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What a Charge of Interfering of Domestic Violence Reporting Can Mean in Washington

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2016 | Domestic Violence

Have you or someone you care about been accused of domestic violence assault or any crime marked as domestic violence? Then you now know just how scary this can get. Washington takes domestic violence very seriously. You’re understandably concerned about potential jail time, fines, the no contact order, and other possible penalties like mandatory treatment. This is not to mention the negative opinion it may feel like everyone has of you including family and friends. You need to get your story heard, get counseled as to your best course and get your rights defended.

Plus you may be facing another charge that is separate from the original domestic violence assault charge. You may be facing the charge of interfering with reporting of domestic violence. This is charged when it is believed that you committed a domestic violence crime but then prevented or even just attempted to prevent the victim or any other person from reporting the crime. This would include knocking the phone away so that 911 could not be called. This would include trying to stop the victim from talking to the police. This would include refusing somebody getting medical help if it was needed. Basically, if there was a way that it is believed that the alleged victim was trying to report a crime and it is believed that you stopped or tried to stop them you can get charged with interfering with reporting domestic violence.

Interfering with reporting domestic violence is classified as a gross misdemeanor. If convicted you will be facing the potential maximum which is a year (364 days) in jail and a $5000 fine. As one of the elements of this crime is that you committed a domestic violence crime it is likely that you would also be convicted of the original charge. The penalties for this crime would be separate and so in addition to any penalties sentenced for the original crime. Plus both crimes would be designated as domestic violence so you would have two counts of domestic violence on your record. That’s the bad news. You need to know what you’re up against.

Yes the situation is serious but there are options for your defense. Remember that the prosecution has to prove that all the elements of a crime were committed in order to convict. Your defense attorney shows how they didn’t do that. Remember that one of the elements of this crime is that it has to be proven that you committed a domestic violence crime. So the defense of this charge will probably rely a bit on the defense of your original charge.

If the original charge can be dismissed or get a not guilty verdict at trial then this charge disappears – if you didn’t commit domestic violence then you can’t have interfered with reporting domestic violence. So now is the time to consider your situation. Were you having to defend yourself? Was it a false allegation? Can that be shown? Try to remember all details of your situation to share with your Tacoma defense attorney. He will work to do what can be done to get the charge dropped or acquitted.

If that is not a possibility it may perhaps be possible to reduce the original charge to a charge that does not include the domestic violence designation. The same principle would apply – if you didn’t commit a domestic violence crime you can’t have interfered with reporting domestic violence. In that situation, at least this charge would disappear and the original charge would be lessened.

If that also is not a possibility there is another option for the interfering with reporting domestic violence charge. The other element that would need to be proven is that you prevented or attempted to prevent the reporting of domestic violence. Let’s consider some possibilities just based on the above scenarios. Did you knock the phone away or was it an accident resulting from physical actions on both your parts? Was something you said while the police talking to the alleged victim misunderstood? Did you refuse medical aid or were you simply unaware it was needed? So there are options for you.

We will get you your best possible result.

Smith and White, PLLC may be willing to assist with your situation.  Contact them today for an expert consultation.