In the state of Virginia, convictions for assault and battery against a family or household member may result in penalties in addition to those for regular assault and battery convictions, including the issuance of protective orders and a prohibition on possessing firearms. Repeat offenses also may result in more serious penalties.
Due to the potential implications of a domestic violence conviction, you may wish to consult an Alexandria domestic violence lawyer for advice.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to investigate the facts surrounding your situation, define the options that may be available to you, and help you choose the best strategy for handling your charges. Getting advice when facing domestic violence charges may be the best way to defend yourself.
Under Va. Code § 18.2-57.2, domestic violence, or assault and battery against a family household member, occurs when individuals commit any of the following:
Stalking and sexual assault are separate offenses under Virginia law that also may constitute domestic violence if they involve a family or household member.
For the purposes of domestic violence offenses, Va. Code § 16.1-228 defines family or household members as current or former spouses, immediate family and step-family members, including grandparents, parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren, individuals who share a child, in-laws who reside in the same household, and individuals who have cohabitated during the prior 12 months.
Furthermore, current or former spouses, immediate family and step-family members, and individuals who share a child fall under this definition, regardless as to whether they reside in the same household.
Virginia law establishes assault and battery against a family or household member as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This offense can result in maximum penalties of a 12-month jail sentence and a $2,500 fine. A third or subsequent conviction for certain types of offenses against family or household members, or similar offenses under the laws of another state, that occur within a 20-year period may result in Class 6 felony charges.
Other consequences of a conviction for assault and battery against a family or household member may include prohibitions on carrying firearms under federal law. Individuals also are likely to be subject to a protective order, or an order banning all contact with the family or household member who was the subject of the offense, for as long as two years.
When a court issues a warrant for individuals on charges of assault and battery of a family or household member, the court also will issue an emergency protective order. This order can contain various provisions, but the primary purpose of a protective order is to prohibit all contact between individuals and the complaining family or household members.
A first-time violation of a protective order is a Class 1 misdemeanor according to Va. Code § 18.2-60.4. Subsequent violations of protective orders may include mandatory minimum jail sentences and even felony charges in some instances.
Additionally, if the violation of a protective order occurs while individuals are knowingly armed with a firearm or a deadly weapon, the offense is a Class 6 felony. It is also a Class 6 felony offense if the incident results in bodily injury to any party or if individuals stalk the family or household member.
While charges for assault and battery against a family or household member may be a misdemeanor offense, they still can have substantial consequences for your personal and professional life. Taking the time to contact an Alexandria domestic violence lawyer may be key to avoiding some or all of these repercussions.
You may need the advice of an attorney as you navigate through the complex system of dealing with domestic violence charges. In order to ensure that you comply with all requirements of the court and avoid further charges, getting advice when you need it could be a wise decision for you.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law