Domestic Violence Lawyers in Virginia
Domestic violence is not something the Virginia legal system takes lightly. In fact, Virginia Code § 19.2-81.3 states that if the police have probable cause to believe that a person has committed an act of domestic violence, the police can arrest that person without a warrant; one of the few exceptions to Virginia’s rule that officers must obtain an arrest warrant before arresting a person if the officer did not personally see the crime occur.
Because of the stigma attached to domestic violence cases, a conviction can have long term effects on your life outside of just the immediate punishments.
What is considered domestic violence in Virginia?
Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2 considers domestic violence to be assault and battery against a family or household member. Assault is a threat that puts another person in reasonable fear of imminent harm; “imminent” meaning immediate harm. Battery is the offensive touching of another person, even if the contact was not violent—the contact just has to be offensive or unwanted.
Look here for a full discussion on Virginia assault and battery laws.
What are the penalties for domestic violence in Virginia?
Assault and battery against a family or household member is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted of this crime, you could face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
However, because the of Virginia’s heightened sensitivity to domestic violence, multiple convictions for domestic violence can result in much more serious punishments. If you are convicted of assault and battery against a family or household member three or more times, your charge will become a Class 6 felony. If convicted of a Class 6 felony, you face a mandatory minimum of a year in jail and could face up to five years in prison.
Who does Virginia consider to be family or household members?
The Virginia legal system considers the following to be family or household members, regardless of whether these people live with the defendant:
- Former spouse
- Parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren
- Any individual who has a child in common with defendant
- Any person who lives with, or lived with, the defendant in the past year
For consultation on a Virginia Domestic Violence offense, call (202) 846-0385 today!
Types of Protection Orders
In Virginia, there are few different types of protection orders one can get from a judge. These orders can require different things depending on the contents of the order. Violating a protective order will result in punishment, including potential prison time.
Emergency Protective Order
An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) can be granted without a hearing and only lasts for 72 hours. Typically, an EPO is requested every time a law enforcement officer makes an arrest for domestic assault and battery, or the officer has reason to believe abuse has happened or will happen.
Preliminary Protective Order
A Preliminary Protective Order (PPO) can be requested by a victim of abuse, or when a person believes that they are in immediate danger of becoming a victim of abuse. A PPO can explicitly prohibit abuse and/or contact between a victim and defendant. A PPO may be issued with only the petitioner present, but the order must set a date for a full hearing with both parties that occurs within 15 days of the PPO being issued.
Upon a full hearing with both parties present, a judge can issue a Protective Order (PO). A PO can have a number of different provisions, including prohibiting abuse and/or contact between parties, granting residence to the victim, and ordering temporary custody of children. POs have a specified length of time that the PO is in effect. POs can be enforced for up to two years, and can be extended upon a new hearing at the end of the specified time.
Talk to a criminal defense expert today. Call (202) 846-0385 or contact us right away.
What happens if someone violates a protection order?
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-60.4, violating any provision of a protective order is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you are convicted of violating a protective order, you could face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
If you are found to have violated a provision of a protective order twice within five years, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of sixty days in prison.
A third conviction for violation of a protective order within twenty years is a Class 6 felony. This means you could face a mandatory minimum of a year in jail and could face up to five years in prison.
Hiring a Virginia Domestic Violence Lawyer
Because of the heightened sensitivity to domestic violence cases by the Virginia legal system and the immense social stigma that comes with a domestic violence conviction, it is important that you are defended by an attorney that has experience in dealing with the Virginia courts. Even in cases where the complaining witness (the victim) does not want to pursue the case, the Virginia government may still try for a conviction.
Attorney Jay Mykytiuk has over a decade of experience defending the people of Virginia in domestic violence cases as both a public defender and a private practitioner. Attorney Mykytiuk will thoroughly investigate the charges against you and provide you with the best possible defense based on the facts of your situation. The Virginia legal system is tough and unforgiving. If you have been arrested in Northern Virginia for any of the discussed domestic violence crimes or any other crime, contact Attorney Mykytiuk of Scrofano Law PC immediately.