Essentially, Virginia defines domestic violence as any attempt to cause physical harm to a family member or member of one’s household. Furthermore, threats and intimidation can also be classified as forms of domestic violence in Fairfax County, even if nobody is physically hurt as a result. A domestic violence charge could be placed on a person for something as seemingly minor as threatening a spouse or disobeying a personal protection order.
Furthermore, acts of violence including hitting, sexual assault, and even stalking might be considered acts of domestic violence. If you are accused or charged of domestic violence, a dedicated Fairfax domestic violence lawyer can help protect your rights.
Virginia law defines a family member as anybody who is related by blood to the alleged assailant. Furthermore, anybody who has been living with the person for a year or more is considered to be a member of the household regardless of relation, and thus qualifies the same as a family member for purposes of domestic abuse. Family membership can also be established by marriage, so a victim of domestic violence does not necessarily have to be related by blood.
Children, parents, and grandparents are also included as possible victims of domestic violence, even though it has been statistically proven in Virginia that significant others and spouses are the most common victims of domestic violence.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, a domestic violence charge is considered to be a Class 1 misdemeanor. Those convicted of such a crime can serve up to a year in jail and may be required to pay up to $2,500 in fines. This is, of course, not including court costs and other related expenses.
Domestic violence charges can arise from a number of situations, including violation of a civil protection order by illegally contacting the person under which the order is held, going to a prohibited place such as that person’s home, or any type of alleged family abuse. All a police officer needs is probable cause to believe that any of the above was committed in order to arrest and charge a person with domestic violence.
Upon a third or further domestic violence offense, the possible punishments become even more serious. If all the incidents occurred within a period of 20 years, and each incident occurred on a different date, Virginia considers domestic violence to be a felony offense punishable by prison time.
As a result, those charged with felony domestic violence tend to lose any jobs that they may have had, suffer damage to the relationships they have with family members and friends, and end up in dire financial shape upon serving their sentences. Court fines and fees may further complicate one’s financial distress.
Aside from possible jail time and fines, anybody with a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence conviction in Virginia may be automatically prohibited from owning a firearm. A felony conviction can even result in the loss of voting privileges, in addition to difficulty when it comes to obtaining employment.
A Fairfax County domestic violence charge of any kind can have massive negative repercussions on a person’s life for years or even decades to come. These charges, be they misdemeanor or felony, remain on a person’s criminal record for the rest of his or her life; it is extraordinarily difficult to have charges expunged once a conviction has occurred.
Criminal Defense for Domestic Violence Charges
As you can see, a domestic violence charge is not something that should be taken lightly. If you have recently been arrested and charged with domestic violence of any kind, the best thing that you can do for yourself at this juncture is to hire an experienced and dedicated Fairfax domestic violence lawyer.
One who has had success with domestic violence cases in the past and who understands the distinctive qualities of the Fairfax County courts and authorities. Working with a seasoned legal advocate greatly increases one’s chances of having their charges reduced or dropped altogether. If you need assistance with other criminal charges, learn more about the services Steve Duckett provides in Fairfax here.
Contact a Fairfax Domestic Violence Attorney Today
Overall, Virginia takes domestic violence charges very seriously. Therefore, if you want your charge to have the smallest possible impact on your life, your freedom, and your relationships with others, you need a capable defense attorney to handle the matter.
A Fairfax domestic violence lawyer is committed to providing devoted legal representation to individuals facing domestic violence charges in Fairfax County, and throughout Northern Virginia. Call his office today for a free initial consultation on how to start building the top-quality defense you need.