Prosecution of Domestic Violence in Fairfax
Once a Fairfax domestic violence case goes to court, it is up to the prosecutor to decide whether to go forward with that prosecution. In order to make this decision the prosecutor will weigh the evidence that was collected by the police, discuss the case with the alleged victim and ultimately, there, on the spot, make the determination as to whether or not the case is something that they want to bring in to court.
Bringing a Case
The decision to bring a case against a person accused of committing domestic violence really starts before a prosecutor sees the case. As soon as the police are called regarding a domestic disturbance, the police determine if an assault has occurred and who is going to be arrested. Once an individual is arrested, then that person will be charged in court.
Many of the variables that go into the decision include the kind of evidence, the kind of injuries that might have been sustained, if any, and the will of the complaining witness or alleged victim as to what should happen. However, even in cases where the alleged victim comes to court and says that they no longer want to move forward with the case, ultimately, the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute lies with the prosecutor and not the victim. This means that even if that person comes to court and says that they want the charges dismissed, they still might not be dismissed based upon the discretion of the prosecutor.
What a Prosecutor Must Prove
If the case proceeds to trial in Fairfax, the prosecutor must prove two things. One, that an assault took place between the defendant and the alleged victim. Two, that the alleged victim and the defendant are linked somehow under Virginia law as a family member. A family member can mean a number of different things under the law and it is really quite different or can be quite different than what most people think it means.
A family member for example, under Virginia law, can mean a person with whom an individual resided at some point within the last 12 months. So if a person has allegedly assaulted a roommate, to whom they are not related to by blood or marriage, they can still be charged with domestic assault against that person because they have cohabited together within the last 12 months.
Putting an Alleged Victim on the Stand
It can be a benefit or a challenge to put an alleged victim on the stand. It depends entirely upon the facts of the case and the predilection of the alleged victim to go forward with the case.
If the facts are that the alleged victim is going to testify that an assault took place and goes in to graphic detail about that assault, it is obviously a challenge because there will be testimony as to the actual crime that supposedly took place. It can, however, be beneficial if the person makes inconsistent statements while testifying or says something that can easily be proven to be false on cross examination or through the introduction of other evidence.
Overall, it really depends on the facts and circumstances of the case is to be whether it’s a benefit or a challenge.