Domestic violence is a pervasive and extremely serious criminal allegation in Washington State. The sheer seriousness of domestic violence related crimes in Washington State often results in voluminous probationary conditions being imposed on those convicted of domestic violence. One such condition that is routinely imposed by Washington State courts is a No Contact Order. A No Contact Order, among other things, prohibits the convicted person from having any contact whatsoever with the alleged victim, and can last up to the total duration of probation, or in other words, however long the convicted person is under the guise of the court.
Often folks ask me about how the government would ever know a No Contact Order was being violated, especially if no one affirmatively disclosed the contact to the court, probation or even law enforcement. Does the government do random checks at their home or work? Are there police officers that are specifically dedicated to following up and/or watching? Is “Big Brother” spying on them? In short – “no”. Law Enforcement has neither the funds nor the man power to conduct such auspicious and far reaching maneuvers. But below following are but just two examples that I personally have heard of that have lead to the government becoming aware that someone is violating a No Contact Order, which, by the way, is not only a violation of probationary conditions but also a crime in and of itself – one in which the government will file a criminal complaint and seek a jail sentence against the offender.
First, a police officer is cruising the streets during day-light hours. Not much happening on his “beat”. Thus, he decides to drive by hotels and conduct random license plate checks on the vehicles parked in the hotel parking lots (a common and lawful practice of law enforcement). As he does this, he notes that the registered owner of one of the vehicles at hotel “A” has a No Contact Order imposed against him. This person is not to have contact with a specific person. The police officer continues running the random license plate checks of all the vehicles at hotel “A”. In short order the police officer determines that a registered owner of one of the other vehicles parked in the parking lot of hotel “A” is the beneficiary of the No Contact Order that is in place. The officer determines what room these folks are in and thereafter proceeds to contact and arrest the person who he deems is violating the terms of court probation, and the conditions of the No Contact Order that is in place.
Second, a police officer is traveling the streets late at night. He knows that it is lawful to conduct random license plate checks. He also knows that people at night often drive after consuming alcohol. He conducts a random license plate check on a vehicle that is stopped directly in front of him at a red light, waiting for the light to turn green. The registered owner of the vehicle has a suspended license, a crime in Washington State. The officer initiates a traffic stop of the vehicle. There is a passenger in the vehicle. The officer obtains names and after a background check determines that there is a No Contact Order in place that prohibits the passenger from having contact with the registered owner of the vehicle, which happens to be the driver. End result – both folks are arrested and put in jail for committing crimes in Washington State.
Because of the significant implications that a Washington State domestic violence and/or a No Contact Order related conviction carries, it is imperative that when a person is facing single or even multiple criminal charges arising out of an argument that got out of hand, a person cannot simply entrust his life, his future, his reputation or even his profession to an inexperienced and untested Washington State criminal lawyer. He must seek – he must demand – only the very best criminal defense representation available. Anyone charged with domestic violence in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle domestic violence defense lawyer.