At Smith & White, PLLC we are fully vaccinated against COVID for your safety and convenience. Zoom and Webex meetings remain available.

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

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

Criminal Lawyers Based in the Tacoma Area

In Washington, domestic violence can be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor. Felonies are usually filed in superior court, and misdemeanors are usually filed in district or municipal court. While misdemeanor domestic violence is less serious than felony domestic violence in Washington, it can still have significant consequences, and it is important to secure a knowledgeable attorney for this charge. At Smith & White, our Tacoma domestic violence attorneys may be able to represent you if you are charged with misdemeanor domestic violence.

Types of Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

Domestic violence occurs when a crime is perpetrated by someone against his or her family or household member. Family or household members include spouses, domestic partners, former spouses, former domestic partners, people with a child in common even if they are not currently married or have not been married or never lived together at any point, people who are at least 16 who are presently living together or who have lived together in the past, or people who are at least 16 and have had a dating relationship.

Misdemeanor domestic violence can include simple assault domestic violence, assault in the fourth degree domestic violence, interfering with reporting a crime of domestic violence, violations of a no contact order, third-degree domestic violence malicious mischief, and harassment. If you are convicted of these misdemeanors, you can be penalized with up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

You can be found guilty of assault in the fourth degree when, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the third, second, or first degree or custodial assault, you assault another person. This is charged as a gross misdemeanor. However, assault in the fourth degree can instead be charged as a class C felony if you have two or more prior adult convictions within the last 10 years for certain offenses if it is domestic violence as defined under RCW 9.94A.030, if the domestic violence is repetitive, and under other circumstances.

Steps After an Arrest for Misdemeanor Domestic Violence

After you have been arrested for domestic violence, the court can schedule an arraignment. At the arraignment, you will be required to plead guilty or not guilty. It is best to have legal representation from an experienced attorney for the arraignment. Your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea agreement for you. The judge will determine any conditions of release at the arraignment. The court may also issue a no-contact order to protect the alleged victim, and it is critical that you abide by that order, even if you are charged with misdemeanor domestic violence. The victim cannot voluntarily reverse the no-contact order, and if you violate a protection order, even on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, you can be charged with another domestic violence offense.


When drugs or alcohol is involved in a misdemeanor domestic violence episode, you may be required to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation. It can be wise to obtain one of these on your own, but it is important to consult an attorney about whether this is the appropriate step in your circumstances. Sometimes courts are willing to convert jail time and fines to community service at a nonprofit organization within the state. The court will require proof that the community service hours were completed. In addition to jail time and fines, you may need to go to a domestic violence batterer’s treatment program, which is a 12-month program governed by state guidelines. Get Assistance from a Knowledgeable Tacoma Lawyer

If you are charged with misdemeanor domestic violence in Washington, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to help explore your options and protect your rights. While you may not feel that a misdemeanor is a substantial charge, it can have significant consequences. Smith & White represents people in Tacoma and elsewhere 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