Justia Lawyer Rating
AV Preeminent
Avvo Client's Choice Award 2018
Avvo Rating 10 - Top Attorney
BBB Business Accredited
2019 Champion of Justice

Domestic Violence Mandatory Arrests

Tacoma Lawyers Advocating for Defendants

It can be terrifying and humiliating to be arrested for the first time. When the police respond to an altercation between a husband and a wife or between other family members in a household, Washington law often requires them to arrest somebody. There are mandatory arrests for domestic violence in Washington when the police arrive within four hours of a 911 call, and there is probable cause to believe that there was domestic violence. To protect your rights in these situations, you should retain the Tacoma domestic violence attorneys at Smith & White.

Mandatory Arrests for Domestic Violence

If the police come to your home after someone has called 911 regarding domestic violence, or if there is probable cause to believe that you have perpetrated domestic violence, the police are required to arrest you under Washington law. Sometimes, but rarely, both of the people involved in the incident are arrested because both are considered aggressors. The police may make an arrest even if there are problems with evidence or because they are concerned about consequences if they do not.

However, this means that some people are arrested for domestic violence who do not deserve the arrest. Sometimes there is probable cause, but a prosecutor still may not be able to establish domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are arrested, it is important to hire a skillful attorney who can raise a reasonable doubt or a substantive defense in defending you.

RCW 10.31.100 requires police officers to arrest without a warrant when they have probable cause to believe that someone has committed a felony. They can usually only arrest someone without a warrant for perpetrating a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor when the offense has been perpetrated in their presence. However, if an officer has probable cause to believe that you have perpetrated a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor that involves physical harm, threats to anyone or any property, marijuana, alcohol consumption by someone under age 21, or a criminal trespass, they are required to arrest you. The officer is also supposed to conduct a mandatory arrest without a warrant when there is a violation of a protection order under certain circumstances.

An arrest is also required if you are 18 or older, and in the last four hours you have assaulted a family or household member as prohibited under RCW 10.99.020, if the officer believes that there was a felonious assault that resulted in a bodily injury to a victim. This is true regardless of whether the officer can observe any sort of injury in situations in which you have taken a physical action intended to cause someone else physical pain, an imminent serious bodily injury, or death. A bodily injury can include a physical impairment, an illness, or physical pain.

Notably, the officer does not need to arrest both people even if they have probable cause to believe that household or family members have assaulted each other. Instead, the officer is supposed to arrest the person whom the officer believes is the primary physical aggressor. To make a determination about who is the primary physical aggressor, the officer is supposed to think about RCW 10.99.010’s intent to protect victims, the extent to which each person inflicted physical injuries on the other person, and any history of domestic violence of each of the people involved in the altercation, including whether the altercation is a segment of one person’s pattern of abuse.

Consult an Experienced Criminal Attorney in Tacoma

Often, the parties to a domestic violence altercation have very different stories about what happened. The person who has more serious injuries is more likely to be believed. Generally, if the police remember other altercations, they may be aware of any pattern of abuse that exists between partners or family or household members. If you have been subject to a mandatory arrest in connection with domestic violence, you should call Smith & White. Based in Tacoma, our attorneys represent people in Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties. Call us at (253) 203-1645 or complete our online form.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
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