Virginia Domestic Violence Lawyer

VA Law 18,2-57.2 Explained

Virginia Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic assault in Virginia is defined as the commission of assault and battery against a family member or household member. Under VA Law 18.2-57.2, a domestic violence charge is a class 1 misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in jail.

In addition to facing criminal prosecution, the alleged offender may be named in a restraining order in Virginia, also known as an order of protection.

Domestic Assault and Battery Defined

The following crimes are considered family offenses when committed between parent and child, current or former spouse, or family member:

  • First- and second-degree harassment
  • Aggravated harassment in the second degree
  • Sexual misconduct
  • First, second, third, and fourth-degree stalking
  • Forcible touching
  • Infliction of injuries
  • Attempted infliction of injury
  • Threatening to inflict injuries
  • Reckless endangerment
  • First and second-degree strangulation
  • Menacing in the second and third-degree
  • Assault in the second and third-degree
  • Attempted assault and battery

Virginia’s Laws for Arresting for Domestic Assault

Unlike regular assault and battery cases, the law requires police officers to treat domestic violence charges in Virginia uniquely. Under domestic violence Virginia law, a police officer will execute an arrest if s/he believes sufficiently that a predominant aggressor committed the assault.

The police have the responsibility of filing charges against a predominant physical aggressor when it comes to domestic violence charges, unlike simple assault charges, where the victim has to file the case. But the police must make the arrest considering the entirety of the circumstances.

Suppose the alleged offender has left the scene before the officer arrives, and the police believe that a person has violated Va Law 18.2-57.2. The officer should obtain an arrest warrant from the magistrate.

When an officer responds to the magistrate to obtain the warrant, the officer shall appear as the complainant.

Can a Victim Drop the Charges FOR Domestic Violence Charges?

In a domestic assault or battery case, where the complainant is a family or household member, it is common to hear that the alleged victim has changed her mind about the prosection and wishes to drop the charges.

This isn’t always easy.

If the victim didn’t bring the charges, but instead the Commonwealth of Virginia did, the prosecutor has absolute control of the domestic assault and battery charges. For that reason, the victim does not control the domestic violence case.

The victim, on the other hand, has access to the victim’s advocates to deal with the stresses of court procedures, but advocates are not domestic violence lawyers. They cannot advise victims fully of their rights and options.

Therefore, a victim needs to consult with their independent private attorney, who can advise them of their rights since the prosecuting attorney’s interest conflicts with the victim’s interest.

A domestic violence misdemeanor can convert into a felony charge if the domestic abuse becomes frequent, the victim undergoes more injuries, or if the defendant has previously been charged with a domestic violence misdemeanor.

Virginia Assault Case Defined

Family Abuse

This is an act a person commits against a family or household member involving violence or threat that results in bodily injury or causes a reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.

Such acts include, but are not limited to:

  • Any forceful detention
  • Stalking
  • Criminal sexual assault,
  • Any act that causes physical injury or results in significant fear of death or bodily injury

Family or household member, according to VA Laws, entails:

  1. Current spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home
  2. Former spouse, regardless of whether sharing the household or not
  3. A person with marriage or blood ties
  4. The person’s parent, children,  stepparent, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, step-brother, step-sister, grandparent, and grandchildren, regardless of whether the person resides in the same home with the person
  5. The person’s in-laws, who live in the same household as the person
  6. A person who one has a child with
  7. Any individual who cohabits or who within the previous twelve months cohabited with the person and any children of either of them residing in the same home with the person

Predominant Physical Aggressor Determination

More often, the predominant physical aggressor is the first disputant to engage in assaultive behavior. But that isn’t always the case. Legislation requires the police to examine each claim of violence separately to identify the predominant physical aggressor, considering the entirety of the circumstance.

Determine a Predominant Physical Aggressor for Violation of VA Code. 18.2-57.2: Standards used

In determining whether a person is a primary aggressor, the officer must consider the following but not limited factors below:

  1. Who was the first aggressor
  2. Household members account regarding the history of domestic violence
  3. Initial charges of domestic violence that the offender abused
  4. The relative seriousness of the physical injuries on each person involved in the incidence
  5. If the injuries were inflicted in self-defense
  6. Statement of the witness
  7. Other observations

Protective Order Virginia

An emergency protective order is a legal document issued by a judge to protect the health and safety of the alleged victim of domestic violence. A protective order can:

In Virginia, there are three kinds of emergency protective orders that a court can issue:

  • Emergency Protective Order

This expires after three days following the issuance or the next course day in session.

  • Preliminary Protective Order

Valid for up to 15 days or until the full hearing

  • Final Protective Order

It can last for a maximum of 2 years

Obtaining A Virginia Domestic Violence Lawyer

If you’re criminally charged with domestic violence charges against a household member,  you should speak with a domestic violence lawyer immediately. What’s more, talk with an attorney if you’re facing allegations of violating the order of protection in Virginia.

This is because an order of protection can affect your property and parental rights and might impose financial obligations. At its worst, a criminal conviction can result in incarceration.

Select a prestigious Virginia domestic violence lawyer, Jad Sarsour, to evaluate the accusation against you and provide invaluable guidance while working to protect your rights and ensure the best outcome: felony domestic violence lawyer, domestic abuse lawyer, assault on family member lawyer.

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