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Washington Court Discusses Proof of a Violation of a No-Contact Order

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2021 | Domestic Violence

People who are found guilty of committing acts of domestic violence may be subject to no-contact orders, which generally prohibit them from speaking to or otherwise contacting their victims. A person that disregards a no-contact order may face felony charges. The State must prove that an individual charged with felony violation of a domestic violence no-contact order was both aware of the order and willfully violated its terms in order to obtain a conviction, as discussed in a recent Washington ruling. If you are charged with a crime of domestic violence, it is prudent to speak to a Washington domestic violence defense attorney regarding your rights.

Charges Against the Defendant

It is reported that the defendant and the victim had an on-again-off-again romantic relationship since 2009. At some point, a domestic violence no-contact order was issued barring the defendant from contacting the victim. In March 2015, the defendant was found guilty of violating the order, and the court entered a second order that prohibited him from contacting the victim for five years.

Allegedly, in November 2018, the defendant asked the victim to meet him. They were subsequently caught by the police in a car parked behind a store. The woman initially provided the police with a fake name but eventually revealed her identity. The defendant gave the police his proper name. He was subsequently charged with and convicted of a felony violation of a domestic violence no-contact order. He appealed, arguing the State had insufficient evidence that he was aware of the order.

Proving an Intentional Violation of a Domestic Violence No-Contact Order

On appeal, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction. The court explained that evidence will be deemed sufficient to support a verdict if a rational factfinder could find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the elements of the crime were present when viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution.

In assessing the adequacy of evidence, a court will assume the evidence offered by the State to be true and draw all reasonable inferences from that evidence. Direct and circumstantial evidence is granted equal weight, and the appellate court will defer to the factfinder’s resolution of conflicting testimony.

In Washington, a person will be deemed to act knowingly if the person is aware of facts, results, or circumstances. The court explained that a jury is permitted to find that a person acted knowingly if the person has information that would lead a reasonable person in the same situation to believe certain facts exist. In the subject case, the court found that there was ample evidence demonstrating that the defendant was aware of the March 2015 no-contact order. Thus, the verdict was affirmed.

Speak to a Capable Criminal Defense Attorney in Washington

The courts regard domestic violence no-contact orders seriously, and people accused of violating them may face significant penalties. If you are charged with a violation of a domestic violence no-contact order, it is in your best interest to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The capable criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Smith & White are well-versed in what it takes to achieve favorable results, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or at 253-363-8662 to schedule a conference.