When a court sentences a defendant to community custody in a Washington criminal case, there are some conditions the court must impose and others that the court may impose in the court’s discretion. These conditions are set forth in RCW 9.94A.703. Pursuant to the statute, the court may require an offender to “[p]articipate in crime-related treatment or counseling services” or “in rehabilitative programs” that are reasonably related to the offense, the risk of reoffending, or community safety. Additionally, a court may order an offender convicted of a domestic violence crime to participate in a domestic violence perpetrator program, if either the offender or the victim have a minor child.
In a recent case, a defendant challenged the imposition of domestic violence treatment. The defendant was convicted of second degree assault, unlawful imprisonment, and felony harassment of his former girlfriend. The jury found the defendant and the victim were members of the same family or household.
The state asked the trial court to require the defendant to complete domestic violence treatment. He objected. The defendant argued the statute only authorized the court to require domestic violence treatment if the offender or victim had a minor child. The trial court found it did have the authority to require the treatment and did so. The defendant appealed.