Washington Domestic Violence Attorney

What a Domestic Violence Arrest Means

There is nothing routine about any domestic violence incident.

Accusations of Domestic Violence are staggering, arrests are potentially life altering.

If you're involved in a domestic violence incident and are arrested there's only one thing to do – call a lawyer.

Don't wait. Don't think for a moment that ‘things will work out’ once ‘calmer heads prevail.’ They won't. You must contact a lawyer and it must be as early as possible.

Here’s what you don't do: talk about it. Don’t talk to the police, your partner, your friends, your relatives, social media.

Experienced Kirkland Reckless Driving Lawyer Serving King and Snohomish Counties: (425) 300-5566

Why was I arrested when I wasn’t the aggressor?


Don't try ‘to work it out.’ Don’t try to reason with the police. Don’t try to get your ‘story out there so people know what really happened.’

The only thing you'll do is make everything worse. Probably much worse.
Call the Knauss Law Firm, now.


My partner doesn’t want to press charges but the prosecutor won’t drop the case. Is that legal?

In Washington, a verbal and/or physical confrontation with a family member, a current or past ‘romantic’ partner, the mother or father of your child, or even a roommate can result in a domestic violence arrest.

A domestic violence charge takes a threatening or assault charge and stigmatizes it further. The charge will be treated differently, you'll be treated differently.

It will seem like you've already been found guilty and have to prove your innocence. You wouldn't be wrong – the courts will always err on the side of caution. Always. The media's full of stories of domestic violence cases that weren't taken seriously at the outset and ended up with a murder.

That’s not fair, it almost surely does not apply to you, but the court has no way to know that – you will not be treated gently.


Bail will almost always be set, even when there is no criminal history. Before release, the judge will probably order you to surrender any firearms you may have.

The judge may also issue a No Contact Order as a condition of bail. This will prevent you from seeing your partner and children or even entering your home until the matter is settled.

A violation of that no contact order will result in added charges.
During this phase of the case the only person that wants to hear your side of things is your lawyer.

Two Things to Keep in Mind After a Domestic Violence Arrest

Understand that after you're arrested, the alleged victim may have little to no influence in trying to have the ‘charges dropped.’

Prosecutors are more than a little skeptical when an alleged victim tries to walk back their original statement. They will question their motivations.

An alleged victim who no longer wants a case to go forward and refuses to testify may be ignored. Once an arrest is made, the State of Washington, not the alleged victim, is the plaintiff in the criminal case. The prosecution can move ahead with charges despite the wishes of the alleged victim.

Another reason to only talk to your attorney about any aspect of the arrest and charges.

Learn Your Rights

What’s at Stake in a Domestic Violence Case

Most domestic abuse charges are gross misdemeanors. Even though this is the least serious domestic abuse charge, the legal consequences are severe:
  • Up to a year of jail time
  • A $5,000 fine
  • Up to 5 years of active probation.
  • A 1-year mandatory ‘batterer’s treatment’ program
A felony domestic abuse conviction will result in:
  • Up to 10 years in prison
  • A $20,000 fine
  • A significant probationary period post-release

These are the criminal consequences of domestic abuse convictions. There are a wide range of possible fines, jail time, and probation.

What all domestic abuse convictions, regardless of severity, share is what they do to your life long after you serve your sentence:
  • Mandatory loss of gun rights
  • Mandatory DNA sample for Federal Database
  • Denial of employment or promotion
  • Loss of licenses, certifications, security clearances
  • Eviction or denial of housing
  • Travel restrictions
  • Expulsion, loss of scholarship, loss of campus housing
  • No contact orders

What to Do After a Domestic Violence Arrest

Call Knauss Law as soon as possible, from the police station if possible. Until you speak to us, do not talk to anyone else. Anything you day or do can only hurt you and any possible defenses you may have.

We cannot stress this enough – when someone is arrested for domestic violence the first - perfectly natural – instinct is to let the world know ‘it wasn’t you.’ We get it. It’s unfair, it’s embarrassing, it’s stressful, it feels like a betrayal. Expressing any of that to anyone other than your attorney will only hurt you and your case.

Instead, tell us. We have a long history of successfully defending domestic violence complaints. We will listen, we will vigorously see that your rights are respected and enforced.
Contact us. We will fight for you; we will work with you to get your life back.