Virginia Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you face charges or an indictment of domestic violence in Virginia, it may seem as if your entire world has crashed before your very eyes. Virginia takes the issue of family abuse very seriously, and the penalties associated with a conviction include jail time, fines, probation, restraining orders, or all of the above. Moreover, many violations result in a felony charge rather than a misdemeanor complaint. A family abuse conviction on your record can make it difficult to secure employment as well as obtaining housing or a loan. If you face this situation currently, contact a Virginia domestic violence lawyer at Jezic, Krum & Moyse LLC. immediately to protect your rights and your future.
Because of the intense emotions involved, family abuse charges may be overcharged or based upon false allegations. Even if the charges have some validity, retaining a Virginia domestic violence lawyer can help you reduce the resulting penalties from a conviction. An experienced, caring and knowledgeable Fairfax County domestic violence lawyer will analyze each factor in your specific case and use all available legal resources to build a defense to fight for your rights.
Defining Domestic Violence in Virginia
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the law considers it a crime to injure, attempt to injure, or threaten a member of your family or household. In addition, it is a crime to violate a restraining order.
Virginia calls domestic violence “family abuse.” A person commits family abuse with any act against a family member or household member that involves force, violence or threats, and causes physical harm or places that member in fear, harm or injury. In addition, sexual assault and stalking can constitute family abuse.
Family and household members include spouses, ex-spouses, children, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, in-laws who live in the same home, people who have children together, and people who live together or have lived together in the past year.
Arrests for Domestic Violence
Under Virginia’s statutes, if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe (a reasonable belief) that a person has committed assault and battery against a member of a family or household, or if a person has violated a restraining order, the officer can make an arrest without a warrant, and should take the person into custody.
A protective order, sometimes known as a restraining order, is a court order that requires one person to stay away from and not contact another person.
The courts may issue a preliminary protective order “ex parte,” which means without notifying the defendant or allowing the defendant to appear in court – if there is an immediate danger of domestic violence or if family abuse has recently occurred.
The courts may issue a protective order:
- Prohibiting the accused from contacting the family or household member.
- Prohibiting family abuse or criminal offenses.
- Granting the victim possession of the shared residence.
- Requiring the accused to maintain or restore residential utility services.
- Requiring the accused to provide housing for the victim or other household members.
- Granting the victim temporary possession of a vehicle.
The preliminary order takes effect when the accused is served and remains in effect until a hearing takes place. A hearing must be conducted within 15 days of the preliminary order; however, the court can delay it for up to six months if warranted. After the hearing, the court will decide whether to issue a final protective order. In the final protective order, the court can:
- Grant, require, or prohibit any relief available in a preliminary protective order
- Order the respondent to participate in treatment or counseling
- Grant attorney’s fees, and
- Order temporary child support.
- A final protective order remains in effect for set period, up to two years.
If law enforcement questions you about any involvement in a domestic violence crime, charges you with a felony or misdemeanor offense, or arrests you on a criminal complaint, you have a Constitutional right to have an attorney. Prior to answering questions or providing any statements to law enforcement, contact Clifford Clapp at Jezic & Moyse, LLC., so that he can advise you immediately on how to protect your rights. Through diligence, experience and integrity, he will seek every option to resolve your case through acquittal, dismissal, reduced charges or the lightest sentence.