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Reporting domestic violence: Interference is a crime

Most Spokane residents probably have a vague understanding of domestic violence as a crime. Most men and women already know that physically assaulting or abusing their partner is a crime, but there is much more to domestic violence than illegal physical contact. Interfering with the reporting of domestic violence is also considered a crime in the state of Washington.

In order to be charged with interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, there must first be an incidence of domestic violence. Washington defines domestic violence in an extensive number of ways, but an experienced criminal defense attorney can help a defendant understand the criminal charges against them. A person charged with interference must also have prevented, or tried to prevent, the victim or a witness from seeking help. The help can be in the form of dialing 911, going to the police or seeking medical attention.

Washington law defines this type of interference as a gross misdemeanor. The penalties include a fine of up to $5,000 or up to a year in jail. Penalties for other non-felony domestic violence offenses in Washington include jail times and fines; for felonies, the penalties often involve more than a year behind bars if the defendant is convicted.

Those facing accusations of bodily injury or related allegations can turn to a defense attorney for legal representation. There are defenses available for domestic violence charges, and, following an arrest, every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that a crime occurred, but the defense can work just as zealously to uphold their client's rights.

Source: Seattle Municipal Court, "Domestic Violence," accessed May 15, 2015

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