The Seattle Law Firm of Dixon & Cannon, Ltd.

What to Know About Domestic Violence Crimes

What is a domestic violence crime?

A common domestic violence crime can include assault, stalking, harassment, and/or a protection order violation. Generally, an incident is classified as domestic violence when a family or household member commits a criminal act on another family or household member.


A family or household member includes a spouse, former spouse, an adult related by blood or marriage, an adult who is a current or past roommate (even when not related), or an adult you are dating or have dated in the past. RCW 26.50.010.

How serious is a domestic violence charge, and will I have to go to jail?

A domestic violence charge can be a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence crime, and if you are convicted you can go to jail.

A misdemeanor domestic violence charge is filed in a district or municipal court of limited jurisdiction, and can be either a simple or gross misdemeanor charge. If you are convicted of either charge, the court typically places you on probation for two years.

  • Simple misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
  • Gross misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of 365 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

A felony domestic violence charge is filed in a superior court, and can range from a class C felony to a very serious charge.

  • Class C felony crimes are punishable by up to five years in jail.
  • Class B and A felony crimes are punishable from ten years up to life in prison or death.

If convicted of a domestic violence crime, will I have to participate in counseling treatment?

Generally, most prosecutors and judges in district and municipal courts require defendants convicted of domestic violence crimes to participate in an intensive domestic violence treatment program. If a State certified treatment counselor interviews you and makes a finding that you are amenable to treatment, then you are required to participate in an intensive treatment program that can last up to two years.

  • If you agree to participate in domestic violence treatment, it is extremely important for you understand that successful participation and completion of treatment requires you to admit that you have a problem with domestic violence.


    This requirement is problematic if you do not believe you are guilty of the crime you are charged with, or you do not believe you have a problem with violence.

  • If you do not agree to participate in a domestic violence treatment program, or you do not comply with domestic violence treatment requirements, the consequences are severe and you can be put in jail.

Why are Dixon & Cannon, Ltd. attorneys successful at winning domestic violence cases?

The key to winning a domestic violence case is conducting an extensive investigation of all witnesses and evidence. At Dixon & Cannon, Ltd. we are successful at trial, because we provide you with thorough and complete investigative services and trial preparation to help you get the best possible outcome for your case.

We are successful in winning domestic violence cases because we analyze each potential issue and piece of evidence on a case-by-case basis. We also have a thorough understanding and expertise about the unique issues that are common in domestic violence cases. Among other issues at trial we look at:

  • Whether or not a 911 tape can be introduced at trial
  • Whether or not your statements to police or witnesses can be used at trial
  • Whether or not your prior assaults or crimes can be admitted at trial

Dixon & Cannon, Ltd. attorneys are experienced, compassionate, and aggressive. We understand what is needed to win domestic violence cases, and where the law provides, we move to suppress any evidence to help you get the best possible outcome for your case.

If you have questions about a domestic violence crime, call us for a FREE 30-minute initial consultation at 206-957-2247.  We can help!

Dixon & Cannon, Ltd. is licensed to practice law in the States of Arizona and Washington. This Web site is created for your general information only and does not represent legal advice. An attorney-client relationship between you and our law firm is not created by you reading this information or calling us. If we decide to work together, we sign a contract to establish our attorney-client relationship.