Understanding Richmond Domestic Violence Charges

Being charged with household abuse is extremely serious, as it can have significant ramifications. In addition to potential jail time, an accused individual could lose their rights to their child and their relationships with other family members.

As a result, if you have been charged with attacking a family or household member, you should speak with a seasoned domestic violence lawyer. For assistance understanding Richmond domestic violence charges, consult a knowledgeable attorney.

Who is Considered a Family or Household Member?

Domestic violence constitutes as any act of violence against a family or household member. A family or household member is defined in Virginia Code §16.1-228 as the accused individual’s spouse, former spouse, or blood relative.

The statute also includes someone with whom the accused shares a child or a stepfamily member, regardless of whether or not they reside in the same house as the defendant. State code further establishes that family or household members may include in-laws who live with the accused individual, any person who cohabits or who has cohabitated with the defendant within the previous 12 months, or any children who reside in the home with the accused.

Domestic Violence Arrests

If the police have been called to respond to a domestic assault, someone can expect law enforcement to arrive at the scene. If the police do not witness assaultive behavior themselves, they may likely separate the parties and advise one of them to leave and come back at a later time, as they cannot make a warrantless arrest for a misdemeanor offense. The alleged victim can then visit the magistrate’s office and swear to a criminal warrant against the accused individual.

Once the criminal warrant is issued, police officers may contact the accused individual to advise them of the warrant for their arrest and that they can either turn themselves in or be arrested. Sometimes, accused parties choose to turn themselves in, but regardless of the method by which police obtain custody of them, the defendant may likely be released at their court date if law enforcement charges this individual with misdemeanor assault.

Alternatively, if there is probable cause upon their arrival or if a domestic assault occurs in front of police officers, they can make an arrest. The primary duties of the law enforcement officer investigating the situation is to ensure the safety of all parties and follow up with any injured parties to determine possible next steps for that particular case.

Child Custody and Domestic Violence Charges

After law enforcement charges an individual with domestic violence in Richmond, they may find that there are no concrete laws specific to their current circumstances regarding child custody and visitation. However, allegations and evidence from the original reported domestic incident can be utilized in a civil hearing or trial for child custody and visitation.

The identity of the alleged victim can heavily influence the outcome of child custody and visitation issues after a possible domestic incident. If the alleged victim of the reported assault is a child, the accused individual could be cast in an unfavorable light, especially if they are seeking custody of the minor.

If the alleged domestic assault was supposedly committed against a grandparent, an ex, or similar adult relative, it could have less of an impact on the defendant’s ability to retain or gain custody of a child. However, being accused of any act of violence can work against an individual’s efforts to keep or gain custody or visitation. Understanding one’s domestic violence charges are important when they are facing child custody negotiations in Richmond.

Speak with an Attorney for Help Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Richmond

The benefit of having a domestic violence attorney if you are facing allegations of such a crime is that you will have a legal advocate who is familiar with these types of cases, knowledgeable in this area of law, and can either expertly negotiate or skillfully argue your case in both criminal and civil matters.

These charges can be messy and problematic, with the loss of your freedoms or family at stake. If you attempt to handle your case on your own, you could find that you are at a great disadvantage, as everyone in the courtroom. For help understanding your Richmond domestic violence charges, schedule a consultation today.