How long do I have to file a domestic violence charge against my ex?

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How long do I have to file a domestic violence charge against my ex?

It’s happened mutilple times and I have dates, pictures, doctor visits, conseling sessions, and not really witnesses but people I told the day each incident happened what was going on and his family and friends that I’ve spoken to that have told me he’s done this before to his previous girlfriends to prove it happened numerous times. Also, there were times where I had hit him in self defense or bite him when I felt he was going to hit me or kick me again.

Asked on December 3, 2012 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Washington has varying degrees of assault statutes.  If there was an aggravating circumstance, like a weapon involved, then a domestic violence charge would be classified as a felony level offense.  The time limit for the State to file charges for this type of felony is three years.

If there are no aggravating circumstances, but it was a strait assault where he hit, kicked, and injured you, then this is considered a gross misdemeanor.  The time limit for the State for file charges for a gross misdemeanor is two years.

It's always better to report your offenses sooner than later.  Delays in reporting give the defendant an argument that you delayed because the allegations were not true or were motivated by an ill purpose.  This is not to suggest that you should not file the charges--- only to encourage you to report more timely if there is a next time.  Considering that there has been a delay, you would want to start these reporting these older cases as soon as possible.  The reason is that much of your case is going to be based on medical records and historical events-- which could take some time to gather.  If you wait until the last minute, the agencies working with your case may not have sufficient time to complete their work to insure a timely filing.


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