Compassionate Counsel Passionate Defense

group photo of attorneys and staff
Group photo of staff at Law Offices Of Smith & White PLLC
  1. Home
  2.  – 
  3. Criminal Defense
  4.  – Sufficient Complaint of No Contact Order Violation Even if Victim Not Named

Sufficient Complaint of No Contact Order Violation Even if Victim Not Named

by | Jun 26, 2024 | Criminal Defense, Domestic Violence

The Washington court will issue no contact orders when they determine that doing so is necessary to protect a person from further harm at the hands of their assailant. As such, if a person violates a no-contact order, they may be charged with one or more crimes. If the no-contact order is deemed constitutionally insufficient, though, the prosecution may have inadequate grounds for obtaining a conviction. In a recent Washington ruling, the court discussed the sufficiency of no-contact orders, clarifying that the name of the protected person is not a required element. If you are charged with a domestic violence offense, it is smart to consult a Tacoma domestic violence defense lawyer regarding your rights.

History of the Case

It is alleged that in 2021, a court issued a no-contact order against the defendant, prohibiting him from contacting his estranged wife, the victim. This order was a result of the defendant’s attempt to break into the victim’s home while she and their children were present. During this incident, the defendant broke through a door and attempted to break into a room, threatening to kill the victim. Despite the no-contact order, the defendant allegedly made nine attempts to contact the victim, either in person or by phone, and on one occasion, he broke into her home again.

Reportedly, the State charged the defendant with multiple offenses, including one count of harassment, seven counts of violating a no-contact order, and three counts of residential burglary, all with intimate partner allegations. The defendant did not contest the charging information. The case went to trial, and the jury convicted the defendant on all charges except for two counts and sentenced him to over 60 months in prison. The defendant then challenged the judgment and sentence.

Sufficiency of No Contact Orders

The court reviewed the defendant’s claims, beginning with his argument that the amended information was constitutionally deficient because it did not name the person protected by the no-contact order. The court disagreed, holding that the information was sufficient as it included all essential elements of the offense: willful contact, a valid no-contact order, and the defendant’s awareness of the order. The court noted that the name of the protected person was not a required element.

Next, the court addressed the defendant’s contention that the trial court erred in calculating his offender score by including his misdemeanor convictions for harassment and no contact order violations. The court explained that under state law, prior convictions for repetitive domestic violence offenses count toward the offender score for a current felony domestic violence offense. The defendant’s residential burglary conviction, being a felony domestic violence offense, allowed the inclusion of his misdemeanor convictions in his offender score. As such, the court affirmed the trial court’s calculation of the offender score.

Finally, the court reviewed the defendant’s pro se statement of additional grounds for review, which included numerous contentions about trial delays and counsel’s performance. The court found these issues insufficiently analyzed to merit consideration and noted that resolving poorly argued issues on direct review could preclude further review in a personal restraint petition. Consequently, the court declined to address these additional grounds.

Confer with a Trusted Tacoma Attorney

Convictions for domestic violence crimes, including violating no-contact orders, can result in significant penalties. If you are accused of committing a crime of domestic violence, it is advisable to confer with an attorney as soon as possible. The trusted Tacoma domestic violence defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Smith & White can craft compelling arguments in your favor to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining a favorable outcome. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 253-203-1645 to set up a conference.