MANASSAS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFENSE LAWYER FIGHTS FOR THE ACCUSED
Every year in the U.S., nearly a million cases of domestic abuse are reported, Virginia law enforcement officials deal seriously with domestic violence claims for one paramount reason – if they don’t, tragedy may be the outcome.
Domestic violence poses a genuine threat to far too many families in our state, but false allegations of domestic abuse also pose a threat. Defense attorneys, judges, and family lawyers in Northern Virginia have seen their share of fabricated domestic violence charges.
False domestic abuse claims are more common than many people think. If you’re accused, how will you dispute a domestic assault charge? What constitutes domestic assault in our state, and how should you react if you’re charged with a domestic violence crime?
HOW IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DEFINED IN VIRGINIA?
Virginia law defines domestic assault as what happens when current or former spouses, family members, or household members are involved and one of the persons deliberately:
- touches a current or former spouse, family member, or household member in an angry, rude, or vengeful way and without any legal justification
- takes an action to injure or harm a current or former spouse, family member, or household member, and is in fact able to cause that harm
- takes an action meant to make a current or former spouse, family member, or household member fear being harmed and does in fact impose the fear of harm
The United States Supreme Court has noted that in domestic relationships, most assaults aren’t overtly violent or injurious. Slapping, grabbing, or pushing someone is far more common, but these actions, in the Supreme Court’s view, nevertheless constitute domestic violence.
HOW ARE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS DEFINED?
Even if harm or physical injury does not occur, the intention to cause injury or harm – by itself – is a domestic assault. But who is defined as a household member or family member under Virginia law?
- former and current spouses, whether or not they live together
- parents of the same child, whether or not they are married or live together
- grandparents, children, parents, and siblings, regardless of who lives where
- in-laws residing in the same home
- any people who lived in the same home in the last twelve months and their children
HOW DOES VIRGINIA PUNISH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
A first domestic assault charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The penalty for a conviction can be a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail.
If a domestic assault defendant has three or more domestic violence convictions within the previous twenty years – including convictions from other states – a domestic assault is a Class 6 felony, and the defendant is looking at a possible five years in a state prison if convicted.
Along with incarceration and fines, a conviction for domestic assault can mean:
- losing the right to carry or own a gun or any other firearm
- not being allowed to contact the alleged victim
- court-ordered domestic abuse classes and a mandatory psychological evaluation
If you hold a professional license, a conviction for domestic violence in Virginia may trigger disciplinary action from your professional licensing board. Immigrants should know that a conviction for domestic violence may lead to a deportation hearing.
Federal law makes it a crime for anyone who has been convicted of a domestic violence offense to possess a firearm or ammunition for a firearm.
CAN YOU PREVAIL AGAINST A DOMESTIC ASSAULT ACCUSATION?
In domestic assault cases, if no one sustains a serious injury, and if there’s little physical evidence, it’s essentially one person’s word against another person’s. When the state can’t prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that defendant can’t be convicted.
But even if a case against a defendant is weak, that defendant will need a Manassas domestic violence defense attorney who can show a jury how and why the state has failed to prove guilt. Your defense lawyer must have considerable experience with domestic violence cases.
WHAT WILL A DEFENSE ATTORNEY DO?
A skilled defense attorney can probably discredit a fabricated domestic violence claim. If you acted in self-defense, your lawyer will explain your side of the story. If you acted to defend another person, that may also be an effective defense.
A good defense is important, but a good defense against domestic assault charges will also take the knowledge of an experienced defense attorney who fights hard for the truth, protects your legal rights, and brings the case to an acceptable resolution.
For two decades, Manassas domestic violence defense attorney Scott C. Nolan has effectively and aggressively defended clients charged with domestic assault. He has represented thousands of people who have been charged with crimes in the Manassas area.
To arrange a legal consultation or to find out more, contact attorney Scott C. Nolan by phone or online. If you are charged with domestic assault, you must have the right attorney’s help.