Any violence enacted upon a roommate is considered domestic violence. A household member is one of the protected classes for domestic violence. Cohabitants are explicitly included in the statute for that and those who have cohabitated in the past year can sometimes be included. A family or household member could also include step-children or step-parents even if they do not live with them. In-laws would not be included unless they reside in the same house or have lived in the same house in the past year. Consulting a domestic violence attorney with knowledge of the intricacies and complexities of domestic violence law can be an invaluable asset as you undertake your case. An experienced Virginia roommate violence lawyer will be familiar with Virginia domestic violence policies and can advocate on your behalf.
The immediate consequences of roommate violence would be similar to the immediate consequences of spousal abuse or spousal violence, in that it would result in an emergency protective order.If the victim says they have reasonable fear in their own home, a protective is issued, forcing the other person out. Even if a person is not related to their roommate, if it is alleged that the individual has committed acts of domestic violence against that person, it is almost a presumption that because the individual is in the same house, that person has a reasonable fear of their roommate doing it again. The presence of reasonable fear means that the accuser will have to get an emergency protective order, which means that a person could get kicked out of their house, and if they pay for utilities, they would still be paying those if the court orders them to.
It could make things a lot worse for the person because they are paying for somebody who is essentially a stranger, in some cases, to live in a place where they are paying their own rent there. Although, that can sometimes cover things that the defendant was not necessarily contributing to. Things like internet or cable, or depending on what the person’s arrangement was. Sometimes, the accused may even find themselves providing free electricity to their accuser because they had to move out and the electricity was something that they covered as part of their rental agreement. Being forced to pay electricity costs and housing costs in a home that the defendant cannot live in, can be expensive. A Virginia roommate violence lawyer can help you protect your rights.
Somebody who is falsely accused of roommate violence or domestic violence can protect themselves by recording everything. That way, if somebody is pushing them, threatening them, or coming after them, they are recording everything and can be the one to call the police first.
If there is a situation where somebody is threatening them or attacking them, they should not wait for their roommate to call the police. Instead, it is important for the falsely accused to be proactive and reach out to law enforcement first. If it is a situation where the police were already called and they were not the first one to call, the accused should make sure that they document everything.
It can also be helpful for the accused to call the police and make a statement even if the police know that they are coming. Making sure that they are recording everything the other person is saying, taking pictures, getting witnesses and compiling other evidence is important. The individual just need to ensure that they are documenting everything and that they have witnesses who can verify that what the accused is saying is true.
Anybody that is charged with domestic violence should consider contacting an attorney because if they are charged with roommate violence or roommate assault and battery, that is domestic violence. To an employer, those charges carry as much weight as if the accused has abused their spouse or child. The accused is still going to be convicted of domestic violence, of domestic assault and battery, which is the same term that encompasses these other things, which are potentially worse. The person will face that stigma regardless of the relationship they have with the person that they are accused of abusing. With a strong defense and an adept Virginia roommate violence lawyer on your side, you can work to protect your reputation, and make sure that your voice is heard.