Domestic violence is when one person in a relationship controlling someone else, often using violence or fear as a means of control. The person’s conduct may include physical or emotional abuse. The person accused of domestic violence may be a married couple, dating couple, or people living together. The State of Washington has a law against someone trying to interfere with reporting domestic violence.

What Does it Mean to Interfere with Reporting Domestic Violence?

Interfering with reporting domestic violence is when a person tries to prevent another from:

  • calling 911;
  • reporting the abuse to law enforcement; or
  • seeking medical assistance.

The person prevented from reporting the criminal act includes a witness to the domestic violence or victim.

What Must the State Establish to Convict Me of This Crime?

First, the State has to show the defendant committed domestic violence. Prosecutors also have to show the defendant either attempted to or actually prevented the witness or victim from:

  • Calling the police
  • Obtaining medical assistance
  • Filing a police report

Is Interfering with Reporting of a Domestic Violence a Felony?

No. It’s considered to be a gross misdemeanor. A gross misdemeanor is the most serious charge of the classes of misdemeanor. It’s one step away from a felony because the defendant showed a blatant disregard for people’s safety or was seriously recklessness.

What is the Punishment for this Criminal Act in Washington State?

The punishment for interfering with reporting domestic violence claim is up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. The defendant may also be sentenced to probation and a no-contact order.

Should I Contact a Lawyer About My Domestic Violence Interference Charge?

Yes. Contact a local Washington family lawyer to fight your interference with domestic violence charge.