Domestic violence is a terrible reality, with thousands of people being abused every week. Unfortunately, while trying to protect potential victims, law enforcement officials trample the rights of the accused in many situations.
If you are facing accusations involving this offense, speaking with an experienced Brunswick County domestic violence lawyer may be your best chance of fighting the charges. A seasoned defense lawyer could help you protect your rights, comply with any protective orders that may be in place, and work toward a positive resolution.
Domestic violence can refer to different criminal offenses in Brunswick County. However, these offenses are generally violations of Va. Code Ann. §18.2-57.2, which addresses assault and battery against a family or household member. An individual may be found guilty of assault and battery against a family or household member if they:
A dedicated lawyer could work to locate evidence to refute assertions regarding these types of domestic violence in Brunswick County. These offenses are treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor, but if the person charged has two similar prior convictions in any jurisdiction in the previous 20 years, the charge may be enhanced to a felony-level violation.
The statute defines a family or household member to include spouses and former spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren, regardless of whether they live together. Half-siblings, stepparents, and stepchildren are also included.
Additionally, the family or household member status also extends to in-laws who reside in the same house as the accused and or another party who lived with that person in the previous 12 months. Finally, parents who have had a child together are considered family or household members, even if they never lived together and never married.
When certain actions are committed by a person against someone considered to be a family or household member, the situation may be regarded as family abuse. The statute defines family violence as any act of violence or threatened violence that causes injury or reasonable fear of injury. Examples include stalking, forceful detention, and criminal sexual assault. A lawyer in Brunswick County could help assert that the accuser never had a reasonable threat of harm, potentially leading to a dismissal of family abuse charges.
If a domestic assault is penalized as a misdemeanor, a conviction could lead to as much as one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Prior convictions from many years ago could also cause the new charge to be treated as a felony with a substantially longer term of imprisonment.
A Brunswick County domestic violence lawyer could fight to protect your rights from the beginning of an investigation until the end of court proceedings. Advice from your lawyer could prevent costly missteps that might aggravate the charge and enhance penalties, lead to self-incrimination, or allow illegally obtained evidence to be used against you. Contact an experienced local attorney now to learn more and start working on your case.
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