Domestic violence is a serious charge that could result in an individual losing their civil liberties if convicted. Allegations alone can result in a person having an emergency protective order issued against them, which prohibits all contact with the person for whom the order is issued.
If the parties to the order live together, it could leave the accused without a place to live until the order is lifted, can prohibit the person from visiting with family and friends, and if both parties are employed by the same employer, it could limit the accused’s ability to report to work. The consequences of a domestic violence allegation and conviction can impact most areas of the involved parties’ lives. If you are facing a domestic violence accusation, it is beneficial to work with a Fredericksburg domestic violence lawyer because it can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. It is essential that you obtain local legal representation. En Español.
Domestic violence is assault and battery against a person with whom the accused has a familial relationship, an intimate relationship, cohabitates with, or previously cohabitated with. That includes communicating threats and engaging in violence that causes physical abuse or creates a reasonable fear of imminent harm.
In addition to spouses and former spouses or partners, abuse of a parent, a person with whom the accused has a child, a sibling, or a roommate constitutes domestic violence. Moreover, while the Commonwealth’s Attorney can choose to charge the accused with domestic violence if another charge for the same incident is more harshly penalized, that attorney is not prohibited from charging the accused with the more serious offense.
An emergency order of protection may be issued by a judge or magistrate when a police officer or the accuser contends, under oath, that the accuser was or is subjected to violence, force, or threats from the accused. If from that information, the judge or magistrate finds the accuser is in probable danger from the accused, the judge or magistrate may issue an emergency order of protection. These are typically granted without the accused or their legal advocate present.
Emergency protective orders are valid for three days unless the third day falls on a day when courts are not in session, in which case, the order expires on the following business day. Once the accused becomes aware of the emergency order, they can request a hearing to modify or dissolve the order. The accused must have notice and the right to participate in a hearing on whether a permanent order of protection is to be issued after the expiration of the emergency order. A Fredericksburg domestic violence lawyer can make sure that the rights of the accused are protected throughout this process.
For first-time offenders in Virginia, domestic violence is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The penalties include fines up to $2,500 and up to 12 months’ incarceration, or both. The potential penalties increase after the second offense. As a third offense that has occurred within 10 years of a prior offense, the penalties for domestic violence increase substantially.
Domestic violence is then elevated from a Class 1 Misdemeanor to a Class 6 Felony. Class 6 Felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison, or in the court’s discretion up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
When someone is facing domestic violence charges, it can be life-altering. There is a negative social stigma associated with domestic violence so it is essential that the person consults a knowledgeable lawyer to begin building a strong defense case.
Facing domestic violence charges can be a very difficult situation to deal with. That is why you do not have to do it alone. Talk to a Fredericksburg domestic violence lawyer who can counsel you and help you to decide the next best steps going forward.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law