Fredericksburg Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence charges under Virginia law can be extremely serious and have far-reaching consequences that can impact your life for years to come. A conviction for domestic assault can result in adverse repercussions for your personal life, your professional life, and your reputation in the community.

If you find yourself facing any type of accusations of domestic violence or domestic assault, contacting a Fredericksburg domestic violence lawyer could be the first step toward clearing your name and avoiding a life-altering criminal conviction. A well-practiced attorney may be able to champion your case and contest any charges you are facing.

Defining Domestic Assault

Domestic assault could occur under Code of Virginia § 18.2-57.2 when two primary elements are present, as follows:

  • The incident involves a current or former spouse or household or family, and
  • The incident involves:
    • Intentional touching with no legal reason to do so in an angry, rude, or vengeful manner, or
    • Some action intended to cause harm to another, along with the ability to harm to another, or
    • Some action intended to cause another fear of harm and that did cause fear of harm

This definition is important because it establishes the fact that domestic assault may be charged even if no physical injury or harm occurs. In some situations, even if no physical contact occurs, there may be a charge so long as an intent to cause harm is present. Most other crimes, such as sex crimes, may require an individual or party to be harmed or wronged in some way. A Fredericksburg lawyer could help a person understand how they were charged with domestic violence and what legal options they may have.

Family or Household Member Defined

Code of Virginia § 16.1-228 defines family or household member as any of the following:

  • Spouse or former spouse, whether or not they reside together
  • Immediate family and step-family members, including parents, grandparents, siblings, children, whether or not they reside together
  • In-laws who reside in the same household
  • Individuals who have a child in common, whether or not they have ever been married or resided together
  • Individuals who have resided together in the past 12 months and any children who resided with them

All of these individuals constitute a family or household member for the purposes of domestic assault and battery offenses in Virginia.

Penalties a Person May Face for Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which may result in a sentence of incarceration of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500. Three or more convictions for any type of domestic assault and battery, family abuse, or similar crime, even from another jurisdiction, that occur within a period of 20 years, could elevate the charges to Class 6 felony, which carries a potential prison sentence of up to five years.

There also may be collateral consequences of a domestic assault conviction, which might include:

  • An inability to possess or carry a firearm under federal law
  • An order prohibiting contact with the alleged victim, a period of probation during which individuals must meet certain requirements
  • A completion of a domestic violence education course and a clinical assessment to determine if further treatment is needed.

Depending on the nature of individuals’ jobs, they could lose the required security clearance. While an individuals’ immigration status also could be endangered as a result of a domestic assault, a domestic violence lawyer in Fredericksburg could fight to avoid such outcomes.

Talking to a Fredericksburg Domestic Violence Attorney

Legislators and law enforcement authorities in the Commonwealth of Virginia and nationwide have taken significant steps in recent years to crack down on incidents of domestic and family violence. Given the breadth of Virginia’s domestic violence laws, even what seems like an innocent domestic dispute might quickly turn into criminal charges with immeasurable repercussions.

If you or a loved one is facing accusations of domestic assault in the Commonwealth of Fredericksburg, you could contact a Fredericksburg domestic violence lawyer for advice.

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