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Evidence of Violations of a No-Contact Order Under Washington Law

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2020 | Domestic Violence

In many cases in which a person is convicted of a domestic violence crime, the court will issue a no-contact order, prohibiting the person from contacting his or her victim. The failure to comply with a no-contact order constitutes a crime. Additionally, a person that repeatedly violates no-contact orders could face felony charges. Recently, a Washington court set forth a ruling in which it discussed what constitutes adequate evidence of repeated violations of no contact orders, in a case in which the defendant appealed his felony conviction. If you are charged with a crime of domestic violence, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Washington domestic violence defense attorney to assess your rights.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that a no-contact order was in place that prohibited the defendant from contacting or being within 500 feet of his parents. The defendant’s father called the police to report that the defendant was in his shed. When the police arrived, they affirmed that the no-contact order was in place and found the defendant in the shed as his father described. He was arrested and charged with violating the no-contact order. As it was the defendant’s third violation of a no-contact order, it was charged as a felony. The defendant was convicted, after which he appealed, arguing the State failed to produce sufficient evidence of prior violations. On appeal, the court affirmed his conviction.

Evidence of Violations of a No-Contact Order

In order to prove that the defendant’s violation of the no-contact order constituted a felony, the State was required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed violations of no-contact orders on two prior occasions. To determine whether evidence is sufficient, an appellate court must examine whether a rational factfinder would determine that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt when viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the State.

In other words, all reasonable inferences from the evidence have to be interpreted in favor of the State and construed against the defendant. Thus, if a defendant argues that the State’s evidence is insufficient, it constitutes an admission of the truth of the State’s evidence and the inferences that can reasonably be extracted from them. In the subject case, the court found that the evidence presented by the State sufficiently proved that the defendant committed prior violations. Specifically, the State introduced the charging document and court orders in his prior matters, which confirmed his name, residence, and prior convictions, and included the defendant’s signature. Thus, the court affirmed his conviction.

Speak to an Experienced Washington Criminal Defense Attorney

A violation of a domestic violence no-contact order can have serious consequences, including felony convictions in some cases. If you are accused of a domestic violence crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer regarding your rights. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Smith & White can apprise you of your options for fighting to protect your interests. You can contact us at 253-363-8662 or via the form online to schedule a meeting.