Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Domestic violence allegations that result in protective orders or convictions can affect an individual’s ability to remain in their job, secure a new position, obtain or renew a security clearance, and/or remain in their current home. It is essential that the person consults with a resourceful Falls Church domestic violence lawyer. Being charged with domestic violence is a serious ordeal that should be treated as if the loss of civil liberties is at stake.
In some cases, a domestic violence allegation, which leads to a protection order or conviction, can impact an individual’s ability to return to the United States after traveling internationally. If you have been charged with domestic violence in Falls Church, Virginia, having an effective and understanding legal advocate on your side can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.
A person that communicates threats or engages in violence against a family member, which causes physical abuse or creates a reasonable fear of imminent harm is guilty of domestic violence in Virginia. In Falls Church, whether an assault or battery case constitutes domestic violence depends on the relationship of the accused and the victim.
A domestic relationship includes relationships between cohabitants, former cohabitants, intimate partners, and former intimate partners. This includes, but is not limited to:
Domestic violence is a serious matter in Virginia that can result in the court issuing an order of protection, which has a similar function as a restraining order, fining the individual and/or incarcerating the accused. Additionally, domestic violence convictions can impact cases in family court and the social stigma attached to the charge could impact the remaining areas of a person’s life. A knowledgeable Falls Church domestic violence lawyer understands the severity of these charges and potential penalties if their client is convicted.
In Virginia, domestic violence is its own charge, rather than an elevated assault charge as is the case in other jurisdictions. For first time offenses, domestic violence is charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The penalties include a fine that does not exceed $2,500 and up to one year in jail, or both. A third offense is a felony.
When domestic violence is charged as a third offense within 10 years of a prior offense, it is elevated from a Class 1 Misdemeanor to a Class 6 Felony. Class 6 Felonies are punishable by fines up to $2,500, at least, one, but up to five years’ imprisonment, or both. An individual that is charged and convicted of a felony offense also loses her or his civil rights.
Federal law prohibits those, who have been convicted of some domestic violence-related offenses and/or have domestic violence protective orders, from possessing firearms. Federal law further bans individuals that are subject to some domestic violence protective orders from purchasing ammunition too.
Additionally, those that are convicted of Class 6 Felonies also lose the right to vote and cannot serve on juries.
Convicted felons are also typically unable to secure security clearance, are limited in housing options since many places will not rent to convicted felons, and may be banned by other countries from traveling to that country.
Since the penalties that are applicable to domestic violence convictions in Falls Church can be severe and are often life-changing, it is imperative that the accused hire a skilled and experienced attorney. There are many benefits to attaining an experienced Falls Church domestic violence lawyer who can assist their client in preparing for their case.