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What to Expect From Domestic Violence Cases in Fairfax, VA

Below a criminal defense attorney explains domestic violence charges in Fairfax and what you should expect if accused. To learn more consult with a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer to schedule a free consultation.

The distinction between a domestic assault and battery versus a non-domestic assault and battery is the relationship between the parties. The victim and the accused don’t have to be married for it to be considered a domestic case.  Also, they don’t have to be currently living together. They just have to have co-habitated within the previous 12 months of the alleged offense.

Also, if they have a child together, that’s considered a domestic partner. So that the main difference between domestic assault versus non-domestic assault is the relationship between the parties. Usually it’s not an issue but sometimes when you have people that have lived together for a short period of time, one party leaves but there’s violence that happens afterwards, proving a relationship that they previously had becomes an issue at the trial.

Do Complaining Witnesses Need to Testify in Fairfax Domestic Assault Cases?

The alleged victim in an assault case will have to testify if she was subpoenaed. Now if she is in a situation which she reasonably thinks that she might be incriminating herself by answering a question then she has the right to refuse to answer based on her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Can Complaining Witnesses Drop The Charges?

If the alleged victim wishes to drop the charges, unfortunately it’s not specifically up to her. It’s the Commonwealth of Virginia that has brought the charges so they have the ability to choose not to prosecute.

However, it is their job to take into consideration the concerns and the wishes of the alleged victim to a certain extent. The complaining witness should have a conversation with the prosecutor about what they would like to see happen in the case and why. But they don’t have this power per se to just “drop charges” after the person has been arrested.

Long Term Consequences of Domestic Violence Convictions

Aside from the specific penalties following a conviction, someone convicted of domestic assault can lose their right under federal law to possess a hand gun.

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