Shira J. Stefanik fights serious charges.
Domestic Violence (“DV”) is a label that can be attached to any crime against another person, and this label makes the crime more serious. A criminal charge can be labelled with a “domestic violence designation” or “DV designation” when the person charged and the alleged victim/complaining witness have a current or past dating relationship, or they are related by blood or marriage, or they currently reside together. If strangers get into a bar fight, one of them may be charged with the crime of Assault. If spouses, or siblings, or current or former intimate partners, or family members, or roommates get into a shoving match, it is likely that one person will be charged with Assault with a “DV designation”. At arraignment, the person charged with a crime that has a “DV” designation will be ordered to have no firearms while the case is pending and they will lose their firearm rights if they are convicted of a crime that has a “DV designation”. The government will also ask that the defendant have No Contact with the alleged victim while the case is pending, and this No Contact Order will be extended if there is a conviction. It is important to have an experienced, aggressive attorney as early as possible to try to minimize the potential problems a no contact order will brings.
Conviction of a crime that has a DV designation can carry longer sentences and longer probation periods, and mandatory participation in state-certified treatment and counseling, as well as loss of certain rights. Domestic Violence is a serious and dangerous problem in our society. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system can be weaponized by someone who makes a false accusation of domestic violence. Sometimes relationships are complicated, full of conflict, and it can be difficult for police to determine who was the real aggressor – and sometimes police don't really seem to care. Never assume that a domestic violence charge will be easily dismissed just because you are innocent. Contact my office to discuss options with an experienced Seattle DV lawyer if you are being investigated or charged with a DV crime.