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Virginia Domestic Violence Lawyer
Virginia considers domestic violence a form of assault and battery, but distinguishes it from normal assault and battery by covering charges separately within state code § 18.2-57.2, which states that any person who commits assault and battery against a member of their own family or household is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The major difference between normal assault and battery and domestic violence is how the state handles repeat offenders. While a third assault and battery conviction within 20 years often carries the same penalty as a second, a third domestic violence conviction in 20 years is often charged as a Class 6 felony. Contact an assault lawyer with our firm to learn more about the differences between these charges.
§ 19.2-81.3 in state law authorizes police officers to make an arrest without a warrant in domestic violence cases provided that there is probable cause for the alleged crime. This arrest procedure is also available to police officers in stalking and protective order violation crimes.
Special Considerations in Virginia Domestic Violence Law
Our attorneys often defend clients from a variety of charges contained within the state legal codes. For example, the Commonwealth considers marital sexual abuse or violence under § 19.2-81.3, the state's description of rape. Prosecutors, therefore, will often seek a rape conviction for a person accused of forcing him or herself (or another party) on an unwilling family member, even if they are married. An old code (repealed by Acts 2005, c. 631, cl. 2) covered laws on marital sexual assault separately.
In many of these cases, an emergency protective order is issued by a legal authority (such as a judge or magistrate) to protect members of a family from further alleged abuse. This order can be given as a written or oral order.
In normal assault and battery cases in Virginia, § 19.2-151 allows for the alleged victim of the assault to state to a court that satisfactory civil penalties have been enforced. This allows a court to elect to dismiss charges against a person being held for the alleged crime. This doctrine is commonly known as accord and satisfaction. In domestic violence cases, however, this provision does not apply.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Virginia
Virginia considers domestic violence a pattern of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse and so punishes those convicted of domestic violence based on their existing criminal record. First time offenders may receive a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500. Upon his or her third conviction, however, a convicted party is guilty of a Class 6 felony, which can carry a potential penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $2,500.00 fine.
Spousal rape is also covered under § 19.2-218.1, which allows a court to consult with an appropriate social services organization to determine if mental health treatment of the accused is possible, and determine the chance of a positive outcome. With consent from the accused, alleged victim, the attorney for the commonwealth, and complaining witness to the crime, a court may use its own discretion to suspend sentencing of the accused until the recovery program is completed or terminated. No statements or disclosures made by the accused during such therapy are admissible as evidence. A Virginia sex crimes lawyer with our firm will be able to help you if you need representation in that area of law as well. For more information on Virginia sex crimes, click here.
In addition, any conviction involving domestic violence may trigger the federal ban on possession of a firearm by a domestic violence offender. This ban is significant because of the many professions in which the ability to possess a firearm is essential for employment, such as military service or law enforcement. Those charged with a violation of Section 18.2-57.2 should thus consider all ramifications of a possible conviction when consulting with one of the attorneys with our firm. Contact a lawyer for a free consultation so that we can help answer any questions that you have regarding an investigation and possible trial.
A charge in this area could have not only legal ramifications, but it can also have a significant affect on your personal life. Our attorneys do not just help you fight the charges you face, they are there for you throughout the process of returning your life to normalcy. When you hire one of the members of our team, you don't just hire a lawyer, you retain an advocate to help you throughout a difficult process.
Prince William County
The purpose of having a Prince William County domestic violence attorney on your side is to ensure your rights are looked after throughout the criminal justice process. The United States criminal courts are adversarial; this means they put one side against the other. On one side is the prosecution, who represents the laws of Virginia. On the other side is you, the defendant and your attorney. It's easy to see how it can feel like everyone is against you when you are accused of a domestic violence offense. Having someone in your corner becomes all the more important.
In order to know what your options are and how likely it is that you will avoid jail time, a consultation with a domestic violence lawyer in Loudoun County is necessary. At that time you'll be able to tell the attorney a little about the case and what happened in order to get their opinion on what your next move should be. Remember that the criminal defense lawyer is on your side, so telling them everything you know is usually the best route for the most accurate consultation.
And More. . .
Our attorneys have experience representing clients in domestic violence cases throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, so if you need representation in Chesterfield, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Hanover, Henrico, Richmond, New Kent, Tidewater or anywhere else in Virginia, please contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys where you will be able to learn more about the services we provide.