Domestic violence cases involve serious allegations that are sometimes made up and other times only partially accurate. Unlike other crimes, a person accused of domestic violence is punished almost immediately – without proof of guilty – when a protective order is issued. The alleged offender may not be able to visit with loved ones or return home – even if the alleged accuser recants and wants the alleged offender home.
Understanding what your rights are and what's at stake when you have been charged with domestic violence is important to making informed decisions and moving forward with a strong defense. Bryan J. Jones believes informed clients are in the best position to make the kind of informed decisions that lead to successful outcomes. With an office conveniently located in Charlottesville, criminal defense attorney Bryan J. Jones represents persons accused of domestic violence offenses throughout the region.
Contact Bryan J. Jones, LLC to learn more about options specific to your unique circumstances. In the meantime, additional information on domestic charges, your rights, and the stakes are discussed here and throughout his website.
What is considered domestic violence in Virginia?
Domestic violence in Virginia is more appropriately charged as domestic assault and battery. It involves violent offenses committed against a family or household members. According to Va. Code § 16.1-228, a "family or household member" includes:
- spouses or ex-spouses, regardless of residence;
- in-laws who live in the same home;
- persons who have a child in common, regardless of residence;
- co-habitants; and
- former cohabitants (within the past year) and their children.
Domestic violence charges can involve any of the following but are not limited to:
- assault and battery against a family or household member;
- roommate violence; and
- threats of death or bodily injury to a person or member of his family.
What are your rights as an alleged domestic violence offender in Virginia?
False accusations of domestic violence occur all the time in Virginia, so it's important to know that you have rights. That said, even if you may be guilty of domestic violence, you still have rights that the Commonwealth of Virginia must uphold. These rights include:
- the right not to incriminate yourself by speaking involuntarily to the police or testifying at trial;
- the right to defend yourself via a speedy and public jury trial;
- the right to an attorney;
- the right to be free from improper searches and seizures; and
- the right to reasonable bail.
Even though you have these rights, you do not have the right to violate a protective order, and that is true even if the alleged victim doesn't want the protective order in place. To do so can result in additional punishment.
What are the consequences of a domestic violence conviction in Virginia?
In Virginia as elsewhere, a conviction for domestic violence is serious. You face possible incarceration and fines. You also face probation, community service, and/or required anger management programs or another related program.
But the consequences do not end there. You also face restrictions on your constitutional rights. You will no longer have the right to own and use a firearm. Further, if the conviction is a felony, you may lose your right to vote. To have these civil rights reinstated is a long, tedious process with no guarantees of success.
In addition, you also face collateral consequences. Because you will now have a criminal record, you may face problems or challenges in life. Some of these collateral consequences include:
- difficulty retaining or finding a job;
- possibility of losing a professional license;
- problems securing housing or leasing property in a safe place;
- difficulty obtaining and maintaining custody of a child; or
- ineligibility securing a personal, educational, auto, or mortgage loan.
As you can see, if the prosecution of domestic violence cases is successful, the stakes are high. You will need an experienced, aggressive domestic violence defense attorney who can put forth a smart defense strategy specific to your case.
Contact a Smart, Aggressive Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Today
If you face domestic violence charges, contact Bryan J. Jones today. Virginia prosecutors are already working on their case against you, so getting started on your defense as soon as possible is important.