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Domestic Violence Involving Alcohol or Drug Use

Tacoma Attorneys Dedicated to Representing Criminal Defendants

Domestic violence occurs when there is a pattern of abusive conduct by an intimate partner or family member that is used to gain or keep control and power over another person within an intimate relationship or family. Abuse may take an emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, or financial form. Often, domestic violence involving alcohol or drug use escalates into particularly dangerous situations. When somebody is under the influence, that person is more likely to lose control of the inhibitions that ordinarily restrain them, and the abusive behavior may be more serious. If you are charged with domestic violence, you should contact the Tacoma domestic violence lawyers at Smith & White to understand your options and craft a strategy for your defense.

Domestic Violence Involving Alcohol or Drug Use

Under Washington law, you can be charged with a domestic violence offense if you perpetrate a crime against a family or household member. Family or household members include people who are currently or previously have been married or living together, people currently or previously in a dating relationship, people who have a child together, and people with a parent-child relationship.

Crimes that may be charged as domestic violence, depending on the relationship of the perpetrator and the victim, include assault, aggravated assault, harassment, violations of protection orders, and malicious mischief. The precise circumstances will determine whether the charge is pursued as a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony domestic violence carries much harsher penalties, including a period of incarceration and hefty fines. Moreover, if you have a prior criminal offense on your record, you may face more serious penalties. Mandatory Arrest

If the police respond to an incident of domestic violence and have probable cause to believe that a domestic violence assault or another serious domestic violence incident has taken place within the last four hours, they are supposed to make a mandatory arrest. If one of the two parties to the domestic violence incident is drunk or high, they may make self-incriminating statements at the scene, giving the police officer probable cause to make a mandatory domestic violence arrest. If the officer thinks that the family and household members in question assaulted each other, the officer is supposed to arrest the person believed to be the main aggressor. A mandatory arrest is also required when someone violates a no contact or civil protection order, and these types of violations also may be results of alcohol or drug use.

Domestic Violence Probation

When drugs or alcohol are involved in a domestic violence case, you may be required to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation before a sentence is imposed. Sometimes our attorneys encourage clients to get this evaluation on their own to show the judge that they have taken proper steps to avoid future incidents. When treatment is recommended by the evaluator, it is wise to complete it in order to show the court your level of seriousness and to allow the court to feel comfortable in giving you more lenient probation monitoring.

If you are found guilty or plead guilty, you will probably be put on supervised probation for two years. You also will be ordered to go through a domestic violence treatment program, and your compliance will be monitored by probation officers. Often, in cases of domestic violence involving alcohol or drug use, the defendant also must undergo alcohol or chemical dependency counseling as part of the sentence. Sometimes, battering treatment programs will not accept people who are currently abusing drugs or alcohol, which provides a further incentive to get help for the alcohol or drug abuse problem.

You will be monitored throughout your probation and will need to report each month until you have established compliance with treatment. If you fail to attend drug or alcohol abuse counseling and comply with other conditions of probation, your probation may be revoked.

Hire an Experienced Tacoma Attorney to Protect Your Future

If you are charged with domestic violence in Washington, you should consult a criminal defense attorney at Smith & White. Based in the Tacoma area, we represent clients throughout Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties. Call us at (253) 203-1645 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
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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.
★★★★★
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.
★★★★★
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.
★★★★★
Derek Smith guided us through a troubling legal situation with absolute professionalism. This was my first experience with a trial situation and Mr. Smith was able to address all of my questions and concerns in a way that helped address some of the fear I had regarding the legal system. Mr. Smith was highly effective during the trial and the result ended up in our favor. Legal troubles are scary and it was great knowing we had a fantastic legal team on our side to help navigate the somewhat confusing situation. My wife and I emphatically recommend this law firm. Steve B.
★★★★★
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