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Domestic violence and Washington State's official response

Domestic violence may be considered the basest form of a violent crime. Because of its nature, it may take some time before a victim is aware that the person is in a domestic violence situation. Typically, domestic abuse begins with a heated argument. The situation may turn into a domestic dispute, as one person gradually becomes more violent. Such abuse may come in various forms. However, there are instances in which a simple fight is misinterpreted as abuse.

To help many Washington State residents recognize domestic violence, the state has enforced certain laws that address domestic problems. Under Washington State law, domestic violence is not just a family issue but it is also a crime that endangers the lives of many people. It may be associated with crimes such as assault in the first or second degree, drive-by shooting, coercion, malicious mischief, kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.

Consequently, a person accused of domestic violence is more likely to face several offenses in a single domestic violence incident. Additionally, the charges may be even greater if a restraining order is issued against the defendant and if that restraining order was violated. A no-contact order prohibits the alleged abuser from communicating with the victim or staying near the victim's place of work, residence or school. The penalties associated with charges of domestic violence may depend on how the authorities interpret the situation. The reasonable cause of the arrest may be an important factor in the charges filed against a person. However, even reasonable suspicion, which leads to an arrest, can be contradicted in court.

Domestic violence impacts a person's life in so many ways. However, people accused of a crime are still considered innocent until proven guilty. That means that the defendant still has the chance to contest the charges and to defend rights.

Source: Washington State Legislature, "Domestic Violence-Official Response", Accessed on Feb. 25, 2015

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