Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer
Virginia Domestic Violence Laws
Generally defined, domestic violence occurs when one partner in a relationship exhibits certain patterns of behavior that put the other partner in fear of harm or actually causes injury. In Virginia, as in all other states across the nation, these matters are taken very seriously. If you've been charged with a domestic violence offense, you could be facing severe conviction penalties and other negative consequences. Not only can being found guilty result in imprisonment, but it will lead to a permanent criminal record, which can affect your ability to get a job, find housing, or qualify for government benefits. Additionally, you could lose certain rights such as that to possess or own a firearm. With the stakes so high, attempting to handle your case on your own could prove costly.
At The Law Office of Ann Thayer, PLLC, our domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax is extremely knowledgeable of current law and works hard to build a strong defense for each client. We will thoroughly review your situation and work toward a favorable result, such as having charges dropped or the case dismissed.
We offer a free consultation in our office or by phone. Call (703) 940-0001 to arrange an appointment.
What Are Considered Domestic Violence Offenses?
As mentioned earlier, you could be accused of committing a domestic violence crime when you harm or threaten to harm someone with whom you're in a relationship.
According to Virginia law, a victim of domestic abuse could be any of the following family or household members:
- Spouse or former spouse (whether or not they live with the alleged abuser)
- Relatives by blood or marriage (whether or not they live together), including parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, biological siblings, half-siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren
- In-laws who live with the alleged abuser
- People who have a child together (whether or not they're married or have lived together)
- Roommates who currently live together or who have lived together within the past 12 months (this includes children either of the roommates had)
Again, an offense that puts any of the individuals mentioned above at risk of injury or actually causes injury can be considered a domestic violence offense.
In Virginia, a few types of domestic violence offenses include:
- Malicious wounding or unlawful wounding: This offense is defined as causing bodily injury to someone by any means, including shooting, stabbing, or cutting with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill them.
- Aggravated malicious wounding: The behaviors criminalized under this statute are the same as those for malicious wounding; however, the offense is elevated because the action resulted in severe injury and the alleged victim is permanently and significantly physically impaired.
- Malicious bodily injury by a caustic substance: A person commits this offense when they give someone a caustic substance, such as acid or lye, or they use an explosive or fire to cause bodily injury to someone else.
- Strangulation: This offense occurs when someone blocks another person's airway or blood circulation by choking them, and the individual is injured as a result.
- Assault and battery: This offense occurs when someone threatens bodily harm against another and makes physical contact with them to complete that threat. When this is committed as a domestic offense, it's charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the alleged perpetrator was convicted 2 or more times in the past 20 years of this crime or any of those listed above, the charge is elevated to a Class 6 felony.
- Abduction: Using threats, intimidation, or deception to take away someone's personal liberties or to unlawfully hide them is an offense.
- Stalking: It is an offense to engage in behavior, on more than one occasion, that puts another person in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.
Because Virginia's statutes are concerned with ensuring the safety of its residents, if anyone tries to prevent an alleged victim from calling the police for a domestic violence matter, they could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. The law states that it is illegal to maliciously interfere with making a call by destroying any type of device used for such communication.
Domestic Violence Legal Counsel from Attorney Ann Thayer
When police respond to a domestic violence call, the process is different than with a simple assault and battery case involving strangers. If there is sufficient probable cause that an assault occurred in situations involving family or household members, Virginia law requires that police officers arrest the alleged aggressor. Unfortunately, this can result in people being charged with crimes as a result of a heated argument.
One of the first things to do after an arrest is to contact a criminal defense attorney with experience handling domestic assault and battery matters. Our Fairfax lawyer takes the time to get to know the facts of your circumstances, thoroughly explains your legal options, and provides the information you need to make informed decisions about your defense. We will be committed to protecting your rights and freedoms.