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Differences Between Assault and Domestic Assault in Manassas

The main difference between assault and domestic assault in Manassas is that assault is a crime that can be committed against virtually anyone, while domestic assault is a subset of assault that involves an alleged victim who is defined as a family or household member under the Virginia Code.

A family or household member can be immediate family, such as a spouse, a parent, or a sibling, but may also include a domestic partner or an individual with whom the alleged aggressor shares a child. To better clarify the specifics of the charge, it is important that an individual consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Being Charged with Both Crimes

An individual can be charged with both assault and domestic assault at the same time, though not with respect to the same alleged victim. That is, if an individual committed multiple assaults, one of which was against a family member or household member and one of which was against a non-family or non-household member, the individual may be charged with both assault and domestic assault.

However, if an individual committed multiple assaults against an individual or individuals, all of whom were considered family or household members, they would be charged only with domestic assault. In this way, the relationship between the alleged aggressor and the alleged victim or victims determines the nature of the associated charge.

Unique Aspects of Each

The differences between assault and domestic assault in Manassas determine how an individual is charged. They are charged separately because the Virginia General Assembly and the Virginia legislature has determined that it is appropriate to treat cases in which the alleged victim is a household or family member of the alleged aggressor differently from those in which the alleged victim is not.

In the first instance, the domestic assault battery charge is heard by a juvenile and domestic court, while, in the second instance, the assault charge is heard by the general district court.

Treatment in Court

Domestic assault cases in Manassas are treated differently from regular assault cases in court. The primary difference is that, in a domestic assault case, the judge has more options available to them regarding how to dispose of the case.

For example, there is a first offender program available in domestic assault cases that requires the convicted individual to enter into a probationary period and allows for a dismissal of charges if they comply with all conditions of their probation for the entire period.  Alternative programs include domestic violence classes or counseling. Such programs are not available for an individual convicted of assault.

In this way, although both assault and domestic assault are Class 1 misdemeanors in Manassas, which are associated with possible incarceration upon conviction, domestic assault cases are less likely to result in incarceration than are assault cases and are instead more likely to yield lesser punishments, such as probation.

Contacting an Attorney

If an individual is facing a criminal charge of domestic assault in Manassas, it is important that the individual consults with a local lawyer. Such an attorney will have intimate knowledge of and experience with local procedures, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, and the difference between simple assault and domestic assault in Manassas.

This insight can provide a crucial advantage in a domestic assault case, allowing an attorney to construct a defense with the greatest likelihood of success.

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