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Virginia Beach Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Domestic violence happens when a person inflicts injury or attempts to inflict harm upon a family or household member. Domestic violence can take many forms, from physical and sexual assault and coercion to stalking and threats. A conviction for domestic violence in Virginia can lead to jail time, fines, and other penalties, not to mention long-term social and professional consequences.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Virginia Beach, contact one of our skilled Virginia Beach domestic violence attorneys from Pincus Goodman, P.C., right away. We can help you understand your legal rights and options and craft a strong legal defense on your behalf. Call us at (757) 301-9634 for a consultation today.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Virginia Code (§ 16.1-228) defines family abuse as any violent act, use of force, or threat against a family or household member that causes the victim to suffer injuries or have a reasonable fear that they may be harmed, sexually assaulted, or killed. Domestic violence can involve holding an individual hostage (forceful detention), assault, sexual assault, stalking, and other criminal acts.

Who Qualifies as a Family or Household Member?

According to Virginia Code (§ 16.1-228), family and household members might include:

  • The person’s spouse or former spouse, whether they live under the same roof or not
  • The person’s children, stepchildren, parents, stepparents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters, even if these parties do not reside in the same home as the defendant
  • The person’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law who share a home with the defendant
  • Any individual who shares a child with the defendant, even if that individual and the child have never lived in the same household as the defendant
  • Any person who currently resides with the defendant or lived with them at any point during the past twelve months, as well as any minors who lived with them

The definition of a “family or household member” in Virginia is quite broad, and a person can be convicted of a domestic violence crime even if the victim doesn’t live under the defendant’s roof.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

As outlined in Virginia Code (§ 18.2-57.2), if you are convicted of assault and battery against a family or household member in Virginia, you would be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail, up to $2,500 in fines, or both.

However, if you have been convicted of offenses against a family or household member twice in the past, a third conviction for domestic assault and battery would be charged as a Class 6 felony. A Class 6 felony is punishable by one to five years in prison or (at the judge or jury’s discretion) up to 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500, or both.

The two prior convictions do not specifically have to be assault and battery. They could include any combination of crimes against family or household members, such as malicious wounding, aggravated malicious wounding, malicious injury through the use of a caustic substance or agent, and strangulation, that occurred on different dates within the past 20 years.

Additionally, any time an arrest warrant is issued for someone who has been charged with domestic violence crimes, the local magistrate is required by law to issue an emergency protection order to prevent the defendant from making contact with the victim(s) unless the accused person is a minor.

Fines imposed by the court can place a significant financial strain on you and your family, and having to spend a year or more behind bars can severely disrupt your life. Even after you have finished serving out your sentence, you will likely still have a tough time in the court of public opinion. In addition to the social stigma and loss of reputation associated with a permanent criminal conviction, you could also have a hard time landing a job, applying for housing, obtaining a loan, and seeking financial aid for higher education.

Your best hope for avoiding these penalties is to hire a Virginia Beach domestic violence lawyer who has a long track record of success defending clients who have been charged with domestic violence-related crimes.

Possible Defenses Against a Domestic Violence Charge

Some of the most common arguments we have used in defense of our clients in the past include: 

  • Self-defense – If you only harmed a family or household member because you had a reasonable fear of being harmed, we might be able to argue that you acted in self-defense.
  • Violation of your rights – If the police violated your rights, or you were a victim of police/prosecutorial misconduct, we could argue for your case to be dismissed.
  • The victim was not a family or household member – If the victim does not fit the legal definition of a family or household member, we could claim that your charges are not legally valid.
  • The act was unintentional – If the act was an accident, the state might not have a legitimate case against you.
  • The victim made false allegations – Unfortunately, false allegations sometimes occur. If someone accused you because they had an ulterior motive (such as revenge), we could argue that the allegations are unfounded.

There are numerous strategies that we can use to fight domestic violence charges. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the details of your case, gather evidence to support your version of events, and attempt to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Contact a Virginia Beach Domestic Violence Lawyer Today

Were you charged with a domestic violence-related crime in Virginia Beach? If so, contact the Virginia Beach domestic violence attorneys at Pincus Goodman, P.C., for a consultation to discuss your legal options. We have the knowledge and resources to help you craft a robust defense, and we will aggressively defend your rights in court. To schedule a case evaluation, call us at (757) 301-9634. 

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