Newport News Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence crimes in Newport News can carry severe penalties including heavy fines and significant jail time. For this reason it’s imperative that you contact a Newport News domestic violence lawyer if you are being investigated or accused of any type of domestic violence. By contacting an attorney with experience in Newport News domestic violence cases you may be providing yourself with an opportunity to overcome your specific charges.

Why Might You Need a Newport News Domestic Violence Lawyer?

Because domestic violence can escalate even after the police intervene, Virginia treats the procedure for handling the crime of domestic violence differently from other crimes.

Domestic Violence Lawyer in Newport News VAVirginia code section 19.2-81.3 allows law enforcement officers to arrest you, without a warrant, for an alleged assault and battery (the physical injuring of another person) against a family or household member. The rationale is that it is better to extinguish the volatile situation by removal than to allow the situation to potentially escalate by allowing all members of the household to remain together after a potentially serious and dangerous altercation.

Who Is a Family or Household Member?

In Virginia, domestic violence covers the physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse of family or household members.  As a Newport News domestic lawyer can explain, it is important to know what types of people are covered under Virginia’s domestic violence law.

  • Section 1-228 states that a family or member of your household includes the following people, whether they live in your home or not: Current or former spouses, parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, siblings, half-siblings, grandparents/grandchildren, or any person who has a child in common with you.

Further, if the following people live in your home, they are then thought to be  family or household members:

  • Mother/father in-law
  • Sons/daughters-in-law
  • Brother/sisters-in-law
  • Any person who currently lives with you or has lived with you within the past year

When Can a Law Enforcement Officer Arrest You?

Section 19.2-81.3 states that a law enforcement officer is authorized to arrest you for assault and battery against a family or household member as long as a reasonable belief exists, based upon the circumstances, that you were the physical aggressor in the situation.

To determine whether you were the physical aggressor, the following factors must be weighed:

  • The person who started the altercation The protection of the family and household members prior evidence of abuse by you involving the family or household members. The severity of the injuries on the people involved Whether any injuries were caused by way of self-defense Witness statements

Domestic Violence Penalties

If you were the physical aggressor in the situation, section 18.2-57.2 makes any assault and battery against a family or household member punishable by a class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

However, if this is not your first domestic violence charge, the class 1 misdemeanor penalty may increase to a class 6 felony, which is punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine in excess of $2,500.

Further, it is possible that a protective order (“commonly known as restraining orders”) may be brought against you.  This is a civil remedy under Section 16.1-253.2 that can be requested by a family or household member, against you, if they have reason to fear that you may inflict bodily injury, sexual assault, or death.  While the issuing of the protective order falls under is not itself a matter of criminal law, violating the protective order may result in jail time.

How a Newport News Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help

The domestic violence penalties in Virginia can be harsh, but they depend upon the details of your case.

An experienced Newport News domestic violence lawyer can examine the factors used to bring a domestic violence charge against you and look for possible reasons to overturn your case or lessen your potential penalties.

If you are currently facing a domestic violence charge in Virginia and would like to consult with an experienced Newport News domestic violence lawyer, please contact our firm.