Caroline County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence offenses are a form of assault and battery under Virginia law, but they can result in even more severe penalties in some cases. A domestic violence conviction also is likely to involve the implementation of a protective order, which can have a separate set of harsh consequences. If you are facing domestic violence charges, you may wish to seek the advice of a Caroline County domestic violence lawyer.

A conviction on domestic violence charges can result in jail time, probation, and fines. Protective orders can place strict conditions on where you can go, restrict the contact that you have with family or household members, and may even result in you having to leave your home. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help minimize the impact of domestic violence charges and a protective order on your life.

Domestic Violence Misdemeanor Charges

Va. Code § 18.2-57.2 sets forth the crime of assault and battery against a family or household member or domestic violence. Under Va. Code § 16.1-228, family or household members include any of the following individuals:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Family members
  • Individuals who share a child
  • Individuals and their children who resided together within the past 12 months

An assault and battery offense against a family or household member can result in a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. Individuals who are convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor may face up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and forfeiture of their right to possess firearms. As the consequences of even a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence can be severe, individuals who are facing these charges may wish to contact a domestic violence lawyer in Caroline County for advice.

Felony Domestic Violence Charges and Penalties

For those with two or more prior domestic violence-related convictions within the past 20 years, the offense becomes a Class 6 felony offense. If the prior convictions involved some physical injury or threats of bodily harm to a family or household member, they qualify as prior domestic violence convictions.

Conviction on a Class 6 felony offense can result in a prison sentence ranging from one to five years, although a judge alternatively can impose a jail sentence of up to 12 months, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. A felony offense potentially can affect the lives of individuals, both personally and professionally, for years to come. A domestic violence attorney in Caroline County may be able to defend individuals accused of felony domestic violence charges.

Domestic violence convictions come with collateral consequences, as well. Any domestic violence conviction, whether a misdemeanor or felony, will result in the individuals being unable to possess any firearms. Felony convictions also cause individuals to lose some other rights, such as the right to hold public office or serve on a jury.

Caroline County Protective Orders

Any domestic violence charges or allegations of family abuse are likely to involve a protective order, as well. According to Va. Code § 16.1-228, family abuse includes any act of violence or threat of violence that causes physical harm to family or household members or places them in imminent fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.

A protective order violation under Va. Code 16.1-253.2 can result in civil contempt charges or a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, A second violation within five years that involves any act or threat of violence is also a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, but requires a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 60 days, which runs consecutively to any sentence of incarceration imposed for conviction on any other crimes. A third or subsequent violation of a protective order within 20 years involving violence is a Class 6 felony offense that carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months.

Let a Caroline County Domestic Violence Attorney Assist You

The repercussions of a domestic violence conviction can be extremely harsh and affect all aspects of your life. A Caroline County domestic violence lawyer can be instrumental in helping you fight back against these criminal charges.

You need to be aware of all the potential consequences of a domestic violence conviction before agreeing to any resolution of your case. Having legal guidance throughout this process can put you in a better position to resolve any pending charges in your favor.