Very often in situations where there is a domestic violence allegation, the accuser and the accused are residing together, either temporarily or more permanently, at the time of the incident. In most of these cases, the parties are husband/wife, domestic partners, involved in a dating relationship or have in some other way a traditional relationship established from a “domestic” sense. This is not always the case, however. The definition of “domestic” as defined in Washington is very broad and includes” adult persons who are residing together or who have resided together in the past”. This means that people involved in a domestic dispute who are merely friends, roommates or even former roommates could suffer the short and long-term stigma attached to a charge of domestic violence.
As difficult as it is to be charged criminally, there may be the added challenge of being forced from your home. In almost every case, when charges are filed, a no-contact order will be put into effect, and this will usually mean that the accused will be forced from their common residence in an effort to protect the alleged victim. If you are accused of a domestic violence charge against a housemate or guest, it is very important that you seek the advice of counsel immediately. Even the allegation could lead to eviction proceedings if you rent your residence. Also, a domestic violence conviction can cause myriad life challenges in the future, from finding housing to making employment opportunities in our competitive market disappear. When two people are platonic housemates, there may be circumstances with the assistance of an attorney where the court will carve out an exception that will allow you to stay in the home. If the accuser is merely a house guest with no legal right to be in the home, an attorney may be able to assist in having that person legally removed.
Importantly, if a no-contact order has been issued, it must be respected. Ignoring the order and remaining in the home could have disastrous consequences. No contact orders, by their nature, are not often difficult for the state to prove and multiple violations of a domestic violence protection order can have felony consequences that could lead to prison time.
If you find yourself facing domestic violence charges alleged by a housemate or roommate, please contact the attorneys at Milios Defense immediately. We are very experienced in helping people protect their rights and their housing.