Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Violence in Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville and the rest of Snohomish and Skagit Counties, Washington

Can I vacate a domestic violence charge?
Yes, if you meet certain requirements. Visit our vacation of misdemeanors webpage for more information, but generally, you must wait until five years after your conviction (and probationary period) before the case can be vacated. This by itself does not restore gun rights, which have to be restored by a Superior Court.
What is Domestic Violence?
Generally, a domestic violence crime is a crime that involves either a) physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear or imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or b) sexual assault, or c) stalking, by one family or household member against another. Visit our Domestic Violence webpage for more comprehensive information.
But I’m not dating the alleged victim/living with the alleged victim any more?
It doesn’t matter. Washington law is quite expansive for domestic violence crimes. If you ever lived together, had a dating relationship (both 16 years old and over), are blood relatives, or are related via adoption (in some cases), the domestic violence label may be applied.
What are possible penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions?
Court ordered treatment and classes
Victims impact panel
Domestic Violence assessment and treatment (usually lasting a year)
Loss of firearm rights until restored by a Superior Court after period of several years
Likely No-contact order issued by the criminal court (subjecting person to possible criminal charges)
Impact on Parenting plan and Divorce Proceedings
Inability to retain and/or be hired for security jobs (example: certain Boeing jobs)
May be denied entry into Canada
Possible deportation, particularly if the allegation involves physical assault
In addition, a criminal conviction usually delays the naturalization process
What if the alleged victim wants to drop the case?
In Washington, particularly in Everett, Washington and the rest of Snohomish County, it rarely matters. The charging decision is the prosecutor’s, not the alleged victim. The Prosecutor is supposed to take the alleged victim’s wishes into account in charging a case (and proceeding), but this is rarely done.
How do I get a Pre-trial no-contact order dropped?
This really depends on the court. In some courts, the victim simply asking for it is enough; in others, the defendant may have to take classes (even without being convicted) for the order to be dropped. In other courts, even that is not enough; you may need to beat the case at trial (or have it reduced or dismissed) to remove the No Contact Order (NCO). A skilled, knowledgeable attorney can help you with this. Visit our No Contact Order page for more information.
What if the alleged victim attempts to contact me?
Do not respond; no not even tell the person not to contact you anymore. We once represented a person whose ex-girlfriend kept texting him, many times a day; defendant allegedly responded “quit texting me.” And the ex took the text to the police. We eventually got the case dismissed, but it is still a hassle. And unfortunately, most courts in Snohomish County, particularly in Everett, Washington, will not grant a reciprocal no-contact order in these situations.
How long until my domestic violence case is over?
The answer depends. Sometimes, a great result can be achieved quickly; other times, it may take 6 months, maybe a year to get the desired result. Generally, a case will take 3-6 months, but there is no set rule or guideline. Many clients want their case resolved as soon as possible, but we recommend not settling for a sub-par result just to have the case finished.
What if I have no prior Domestic Violence history?
This does matter, and will be helpful in negotiating a resolution to your case, but again, your case and results are highly fact-specific, even with an experienced attorney who has handled hundreds of DV cases in Everett, Lynnwood, Marysville and the rest of the area.
My stuff is at the house/apartment, but there is an order preventing me from getting my stuff. How do I get it?
You should consult an attorney before having a friend or relative go pick up your stuff, as most no-contact orders prevent communicating with the protected party (or visiting the residence) by and through a third party. Generally, the court that imposes the no-contact order will allow you an opportunity to get your belongings with the supervision of a law enforcement officer; this is known as a civil standby. Unfortunately, the law enforcement officer only allows 15-20 minutes.
Ashbach Law Offices, LLC has extensive history successfully representing clients charged with Domestic Violence offenses in Arlington, Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe or anywhere else in Snohomish County (and Skagit), Washington. If you are in need of information regarding a domestic violence charge (or are an alleged victim), call (360) 659-4950 for a free, no-pressure consultation.