New Kent Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence is a serious offense that could result in both a period of imprisonment and a fine upon conviction. The law defines domestic violence as an assault and battery against either a family member or a household member. If you have been charged with this or a similar offense, a New Kent domestic violence lawyer could help to build a defense against the charges and protect your freedom.

In some cases involving allegations of domestic violence, a judge might issue an emergency protective order. Such an order prohibits the accused individual from having any contact with the alleged victim(s) for a brief period, which could mean no contact with their spouse or children, depending on the situation. If a protective order has been issued on behalf of a family or household member, a dedicated defense attorney could explain your legal options and provide advice about how to best proceed.

Domestic Violence Offenses

Under Section 18.2-57.2 of the Virginia Criminal Code, any form of assault and battery committed against a member of one’s household or family is considered to be domestic violence. Violent acts that may be considered domestic violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Strangulation
  • Assault and battery
  • Malicious bodily injury
  • Malicious wounding
  • Aggravated malicious wounding
  • Threatening to commit assault and battery

Allegedly committing any of these violent offenses may result in a person facing criminal charges, followed by incarceration and other sanctions if they are ultimately convicted. A well-versed New Kent lawyer could help to answer specific questions about domestic violence laws to a defendant.

Protective Orders in New Kent

Protective orders are legal orders prohibiting an individual—known as a respondent—accused of harming or threatening to harm another individual from making any subsequent contact with the accuser. The alleged harm may include any type of violence, such as bodily injury or sexual assault. In addition to prohibiting the respondent from contacting anyone named in the protective order, these orders can also identify additional requirements, such as participating in some type of treatment program.

There are three types of protective orders possible in Virginia: emergency, preliminary, and long-term. Emergency protective orders are short-term and are often initiated by a law enforcement officer after responding to a domestic violence call. Preliminary protective orders, on the other hand, are good for approximately 15 days and are issued while awaiting a final hearing for a regular long-term protective order.

Regular protective orders are valid for two years, but a judge may extend the time for an additional two years indefinitely if the alleged victim petitions the court for an extension. Violating any type of protective order is against the law and could result in additional criminal charges.

Domestic Violence Penalties

Generally, assault and battery against a family or household member is a Class 1 misdemeanor that is punishable upon conviction by a 12-month jail sentence, as well as a fine of up to $2,500 in New Kent. Prior domestic violence convictions, however, could result in a new charge being elevated to a Class 6 felony, the punishment for which is a prison sentence of one to five years and a $2,500 fine. Because of the severity of these charges, a New Kent domestic violence lawyer could answer questions regarding the possible penalties a person might face and how they may build a defense against them.

Speak with a New Kent Domestic Violence Attorney

Facing criminal charges could be frightening and overwhelming. However, you do not have to face them on your own. A New Kent domestic violence lawyer could stand by your side and fight to protect your legal rights against the specific charges you are facing.

An attorney could also help you understand the legal requirements of a protective order if one has been issued. To discuss your case today, call a seasoned and hard-working attorney.