Domestic violence is a grave issue in Virginia. An accusation of domestic violence can have serious repercussions under both the state’s criminal and civil codes, as well as a wide range of potential consequences on your personal life. Domestic violence charges could potentially lead to a loss of custody of your children, confinement under a restraining order, and a significant loss of standing in your local community.
The attorneys of Williams Stone, PC, provide domestic violence defense representation to those accused of domestic violence offenses in Virginia. Our criminal attorneys have more than 50 years of professional legal experience handling all types of criminal defense matters as well as civil cases, and charges of domestic violence often result in both civil and criminal proceedings against the accused. When you need legal counsel to fight unjust or wrongful charges of domestic violence, we are here to help.
Understanding Domestic Violence
The term “domestic violence” under Virginia state law applies to any act of violence committed against a family or household member. Domestic violence can also apply to nonviolent yet threatening and abusive actions such as stalking, emotional abuse, and threats. Some of the most common examples of domestic violence seen in American society today include:
- Physical or sexual abuse of a family or household member
- Forceful detention and isolation of a family or household member
- Threats, intimidation, or forceful coercion
- Assault and battery.
This list is not exhaustive, and domestic violence can potentially take many forms. These situations can lead to civil claims for any resulting damages as well as criminal prosecution from the state of Virginia.
While many stereotypes compel law enforcement officers and court officials to assume men are the most likely aggressors of domestic violence, the reality is that both men and women commit acts of domestic violence throughout the United States at comparable rates. Ultimately, it is essential to seek legal representation as soon as possible when facing such charges to avoid the severe consequences a conviction of domestic violence might entail.
Potential Punishments for Domestic Violence in Virginia
Virginia state prosecutors tend to scrutinize domestic violence accusations heavily and pursue these cases aggressively. Virginia state law requires law enforcement officers who respond to a call concerning a domestic violence issue to arrest the person accused of the offense to protect the alleged victim. Unfortunately, many cases of domestic violence can be challenging to prove at first, especially when there is a lack of eyewitnesses to the event in question.
A conviction for domestic violence can have a variety of consequences depending on the severity of the offense. For example, a conviction for domestic assault and battery qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia state law and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If an individual is convicted of domestic violence three or more times in 10 years, the crime is escalated to a Class 6 felony, and the convicted individual may face five or more years in prison. While stalking may be technically nonviolent, it still carries the same punishment terms as domestic assault and battery.
When an individual is convicted of a domestic abuse offense, the judge overseeing the case will issue a protective order that prohibits the offender from having any contact with the victim or the victim’s family and household members. If you are wrongfully convicted of domestic violence, this could amount to being unable to return to your own home and being separated from your children.
Defending Against an Accusation of Domestic Violence
Despite any lingering public perception of an accusation of domestic violence, the Virginia court must investigate such a charge, and the prosecution must prove that domestic violence occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. If you face a charge of domestic violence, your defense attorney must help you prove that the prosecution has failed to meet this standard of proof or failed to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate the charges against you.
Other potential defenses against a charge of domestic violence could include providing evidence that the alleged event did not occur or that you acted in self-defense, and your accuser was the aggressor in the situation in question.
Domestic violence charges can lead to very serious consequences for you and your family. When you are facing a wrongful accusation of domestic violence, or if you acted in self-defense and your attacker attempts to paint you as the one responsible for causing the issue in question, you need reliable legal counsel on your side as soon as possible.
Contact Williams Stone, PC Now
As your attorneys, the legal team of Williams Stone, PC, will thoroughly investigate the charges against you and uncover all evidence that proves the allegations are false or have been misconstrued. Contact our firm today by calling or sending us an email to schedule a consultation with an experienced Northern Virginia domestic violence defense attorney and discuss your legal options.