Domestic Assault and Battery Charges
Many people do not realize that if police respond to a call involving a domestic matter, they will almost always arrest at least one person involved in the situation. Law Enforcement are responsible for determining who the initial aggressor was and if a determination can be made they will arrest that person, even if that person was the one who called 911 and asked for assistance.
It is not up to the other party if they want to file charges, and once charges are brought only the prosecutor can decide to drop them. If you find yourself in this situation you will need to contact a lawyer to speak to the prosecutor about having the charges dropped.
Virginia Domestic Assault and Battery
Domestic assault and battery in Virginia is a normal assault and battery committed against a family or household member. In Virginia, you may be charged with domestic assault and battery under a wider range of circumstances than you might expect.
Who is Considered a Family or Household Member for a Virginia Domestic Assault and Battery Charge?
While many people think of domestic violence as a crime committed against a spouse or live-in partner, the Virginia statute extends much further. A "family or household member" includes:
- Spouse, regardless of residence (meaning whether they currently live together or not);
- Ex-spouse, regardless of residence;
- In-laws who live in the same home;
- People who have a child in common regardless of residence;
- Parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, sisters, half-sisters, brothers, half-brothers, grandchildren, and grandparents, also regardless of residence;
- The mother or father of the individual's child, regardless of residence;
- People who currently live together or have lived together within the past 12 months, as well as their children.
What is an Assault and Battery for a Virginia Domestic Assault and Battery Charge?
A battery in Virginia is any unwanted, harmful, or offensive touching done in a rude or angry manner. It does not have to cause any injury to be a battery. An assault in Virginia occurs when someone threatens to commit a battery (a harmful or offensive touching), or attempting to commit a battery.
Therefore, in Virginia an assault can occur if the offender threatened a harmful or offensive touching against the victim and had the apparent present ability to do so, and it can also occur by an attempt to commit a harmful or offensive touching.
Penalties and Programs for a Virginia Domestic Assault and Battery Charge
An assault and/or battery against a family or household member in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
There is also a 2 year first offender program for this charge but entry into the program can result in the same consequences as a conviction.
Some possible consequences include but are not limited to, loss of employment, loss of a security clearance, inability to purchase or possess a firearm, as well as serious immigration consequences for anyone who is not a citizen. Never enter into this program without first speaking with an attorney.
DC Domestic Assault and Battery - Domestic Violence
In DC, domestic violence is not one specific charge but instead includes several criminal charges that may be classified as domestic violence depending on the nature of the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim.
For example, if crime is allegedly committed against a roommate, spouse, ex-spouse, romantic partner, or ex-spouse's new boyfriend or girlfriend, then that assault would be considered domestic violence because of the nature of their relationship.
In other words, domestic violence and assault are not charged differently in DC. The nature of the relationship between the people involved determines whether an assault will be considered an act of domestic violence.
Additionally, even if the relationship of the people involved makes the case a domestic violence case, it is not a separate crime so a person cannot be charged with both domestic violence and assault. It is simply a category of assault that will determine where and how the case is handled.
Why You Need An Attorney With Experience Both in Family Law and Criminal Defense
A person charged with an offense related to domestic violence can find themselves not only charged with a crime, but also removed from their home for a period of time and cut off from their children and family. That is why a defendant in this situation needs a Virginia criminal defense attorney with extensive experience not only in criminal law but also in domestic relations matters.
At Chludzinski & Mitchell, PLLC our firm's strong emphasis on Criminal and Family Law gives our criminal defense attorneys a distinct advantage in domestic assault and battery and protective order cases.
Protective Order Hearing
It is especially important to have a lawyer experienced in both criminal and family law to court for the protective order hearing. In every domestic assault and battery case an emergency protective order is issued immediately, preventing the accused from returning to their home or having contact with their significant other and often their children as well.
A hearing will be held for a determination on whether a more permanent protective order should be put in place. It is extremely important that obtain an experienced criminal defense and family law attorney for this hearing. You must show up prepared to address the issues of custody and child support, if applicable. Failing to show up prepared to address these issues could result in overpaying on child support for years to come.
False Allegations Used to Obtain Leverage in a Divorce
Domestic Assault and Battery cases can have lasting ramifications both on yourself, your reputation, and possible future divorce proceedings. There are countless victims of domestic abuse that need compassion and protection. Which is why it is so unfortunate that this is one of the most abused charges criminal defense attorneys see.
Has your significant other filled a domestic assault and battery case against you that you know is NOT true? In doing so did she gain possession of the marital home and children? Have you been separated from your children for days or weeks and desperate to see them? If so, your ex has likely brought these charges to gain an advantage in your pending or future divorce proceedings. There are things you can do if your find yourself in this situation. It is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney with experience handling these types of cases as soon as possible.
The Combined Experience You Need - Contact Us Today
No matter what your situation Domestic Assault and Battery charges are serious, and you should NEVER go to court without an attorney by your side. At C&M Law we have the combined experience needed to defend you from the allegations against you, while also protecting your rights at home. Contact us today for a free consultation.