Virginia law makes it illegal for an individual to threaten, attempt to injure, or injure any member of their household or family. If there is a protective order in place and someone violates that you can be charged and convicted of a criminal offense where Virginia law requires you to serve jail time.
According to state law, an individual may be guilty of domestic violence if they use threats, force or violence against someone with whom they live or against any family member. Even sexual assault, stalking, and abduction or kidnapping can be considered domestic violence.
If you are facing charges under these Virginia laws, then you need the services of a Fairfax domestic violence attorney. Remember that it is always a good idea to speak with legal counsel before you speak with the police.
Some people who are accused of domestic violence in Virginia also may be charged with assault and battery which involves crimes where the parties are family or household members and there was an unwanted touching committed in a rude or angry-like manner.
Additionally, it's necessary for citizens to know that under Virginia law, a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to suspect that an individual has committed assault and battery or any other type of domestic violence crime against a member of their household or family MUST make an arrest. Officers will arrest whoever they deem to be the aggressor in the situation. Sometimes the person that called the police for help can be the one arrested because the officer deems that person the aggressor after they have investigated what happened. Virginia takes domestic violence charges seriously, and with officers required to make an arrest if they see evidence of violence, a struggle, or injuries, things can happen really quickly.
One of the things that the alleged victim of domestic violence may try to do is obtain a protective order. If a warrant is issued for criminal charges there is usually a protective order that is issued along with the charges. This is usually good for up to 72 hours and sometimes bans all contact or it may allow for peaceable contact. If all contact is banned, this means you cannot go home or reach out until that order expires.
Even though that one will expire the person can go to court to obtain a preliminary protective order. Preliminary protective orders may be issued without the defendant receiving notice or appearing in court. Once it is issued, you have to be served and then a hearing will be held. A final protective order may be granted after a hearing in court. Violating a protective order may carry serious consequences as it is a separate crime and certain violations may also be charged as contempt of court.
Individuals who are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses can be sentenced up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $2,500. However, a first-time offender of domestic assault and battery may be given a deferred finding where they have a chance for their offense to be dismissed if they obey all conditions of probation and complete all conditions and treatment ordered by the court. Some offenses may be felonies and then you start to face more serious jail time up to 5 years or up to 10 years, and so forth. Every time you violate probation or commit new offenses the penalties can get worse for you.
If you are facing charges under any of Virginia's domestic violence laws, then contact an experienced Fairfax domestic violence attorney at 703-552-8110 who can help you with the defense you need.