Fairfax Domestic Violence and Assault Defense Strategies
If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is essential that you obtain a lawyer who is knowledgeable about the different Fairfax domestic violence and assault defense strategies. Domestic violence charges carry significant penalties and can severely impact your life. People who are convicted of domestic violence face jail time, expensive penalties, and other long-term consequences. Therefore, it is essential that you reach out to a seasoned domestic violence lawyer to learn how an attorney could build a strong defense for you.
Where are Domestic Violence Cases Heard?
Domestic assault and battery cases are treated differently than regular assault and battery. These distinctions impact the Fairfax domestic violence and assault defense strategies. The main difference is that they are handled in different courts. Domestic cases are handled in the juvenile and domestic relations district court. Typically, regular assault cases originate in the general district court. Domestic violence assault cases may also be handled distinctively from regular assault cases in that the procedures are going to be different. There are different options, by law, available to the parties as far as how the cases are going to be resolved. Also, the prosecutors may be different. Many jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, assign specific prosecutors that have specialized in training and experience in dealing with domestic violence cases.
How the Commonwealth Proceeds with the Case
In domestic violence cases, there may be the presence of witness coordinators. Witness coordinators are employees of the commonwealth attorney’s office who assist the alleged harmed individual and help them understand their rights in addition to acting as an intermediary between the prosecutor and the harmed person. This is useful if the alleged harmed person has an opinion that is contrary to the interests of the commonwealth, as the prosecutor can then decide how they want to proceed with the case.
This commonly arises in a domestic violence context, however, the commonwealth’s duty is not to simply listen to the alleged harmed individual and do whatever that person wants, it is to decide what is in the best interests of the commonwealth. The prosecutor will balance the harmed person’s desire of what to do with their own training and experience and then decide whether to proceed with the process.
Building a Defense for Domestic Violence and Assault Charges
The defense strategy may differ if someone is charged with domestic assault and battery or regular assault and battery. Some of the differences would deal with options that are available in lieu of a conviction. If someone is charged with assault and battery, a common disposition that may be available to resolve the case may be a doctrine known as Accord and Satisfaction.
This particular doctrine is not available in domestic cases. There may also be other doctrines, such as a peace bond, that is usually not available in domestic cases, but the domestic cases have one option that is available in their cases and is not in regular assault and battery cases. This is the ability to implement Virginia Code, Section 18.2-57.3, which allows for a deferred prosecution or a deferred finding if someone is charged with domestic violence as a first offense.
A deferred finding allows the court to receive enough information that the defendant could be found guilty but if the court does not make a finding of guilt, then the case gets dismissed. This is one of the common Fairfax domestic violence and assault defense strategies that is not available in typical assault cases.