False Reporting of Domestic Violence
While domestic violence allegations should be taken seriously, it is an unfortunate reality that in some cases, domestic violence allegations are falsely made to cause legal problems for the alleged offender. If you are charged with a crime based on false reporting of domestic violence, you should consult an experienced Tacoma domestic violence attorney as soon as possible to discuss strategies for avoiding an unjust conviction. At the Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC, our skillful domestic violence defense attorneys will analyze the circumstances surrounding your arrest and develop compelling arguments in your defense to help you protect your rights. We regularly defend people who are falsely accused of domestic violence in Tacoma and other cities throughout Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Thurston Counties.Domestic Violence Under Washington Law
Domestic violence is specifically defined by Washington law RCW 26.50.10 as a sexual assault, stalking, or physical harm, injury, or assault of one member of a family or household by another member. Placing a family or household member in imminent fear of an assault, injury, or physical harm is considered domestic violence as well. Additionally, RCW 10.99.020 specifically lists several crimes that constitute domestic violence when they are committed by one family or household member against another member. The crimes listed include assault, burglary, trespass, mischief, kidnapping, and stalking. The list is not exhaustive, and other crimes may be considered domestic violence as well.
Domestic violence charges range from gross misdemeanors, which can be punished by up to 364 days’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000, to class A felonies, which are punishable by a sentence of up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000. Thus, a domestic violence charge is a serious allegation, and a conviction of a domestic violence crime can have devastating consequences. Even if the allegations against you are false, it is important to abide by any no-contact order issued following the report of domestic violence, since a violation of the order can be used against you as evidence, and it can help the accuser substantiate his or her claim.Defending Against False Reporting of Domestic Violence
It is important to try to identify the motivation behind the accuser's false report. In some cases, the accuser is merely seeking vengeance for a perceived slight, while sometimes the accuser may be trying to gain leverage in a custody or divorce proceeding. Identifying the accuser’s motivation can make it easier to prove that his or her domestic violence allegations are false.
While false reports of domestic violence are not limited to any specific crimes, they more commonly occur in crimes that do not require direct evidence for a conviction. While the State can rely on circumstantial evidence in criminal cases, it nonetheless must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime alleged. Thus, if your attorney can show that there is no direct or circumstantial evidence that you committed the crime alleged, you may be able to prove that the accuser falsely reported a domestic violence crime.
Evidence that helps prove false reporting of domestic violence includes documentation of any communications with the accuser before the accusation. If the accuser has a history of making false reports, this can be advantageous to your defense as well. You should also identify any witnesses to your interaction with the accuser who can testify on your behalf. If you are falsely accused of a domestic violence crime, it is essential to retain an assertive criminal defense attorney to set forth persuasive arguments on your behalf to help you avoid a conviction.Retain a Capable Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in the Tacoma Area
Allegations of domestic violence should not be made or taken lightly, but sadly, people may falsely report domestic violence crimes to cause legal difficulties for the accused person and impair their rights. At the Law Offices of Smith & White, our seasoned defense attorneys can work diligently to help you prove that the charges against you are unfounded. We have an office in Tacoma, and we are available to meet by appointment at our satellite office in Vashon. You can reach us at 253-203-1645 or through our online form to set up a consultation to discuss your case.