Colonial Heights Domestic Violence Lawyer
Being accused of domestic violence can have devastating effects on your family relationships, reputation, and sense of security. You may feel angry at your accuser, especially if the allegations are false or exaggerated. You may be worried about your children and whether domestic violence allegations will affect your custody or visitation. If you are married, you may be considering divorce, or you may have hopes of reconciling with your accuser. Whatever your concerns are, a Colonial Heights domestic violence lawyer can be your much-needed legal advocate in a judicial system that can sometimes seem biased against those accused of domestic violence. A domestic violence attorney in Colonial Heights can work to present your defense in a way that highlights that there are two sides to every story and not all allegations are well-founded.
Consult an Experienced Colonial Heights Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you have been accused of domestic violence or family abuse, you will need to consult an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Colonial Heights right away. If someone has filed an order of protection against you, you will need the services of a Colonial Heights domestic violence lawyer, even if you are never charged with a crime. While a protection order is a civil matter, it can still have serious long-term consequences, and you have a right to a hearing.
What is Domestic Violence?
In Virginia, domestic violence – or family abuse – encompasses several potential criminal charges, depending on the type of domestic violence alleged. Physical abuse would fall under the category of assault and battery, while sexual abuse would be considered a sex crime. Stalking, harassment, child abuse, making threats, property destruction, violating a restraining order and even attempted murder could be potential charges stemming from domestic violence. A Colonial Heights domestic violence lawyer can guide you through the legal process, whatever the charges.
Virginia law does, however, define family abuse and who is considered a family or household member in the context of a domestic violence allegation. Under Virginia Code 16.1-228, family abuse involves any threat, force or act of violence that causes bodily injury or gives a person a reasonable fear or apprehension of bodily injury, sexual assault, or death, when the victim is a household member or family member of the accused.
Who is Considered a Family or Household Member?
The term “family or household member” refers to more than just immediate family members or spouses. Instead, it includes spouses and ex spouses, children and stepchildren, parents and stepparents, siblings and half-siblings, and grandparents and grandchildren, whether or not they reside together with the accused. The term also includes in-laws when they reside in the same household as the accused.
Both parents of a child are also considered family members for the purpose of domestic abuse allegations, even if they have never been married or resided together, and even if they do not share custody. Persons who are cohabitating or have cohabitated in the past year are considered household members, as are both of their children residing in the home. Regardless of who has accused you of family abuse, a Colonial Heights domestic violence lawyer can help.
Assault and Battery of a Family or Household Member
Assault and battery against a family or household member is one of the most common domestic violence charges. Under Virginia Code 18.2-57.2, the offense is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and up to $2500 in fines. If, however, the accused has a prior record of more than two domestic violence offenses or if the accused was violating a protection order when the assault occurred, the offense is a Class 6 felony carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison and up to $2500 fines.
Contact An Experienced Attorney Today
Due to the potentially severe consequences of a conviction it’s important that those accused of domestic violence in Virginia contact a Colonial Heights domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer will be able to review your case and develop the strongest defense possible for your specific set of circumstances. Call today for a free consultation and to learn more about what a domestic violence lawyer in Colonial Heights can do for you.