In 2009 the King County Sheriff's Office disbanded it's investigation unit that handled domestic violence charges, but in 2015 it was reimplemented. Since that time there has been an 20% increase in the number of felony domestic violence cases being referred to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.
Cases that were once initially investigated by patrol officers, are now being followed up on my Detectives Ben Wheeler and Robin Ostrum of the King County Sheriff's Office. This means that there is a greater chance that detectives will spend time interviewing victims and building a rapport, which often times leads to more crimes being charged as alleged victims report other crimes that occurred in the past.
These issues were discussed in a recent Seattle Times article on the subject can be viewed here.
Our office has seen an increase in felony domestic violence cases for first time offenders as well. Where previously a first time offender was often charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor level offense, we are seeing more felony charges. Explore the difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge here.