will order you to have no contact with your spouse or children. If you are served with such a temporary order, you must adhere to the conditions of the order to avoid the additional criminal charges. You can be charged with the crime for violating the terms of the restraining order — even if your intent in contacting the victim is to apologize.

Any order which is entered will be entered on a temporary basis. You will have the opportunity to present your side of the story at a later hearing. Please contact the Law of Office of Philip E. Thornton prior to submitting anything in writing to the court. Any written or oral statement you make at this hearing can be used against you in any criminal action concerning the domestic violence allegation. I have over 20 years of experience in handling domestic violence allegations in the criminal and family law arenas. I understand the strategies involved in obtaining such orders and I understand the consequences. Put my knowledge to work for you. I will give the court all the necessary information to prevent the order from being entered while at the same time protecting your interest in any criminal case.

I understand what is at stake for you and your family. Allow my knowledge and experience to work in obtaining a just resolution of the case for you. I aggressively will fight for your rights. I have 20 years of experience in domestic violence/criminal cases in following jurisdictions: Pierce County District Court, Tacoma Municipal Court, Puyallup Municipal Court, Fircrest Municipal Court, Fife Municipal Court, Gig Harbor Municipal Court, Lakewood Municipal Court, Thurston County District Court, Olympia Municipal Court, King County District Court, Seattle Municipal Court, Des Moines Municipal Court, Federal Way Municipal Court, Auburn Municipal Court, Kent Municipal Court, Renton Municipal Court. Call me immediately at 253-383-3102 for a free initial consultation.

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