In Virginia, acts of assault or abuse against a family or household member, which is defined by statute, are prosecuted in the juvenile and domestic relations district court. This is the case even if both the defendant (the person charged) and the complainant (the victim) are adults. Family or household members typically involve married couples, partners cohabiting together, persons with children in common, siblings, step-parent/child, and parent-child relationships.
Virginia has a first offender program for those charged with Domestic Assault. This program can result in the charge ultimately being dismissed. Though dismissed, the charge will remain on your record as "dismissed." The program is one time only, meaning if you are charged again with Domestic Assault you cannot receive the benefit of the program a second time. Also, this program only applies to misdemeanor assault cases and must have the approval of the court. There is no guarantee the prosecutor will recommend the program or that the court will consent. A first offense domestic assault charge does carry a potential jail sentence of up to 12 months. If you are charged with Domestic Assault, call George Freeman today. Mr. Freeman has handled hundreds of cases in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Fairfax County and is a seasoned Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor Domestic Assault, this conviction may prohibit you from possessing a firearm under federal law. Though such a conviction does not prohibit you from possessing a firearm under Virginia law, it will still be a federal violation to possess a firearm if the assault was against an intimate partner, former partner, or against a child by a parent or guardian. To read about the federal definition of "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence," click here.
Domestic Assault convictions can also result in the entry of a Protective Order. Such an order could bar the respondent (the defendant in the criminal case) from contacting the petitioner (the victim in the criminal case), residing in the shared residence, or having contact with any other family or household members. And, if you are subject to a Protective Order, Virginia law prohibits you from possessing or purchasing/transporting a firearm. You can see the penalties are potentially severe. If you need an experienced Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney, call George Freeman today.
More serious conduct against a family or household member could be charged as a felony. If convicted, you would suffer all of the consequences associated with a felony - the loss of the right to vote, the right to possess a firearm, and could be subject to confinement in the penitentiary. To read about Violent Crimes, click here. To read about Virginia's Maiming statutes, click here. To read about Abduction and Kidnapping, click here.
Domestic Violence involves parties that know each other quite well and revolves around circumstances where emotions run high. The intervention of the Commonwealth (through the criminal justice system) into the home can be overwhelming, frustrating, and sometimes totally necessary. Mitigation of the offense and repair to the family unit can clash with the goals of the Commonwealth - convict and punish. It is important for anyone involved in a Domestic Violence dispute to seek a Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer so they can best prepare how to handle what is often an intimate, personal, familial crisis.
Whether you are the victim of domestic violence or accused, legal counsel can assist you in deciding how best to proceed. George Freeman is an experienced Domestic Assault, Domestic Violence Attorney and will be happy to meet with you and discuss your case.