By Zach Walsh
Attorney, McKean Smith
Accusations of physical violence are vigorously investigated and prosecuted in Oregon and Washington. Both states require police officers to make mandatory arrests when the officer has probable cause to believe a domestic violence crime was committed. This means if the officer simply believes it is more likely than not that a crime of domestic violence occurred, the officer is required to make an arrest. If they do not, the officer is breaking the law.
In addition, victims’ rights are explained to accusers as well as their ability to seek protective orders or what is commonly referred to as restraining orders or stalking orders.
If you are arrested and charged with a domestic violence crime, you will be arraigned, and the judge will discuss release and release conditions. Even if the victim does not want to pursue charges and does not obtain a restraining order, the judge will impose a no-contact order prohibiting you from having any direct, indirect, or third-party contact with the victim and their family members. No-contact orders are onerous and violating one can quickly lead to additional charges including contempt or the revocation of your release agreement. Revocation of a release agreement will quickly lead to a return trip to jail.
Domestic violence arrests and convictions have serious education, employment, and immigration consequences. In addition, if you are convicted of a domestic violence crime or subject to a restraining order, it is a crime to possess a firearm or ammunition under federal law. If you are convicted of a domestic violence crime, the federal firearm ban is for life.
Even if the victim is adamant he or she does not want to pursue charges or withdraws their statement to police, prosecutors can and will pursue charges without the victim’s cooperation. When you are charged with a crime, McKean Smith understands your freedom is not just at stake. Your family members and friends may be affected by these charges as well.
Domestic violence cases are complex, dynamic, and have serious, potentially lifelong consequences. That is why it is important to contact an experienced domestic violence criminal defense immediately.