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Virginia Domestic Violence Penalties

Domestic violence is a broad category in Virginia that includes battery and assault as well as more serious crimes, such as unlawful wounding, malicious wounding, strangulation, kidnapping, and things of that nature.

To be convicted of a domestic violence charge in Virginia, the prosecutor has to prove each element of the crime which has been charged. Whether that is assault and battery, unlawful wounding, malicious wounding, abduction, strangulation, the threat of assault, or something else, the prosecutor’s burden is to show beyond a reasonable doubt that each element of the charge defense has been proved.

The most important step to take in a domestic violence case is to contact counsel and take it seriously. Domestic violence can have very serious consequences. They can cause significant problems in people’s lives for being incarcerated and having a criminal record.

With the assistance of an attorney, there are a lot of positive things that can be done early to help a person’s case and help a person avoid the most common kinds of mistakes that people make when dealing with these situations.

The prosecutor has to bring forward evidence to prove these elements of the crime to enact potential penalties. A skilled local defense attorney with an understanding of local domestic violence policies can help you formulate a strong defense and can try to help you avoid harsh Virginia domestic violence penalties.

Potential Penalties

There are a number of potential penalties associated with domestic violence in Virginia. These penalties include:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Anger management or other mandated kinds of treatment
  • Protective orders, which require the defendant to stay away from the alleged victim and in some cases to stay away from their own home

Civil Protective Orders and Penalties

The main way that the civil protective order can affect the penalty is if the crime that is charged was accomplished or perpetrated in violation of a protective order. If a protective order is in place and an individual commits a crime against the person who that order was supposed to protect, then that can be something that can significantly amplify the penalties in the case.

Long-Term Consequences

The long-term consequences are having a criminal record, which can be significant, particularly in areas where jobs require background checks and security clearances, like the government. Having that on a person’s record can put the person in a position where they cannot work.

In addition, there are potential consequences a person might experience in an ongoing or future custody and visitation case, even if the charge has had nothing to do with the children. Courts, when considering what is in the best interest of a child in terms of custody and visitation, are going to consider whether a person has done something violent in the past.

Penalty Enhancements

The two biggest aggravating factors any time a court is passing sentence are going to be whether the individual has a record of having committed similar crimes in the past and whether there are injuries determining how violent the crime was.

Basically, the worse the facts, the more damage that was done – it can be for the defendant. Any time a person has committed similar crimes in the past, it is likely to be aggravating and cause the court to impose a much harsher penalty.

Contacting a Lawyer

If a person is charged with domestic violence, they could potentially face harsh Virginia domestic violence penalties. In the short term, domestic violence charges can put a person in jail, sometimes for significant periods of time. In the long run, domestic violence charges are going to give a person a permanent criminal record.

In some cases, it may give a person a felony record. In either case, it can make it difficult for a person to retain their current employment and can make it difficult for them to find gainful employment in the future.

It is important to contact a domestic violence attorney immediately when a person is charged because there are proactive steps that they can take to help their case from the beginning. A Virginia domestic violence lawyer is more likely to be familiar with Virginia domestic violence penalties, and can help the accused make informed decisions, and avoid making mistakes that will significantly impact the case.

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