Strategic Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyers Defending Those Charged With Family Violence Offenses
Domestic violence cases can be some of the most emotional and frustrating cases. Due to the fact that the accused and the alleged victim had a prior relationship, DV cases often involve exaggerated police reports and sometimes outright lies. However, even when that’s the case, it doesn’t make these charges any less serious. At Robinson Law, PLLC, our dedicated team of Fairfax domestic violence defense attorneys have decades of experience aggressively defending the rights of good people charged with serious crimes. We take a strategic approach to family violence cases, conducting thorough investigations so we can determine the most favorable defense.
What Is Domestic Violence In Virginia?
Domestic violence refers to certain crimes of violence that are committed against “family or household members.” Under Code of Virginia § 16.1-228, the term “family and household members” includes:
- Spouses and former spouses
- Live-in romantic partners
- Parents and stepparents
- Children and stepchildren
- Siblings and half-siblings
- Grandparents and grandchildren
- In-laws living in the same home
Most domestic violence charges involve allegations that someone physically assaulted a family or household member or violated a protective order that was taken out against them.
What Are The Penalties Of Domestic Violence Charges?
Domestic violence charges are nothing to take lightly. Depending on the severity of the charge, you could face fines or up to a year in jail. Felony domestic violence charges can lead to prison time or more expensive financial penalties.
Assault And Battery Against A Family Or Household Member
Under Code of Virginia 18.2-57.2, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to commit an assault and battery against any family or household member. While assault and battery are frequently used together, they actually refer to different crimes. Assault is defined as placing another in fear of imminent bodily injury, whereas battery involves the unlawful touching of another person. For example, pulling your fist back as though you were going to punch someone could be an assault; however, unless you make physical contact with the other person, it would not be considered a battery.
There are situations in which an assault and battery against any family or household member is a felony offense. For example, if you have two prior convictions for any of the following, the crime will be graded as a Class 6 felony:
- Assault and battery against any family or household member
- Malicious wounding or unlawful wounding
- Aggravated malicious wounding
- Malicious bodily injury by means of a substance
Similarly, a domestic violence crime committed against someone who has a valid protective order against you is a Class 6 felony. It is also a Class 6 felony to commit a domestic violence offense while carrying a gun or any other deadly weapon.
Violation Of A Protective Order
The second type of domestic violence offense in Virginia is the violation of a protective order [link to Violations of Protective Orders page]. Protective orders are court orders designed to protect someone who has been abused or threatened. While the terms of a protective order vary, they typically prohibit you from communicating with the person who took out the order, including electronic communication like text messaging, emailing or contacting them through social media.
Violating a protective order is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if you have a prior conviction for the same, the judge must sentence you to serve at least 60 days in jail. If you have two prior convictions within the past 20 years, the crime becomes a Class 6 felony and includes a mandatory six months in jail. Additionally, the court will issue another protective order that can last up to two years.
Can Victims Drop Domestic Violence Charges?
Sometimes, an alleged victim no longer wishes to pursue domestic violence charges. However, they may not be able to do so due to the nature of criminal cases. In civil cases, alleged victims can drop their claims at any time. But in criminal cases, once the prosecutor decides on a charge, only they can determine whether to pursue the case.
Other Possible Domestic Violence Offenses
While these two crimes are the most common domestic violence crimes, there are other related crimes that prosecutors charge, including:
Are You Facing Domestic Violence Charges In Virginia?
If you were recently arrested for a family violence crime, reach out to the dedicated Fairfax criminal defense lawyers at Robinson Law, PLLC, to immediately get started working on your defense. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we have decades of experience aggressively defending our clients against all types of violent crimes, including family assault cases. We take an individualized approach to every case, working closely with you to determine which defenses are most likely to succeed. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, call 703-542-3616. You can also connect with us through our online contact form. We proudly represent clients in Fairfax, Loudoun, Stafford counties and Suffolk, as well as throughout northern Virginia.