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Coercion and Domestic Violence

Criminal Defense Attorneys Representing People in Tacoma and Beyond

It is not uncommon for arguments between estranged family members or romantic partners to become heated. During contentious arguments, a person may feel threatened or unduly pressured into doing something that he or she does not want to do or to abstain from taking an action that he or she intended to take. In such cases, the person allegedly making the threats may be charged with coercion. Coercion involves using force to cause a person to either take an action or refrain from acting, and it is a serious crime with significant penalties. If you are currently charged with the crime of domestic violence coercion, it is critical to engage a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you develop a strong defense. At the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC, our Tacoma domestic violence lawyers will work tirelessly to assist you in fighting to retain your rights. We represent individuals charged with domestic violence coercion in Tacoma and other cities in Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties.

Domestic Violence Coercion

Pursuant to RCW 26.50.010, three types of behavior constitute domestic violence. First, if a person assaults, physically harms, or causes bodily injury to a member of his or her family or household, or places a family or household member in fear of an assault or harm, it is considered domestic violence. Sexual assault and stalking are also deemed domestic violence when they are committed by one family or household member against another. A family or household member may be a current or former spouse, a co-parent, someone related by either blood or marriage, or someone in a romantic relationship.

In addition to the behaviors mentioned above, RCW 10.99.020 defines numerous crimes, including coercion, as acts of domestic violence if they are committed against a family or household member. Under RCW 9A.36.070, a person commits coercion by using threats to compel the alleged victim to do something that the victim is not legally required to do, or to refrain from actions that he or she is legally permitted to take. Threats in the context of coercion can mean communicating or implying an intent to use force against the person to cause harm or property damage. A threat can also mean expressing an intent to expose a secret or bring criminal charges against a person, or to take any other act with the intent to harm a person. As it pertains to domestic violence, coercion charges often result after a verbal argument in which one person angrily threatens to take legal action, or implies that he or she will harm another person.

If you face a charge of domestic violence coercion, a seasoned criminal defense attorney can help you understand your charge and formulate a defense to help you avoid a conviction. In Washington, coercion is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Additionally, people convicted of domestic violence crimes in Washington face a $100 penalty.

Domestic Violence Coercion Defenses

Coercion does not require any proof of physical harm. Instead, coercion is a crime that is based largely on the implications of communications between family or household members. Often, when a person is charged with coercion, the State's case is based solely on circumstantial evidence. Thus, in many cases, a defendant can argue that the State cannot prove that any threats were made, and therefore, the State lacks sufficient grounds to obtain a conviction. You may also be able to argue that the allegations are false, and no coercion occurred. A proficient criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case to determine which defenses are available.

Consult a Seasoned Tacoma Attorney to Discuss Your Case

If you are charged with domestic violence coercion, it is vital to consult an attorney to discuss your case and the defenses that you can employ to help you retain your rights. The skilled domestic violence defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC can provide you with an aggressive defense. Our primary office is in Tacoma, and we are available by appointment at our second office in Vashon. You can contact us through our online form or at 253-203-1645 to schedule a confidential and free meeting to discuss your case.

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I was represented by James White and have been nothing but satisfied with the outcome. Jame is very efficient and eliminates much of the stress that the judicial system can place on an offender. I am very grateful to have such a great attorney and owe him my gratitude for helping me when times were rough. Not only is he professional, but he is also someone you can talk to on a personal level. I highly recommend James White and would undoubtedly use him again in the future. If you are in search of an attorney, do yourself a favor and have the law offices of Smith & White represent you. Mike D.
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I contacted James after my charge for reckless endangerment, and right from the start he was informative and reassuring. James worked hard to get me the best possible outcome, and was always very quick to return a call or text. He was straightforward and honest with me about my case, explaining both the good and the bad in a way that was reassuring without being misleading. Overall, I highly recommend Smith and White to anyone who is looking for the most professional representation in their legal matters. Matthew B.
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Attorney James White was a beacon of hope for me at a time when my options appeared limited and the likeness of a satisfactory resolution seemed close to nothing. Not only was he able to defend me in a specific sticky situation in which I hired him for, I felt as though he also went above and beyond in efforts to provide me with the best outcome possible. His calm and professional demeanor offered such a great assurance to myself and those I care about around me. I am completely grateful for his service and I most definitely recommend Mr. White. Leyasha J.
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Mr. Smith was wonderful to work with. He was professional, knowledgeable and effective!! He takes the time to listen, which is amazing and can be a hard quality to find! He is informative and straight forward, which I truly appreciate! He was quite helpful on another matter that I asked his advise on. Thank you!!! Melika