Domestic Violence – Misdemeanor or Felony?
Washington State criminal penalties for domestic violence related crimes are divided into two general categories — misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanor crimes are filed in District and Municipal court while felonies are filed in Superior court. Regardless what court you have to appear at, 2nd Chance Bail Bonds will be there to assist you for all your bail bond needs.
Many DV Related Charges Are Misdemeanors.
Simple assault DV, assault 4 DV, malicious mischief 3rd degree DV, interfering with reporting a crime of domestic violence, harassment and violation of a no contact order (when there has not been an assault or two more more prior convictions for violation of a no contact order) are all gross-misdemeanors. This means that they can be punished by 0-364 days in jail and 0-$5000 fine.
Some DV Charges Are Felonies.
Assault in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree domestic violence, malicious mischief in the 1st or 2nd degree, felony harassment, and violation of a no contact order with an assault or two or more prior convictions are all felonies.
Felonies are further categorized into class A, B or C felonies with class A felonies being the most serious. Each class of felonies carries the following maximum penalties:
- Class A Felonies: Up to life in prison and up to a $50,000 fine.
- Class B Felonies: Up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
- Class C Felonies: Up to 5 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Penalties for Washington State felony cases are governed by the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines. These guidelines create a standard sentencing range for domestic violence related felony crimes in Washington State. A defendant’s standard range is determined by the seriousness level of the crime and the defendant’s applicable criminal history (an “offender score”). A judge must stay within this sentencing range unless specific aggravating or mitigating factors are established allowing a judge to impose an exceptional sentence above or below the standard range. Additionally, various facts can add additional mandatory penalties on felony cases (i.e. deadly weapon or firearm enhancements).
Finally, some defendants in felony cases may qualify for a sentencing alternative like a first time offender waiver or a drug offender sentencing alternative.
As you can see, determining the potential penalties for a felony conviction in Washington can be very complicated. An experienced Washington State criminal defense attorney can give you a better idea of what potential penalties you are facing on your case and what options may be available to you for sentencing alternatives. If you’ve been charged with any kind of domestic violence give 2nd Chance a call and secure your key to freedom.