In the world of Washington State criminal law, the initials “DV” stand for Domestic Violence. This is a “tag” that is attached to certain crimes where the parties involved are alleged to have a certain familial or dating relationship. The actual definition of what constitutes a DV crime in Washington State is laid out in RCW 10.99.020, and states the following:
“any crime when committed by one family or household member against another or against someone with whom you have a “dating relationship.”…
“Family or household members” means spouses, domestic partners, former spouses, former domestic partners, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
(3) “Dating relationship” means a social relationship of a romantic nature. Factors that the court may consider in making this determination include: (a) The length of time the relationship has existed; (b) the nature of the relationship; and (c) the frequency of interaction between the parties.
As you may already know, DV crimes are taken very seriously by the criminal justice system. Often times, what starts out as a 911 call in the midst of a heated argument can spiral out of control and lead to life shattering consequences once the police respond.
In Washington State, law enforcement is required to make an arrest if they have even a belief that a DV crime has been committed, no matter how insignificant the matter may seem. There is no discretion to leave the parties to work it out on their own. Unfortunately, this means that families often face a long and tumultuous battle to put their lives back together once an arrest has occurred.
That being said, you should not give up hope. The Law Offices of Aaron S. Kiviat has a proven track record of successfully challenging these charges and helping people move on with their lives with the best possible outcomes to their case.