In general, domestic violence refers to an assault or battery committed by one individual against a family or household member. Under Virginia law, family or household member is relatively broad, including spouses, children, and cohabitants (both traditional and same-sex partners), as well as parents who share a biological child.
Domestic violence cases can be sensitive and have serious repercussions, so someone facing charges should not go through their case without the help of a skilled defense attorney. An experienced domestic violence lawyer in Manassas can help someone to build a solid defense, and receive a positive outcome in their case.
Under Virginia state law, domestic violence is considered a physical act of aggression or other unwanted act. Domestic relationships are considered current or former family members, spouses, people with children in common, or individuals that reside together currently or within the previous 12 months. Domestic violence is not limited to physical violence, but also includes battery, threats, and certain attempts at violence.
In Manassas, if an individual summons the police to a domestic violence scenario, the responding officer must investigate the scenario, determine the primary aggressor, and charge the primary aggressor with domestic violence. This means that, if an officer has sufficient evidence to determine the primary aggressor, they must arrest that individual. In this way, the responding officer has little discretion in making a determination as to whether to arrest the individual they have determined to be the primary aggressor.
If an individual is accused of domestic violence, they will be charged with domestic violence. Such a charge may only be resolved by plea agreement or trial. After an individual has been charged with domestic violence, they must attend an arraignment, a court appearance at which a judge will advise the individual of the crime with which they have been charged. If the individual chooses not to enter a plea agreement, their case will be set for trial.
Domestic assault is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, the consequences of which include possible incarceration of up to one year and a fine of $2,500. However, it is important to note that lesser punishments are available for individuals with no prior domestic assault convictions, including probation without incarceration. A Manassas domestic violence attorney will be essential in trying to mitigate these penalties.
Through insufficient evidence, a prosecutor is required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Failure to satisfy this requirement could potentially result in the charge being dismissed for lack of proof.
If the accuser is lying to achieve some other end such as trying to obtain custody in a child custody battle, the accused may be able to expose this individual’s bias or motivation for making an unfounded accusation.
Manassas domestic violence lawyers know that consent refers to whether the contact or alleged contact was not harmful, and was, in fact, consented to by the complainant (consent could be express or implied). Self-defense refers to the defense that the accused was not the initial aggressor, but only responded to the actions of another individual
Defenses that include the no assault argument typically refer to the alleged conduct was actually innocent and does not fit the statutory requirements for battery or assault. If the accused proves that they were in another location at the time of the alleged offense, they may be able to successfully prove an alibi defense.
Domestic violence and battery convictions may impact child custody or visitation. While the specific impact is dependent on the individual case, an individual who has been charged with domestic violence can expect that a conviction for such a charge will have a negative impact on their ability to retain custody or control visitation.
A Manassas domestic violence attorney can be an essential asset in a domestic violence case. At the onset of the case, an attorney can walk the charged individual through the allegations, charge, and judicial process. This demystifies the process, helping the charged individual to know what to do and what to expect. Moreover, such an attorney can explain the potential outcomes of the case and advise their client regarding the best strategies for defending against the charges they face. Most importantly, throughout the entire judicial process, from charge to sentence, an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Manassas can work to do everything possible to have their client’s charges reduced, or even dismissed.
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