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Springfield Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence is a serious offense that the state and federal law treat very harshly. Aside from the potential for incarceration and fines, individuals may be banned from all contact with others who have accused them of domestic violence.

Avoiding a domestic violence conviction or having charges reduced or dropped may be a possibility if you seek the representation of a Springfield domestic violence lawyer.

Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney may be highly beneficial to you when facing any type of domestic violence charges. All too often, false reports and situations that are blown out of proportion can result in severe consequences for innocent, well-meaning people.

Legal advice may help you to avoid these consequences or, at a minimum, may minimize their impact on your life to the greatest extent possible.

Domestic Violence Assault and Battery

Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2 establishes the separate crime of domestic violence or assault and battery against a family or household member. This offense only involves family or household members defined in Va. Code § 16.1-228. Whereas assault typically involves threats of violence or imminent bodily harm, battery involves actual harmful physical contact with others.

For the purposes of this offense, family or household members may include the following:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Immediate family and step-family members
  • Individuals who share a child
  • Individuals who have cohabitated during the past 12 months and their children who also resided with them

While there is an exception for those individuals whose relationship qualifies them as family or household members due to current or prior cohabitation, it is not a requirement that family or household members must currently or formerly live together. A domestic violence attorney in
Springfield may note that family or household member does not include intimate partners or individuals in a dating relationship who have never lived together.

Other Offenses That May Constitute Domestic Violence

Other general criminal offenses may qualify as domestic violence if the parties are family or household members as defined above. As an example, the offense of stalking, pursuant to Va. Code § 18.2-60.3, may involve family or household members. Also, various sex offenses could involve parties who are family or household members.

The penalties for these offenses when they involve family or household members are generally the same as for those that involve non-family or household members. As a conviction on any domestic violence offense may have severe repercussions for defendants, getting advice from a domestic violence attorney in Springfield may be wise.

Potential Consequences for a Domestic Violence Conviction

Assault and battery against a family or household member is generally a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction. A conviction for this offense could result in up to 12 months in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.

Multiple convictions for this type of domestic violence offense within a certain time frame, even if they occurred in another jurisdiction, may result in more severe charges. This could include a felony charge in some situations.

There are also various collateral consequences of a domestic violence conviction. Even a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence may prohibit individuals from possessing or purchasing firearms under federal law. The court is likely to also enter a protective order or no-contact order between parties involved in an incidence of domestic violence.

If individuals do become subject to protective orders, they might face additional criminal charges for violating those orders. Va. Code § 18.2-60.4 establishes a violation of a protective order on a first-time basis a Class 1 misdemeanor. Subsequent violations or the presence of aggravating circumstances could also result in felony charges. Aggravating circumstances could include the use of a dangerous weapon.

How a Springfield Domestic Violence Attorney Could Help

You could face harsh penalties for a domestic violence conviction that may impact your life for many years. You may lose the ability to possess firearms, have a protective order entered against you, and have what many consider to be a crime of violence that shows up on background checks by employers and landlords.

Building a strong defense with the help of a Springfield domestic violence lawyer can be one way that you may be able to avoid these negative consequences.

You may see a negative impact on various aspects of your life if you are convicted of a domestic violence offense. Your ability to support yourself and your family could be hindered.

Having an experienced legal advocate on your side from the beginning of any criminal case may put you in a stronger position to defend yourself against the charges.

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