Prosecution of Domestic Violence in Richmond

When the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator of a crime are family members or share a household, that makes for a unique legal situation. The prosecution of domestic violence in Richmond can be more complicated than in other criminal cases due to the emotions involved. If you were charged with this offense, it is wise to speak with a steadfast domestic violence attorney to determine what you should do next.

How Does a Prosecutor Decide to Bring a Case for Domestic Violence?

There are two general situations that lead a prosecutor deciding to bring a case against the person accused of committing domestic violence. The first is if an offense is alleged. The alleged victim or the Commonwealth’s witness goes to the magistrate’s office and takes out a criminal complaint. Most domestic assault cases do not happen in front of the police and they usually happen before the police are even notified. When they arrive, unless there is evidence that it is a continued assault or that somebody’s safety is in grave danger, they cannot make an arrest.

The second instance of a prosecutor bringing a domestic violence case is if the assault takes place in front of the police or it is of a nature the police could say with certainty that there is danger involved in not making an arrest. That might include seeing a lot of blood or bruising on the victim.

Making the Conviction

For a person to be convicted of domestic violence in Richmond, a prosecutor must demonstrate one of two types of assaults – domestic violence or domestic assault and battery. Prosecutors must prove that there was an assault but do not have to prove jurisdictionally that the relationship was a family or household member.

With an assault case, the Commonwealth needs to prove that by common law there was an attempted battery. For an assault to occur, the alleged victim must be reasonably afraid of sustaining bodily harm, meaning that they have to know that they are being assaulted for there to be a criminal common law assault. If somebody is standing behind a person, takes a swing at them, misses, and the person does not see them, there is no assault.

Assault and battery refers to any rude or unwanted touching upon the person without legal justification, and that it is done with the intent to do harm. It does not have to be physical harm. It could be emotional harm, mental harm, or severe stress.

Relationship Between the Two Parties

Another thing that prosecutors have to prove for a domestic violence case in Richmond is the relationship between the alleged victim and the accused. A family or household member to the defendant would include:

  • Spouse
  • An individual who they have a child with, whether or not they reside in the same household
  • Sibling
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Grandparent, whether or not they reside in the household.

Certain in-laws would apply only if they live in the household with the person. Boyfriends and girlfriends would apply if they live in the household with them and one of them has a child that also lives in the household.

What is Evidence-Based Prosecution?

Evidence-based prosecution in Richmond domestic violence cases is also referred to as backdoor prosecution. That is when the Commonwealth’s attorney or prosecutors attempt to secure a conviction on a person-to-person, violence-based crime without the cooperation of the alleged victim of the crime. This means they are trying to secure a prosecution based on circumstantial evidence without any testimonial evidence from the participants in the crime.

Lawyers with Relationships to the Prosecutors

When an individual has a lawyer with good relationships with local prosecution, in certain instances they might be more willing to dismiss or forego prosecuting a case based off of the representation of that attorney, even if they feel they could go forward with it. When somebody is new to the area or still building rapport, prosecutors attempt to prosecute a little harder as opposed to working something out for the benefit of their client.

Learn How Prosecution of Domestic Violence in Richmond Works by Calling an Attorney

Given the nature of the participants of a combative domestic violence case, lawyers must defend a person gently. Many domestic violence cases are subject to the evidence-based prosecution because many alleged victims do not want to come forward. It is important to understand the facts of each case and who all the players are, including any third-party potential witnesses. Call a lawyer today to learn how prosecution of domestic violence in Richmond will affect your situation.