Pre-Trial Release in Virginia Domestic Violence Cases
When a judge considers issuing a pre-trial release of whether or not to release a person on bond in advance of their trial, the judge generally considers two main factors. The first is whether or not the person is a risk of flight. That means whether or not a person is going to be likely or not likely to show up at court for their trial.
Some of the things that the court looks at when determining whether or not a person is risk of flight is whether or not they have close ties to the community, that they have lived here for a long time, that they own a residence or lives here in a certain residence in that county for a lengthy period of time, whether they have employment in the area, general family ties.
The second issue and perhaps the most important in domestic violence cases is whether or not the person is a risk to the community and, specifically, to the person who has accused them of this crime.
Courts will look at whether or not there is any history of violence between the parties. Very often, the court will consider the wishes of the complaining witness in determining whether or not a person should be released on bond. Additionally, victims come and stand next in court asking the judge or prosecution to release the person who is charged on bond. That variable is certainly huge in the defendants.
Conditions of Pre-Trial Release in Virginia
Some cases might derive themselves from certain substance abuse issues like if the assault took place when one or both parties were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, under those conditions and under those circumstances, the judge might set a condition that a person must abstain from drugs or alcohol while they’re out on bond or perhaps might even order them into a pre-trial supervision program, which would require them to be monitored and perhaps even entered into a substance abuse evaluation or treatment.
Under other circumstances, if the court is concerned about the well-being of the complaining witness, the judge might order that the accused person have no contact with the complaining witness in any way, shape or form or perhaps might order only limited contact, perhaps electronic or telephonic in nature.
Those are some of the conditions that might be present when a person is released pending a trial for domestic violence.
Simply put, it means that the accused person can have no contact with a complaining witness and, sometimes, the complaining witness and their families. It depends entirely upon the nature of the charges and, specifically, the wishes of the complaining witness. Sometimes, the complaining witness will only want certain types of contact but not in person. Other times, the person might want no contact, whatsoever of any kind.
Aspects of a No-Contact Order
The primary reason is because if the court finds out about it, they will revoke their bond and sit in jail while awaiting the trial but the secondary reason and perhaps just as important is that failing to abide by that no-contact order gives a pretty clear signal to the court that an individual does not respect the court, or its orders, or, for that matter, the privacy and well-being of the complaining witness. This will very often result in a much less favorable treatment at the actual trial for the underlying assault that a person has been charged with.
Contact with Family and Friends
If a judge issues a no-contact order and no contact of any kind, that usually includes third-party contact, which means that if a no-contact order is issued, then a person’s family or friends cannot contact that other person.
Violating a No-Contact Order
If there is a no-contact order in place and the court is made aware of this fact, then the court will almost always revoke that person’s bond and then that person will have to sit in jail while they are awaiting for their day in court to try the case.
Contact an Attorney
Getting the help from a lawyer regarding a pre-trial release is important. A domestic violence charge should not be fought alone and can lead to devastating results. Please contact an experienced lawyer today.