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Virginia considers domestic violence a form of assault and battery, but distinguishes it from normal assault and battery by covering charges separately within state code Section 18.2-57.2, which states that any person who commits assault and battery against a member of their own family or household is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The major difference between normal assault and battery and domestic violence is how the state handles repeat offenders. While a third assault and battery conviction within 20 years often carries the same penalty as a second, a third domestic violence conviction in 20 years is often charged as a Class 6 felony. Contact a Virginia domestic violence lawyer with our firm to learn more about the differences between these charges. En Español.
Section 19.2-81.3 in state law authorizes police officers to make an arrest without a warrant in domestic violence cases provided that there is probable cause for the alleged crime. This arrest procedure is also available to police officers in stalking and protective order violation crimes.
Allegations of abuse are fairly common in many domestic violence-related matters. This includes spousal abuse, child abuse, roommate violence. For more information about all of the sections and penalties that fall within the category of abuse laws in Virginia, please make sure to call our attorneys today.
Defense attorneys often defend clients from a variety of charges contained within Virginia’s legal codes. For example, the Commonwealth considers marital sexual abuse or violence under Section 19.2-81.3, the state’s description of rape.
Prosecutors, therefore, will often seek a rape conviction for a person accused of forcing him or herself (or another party) on an unwilling family member, even if they are married. An old code (repealed by Acts 2005, c. 631, cl. 2) covered laws on marital sexual assault separately.
In many of these cases, an emergency protective order is issued by a legal authority (such as a judge or magistrate) to protect members of a family from further alleged abuse. This order can be given as a written or oral order.
In normal assault and battery cases in Virginia, Section 19.2-151 allows for the alleged victim of the assault to state to a court that satisfactory civil penalties have been enforced. This allows a court to elect to dismiss charges against a person being held for the alleged crime. This doctrine is commonly known as accord and satisfaction. In domestic violence cases, however, this provision does not apply.
Virginia considers domestic violence a pattern of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse and so punishes those convicted of domestic violence based on their existing criminal record. First time offenders may receive a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.
Upon his or her third conviction, however, a convicted party is guilty of a Class 6 felony, which can carry a potential penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.
Spousal rape is also covered under Section 19.2-218.1, which allows a court to consult with an appropriate social services organization to determine if mental health treatment of the accused is possible, and determine the chance of a positive outcome.
With consent from the accused, alleged victim, the attorney for the commonwealth, and complaining witness to the crime, a court may use its own discretion to suspend sentencing of the accused until the recovery program is completed or terminated. No statements or disclosures made by the accused during such therapy are admissible as evidence.
In addition, any conviction involving domestic violence may trigger the federal ban on possession of a firearm by a domestic violence offender. This ban is significant because of the many professions in which the ability to possess a firearm is essential for employment, such as military service or law enforcement.
Those charged with a violation of Section 18.2-57.2 should thus consider all ramifications of a possible conviction when consulting with one of the attorneys with our firm. Contact a lawyer for a free consultation so that we can help answer any questions that you have regarding an investigation and possible trial.
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