Under Washington law, certain crimes, misdemeanors and felonies can carry the DV designation depending on the relationship between the defendant and the alleged victim. In short, if a family or household member commits a crime against another family or household member, or if a person in a dating relationship with another commits a crime against that person, the label of domestic violence (DV) can and most often will be attached to that crime. The Washington statutes governing these definitions are RCW 10.99.020 and RCW 26.50.010.
Pursuant to RCW 10.99.020(3) a family or household relationship means:
- former spouses
- 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.
Pursuant to RCW 26.50.010(3) a 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.”
If you or someone you know is being accused of committing any crime against a person with who he or she has any of the above relationships, the domestic violence designation will very likely attach to the charge. If this happens, the situation becomes much more complicated. Contact one of the Washington domestic violence lawyers at Milios Defense if you have any questions whether or not a domestic violence designation will apply to your case and the subsequent ramifications.