Civil and Criminal Actions in Virginia Beach Domestic Violence Cases 

Prosecutors and judges treat domestic violence cases very seriously. While a criminal domestic violence action is a misdemeanor, a civil case is treated like a tort claim. Police will investigate and treat the case under criminal law if it is a criminal domestic violence action. Civil cases have a different standard of proof. A dedicated attorney can help their client determine how to move forward in either case.

If you are facing domestic violence charges, contact a skilled domestic violence attorney. Civil and criminal actions in Virginia domestic violence cases can become a complicated process, so it is important to consult a dedicated and knowledgeable attorney. Domestic violence is a serious accusation in Virginia and can have long-term impacts on someone’s reputation. In order to prepare for a court hearing for civil or criminal actions in domestic violence cases, you will need a legal counsel.

Outcomes of Civil and Criminal Actions

There is a difference between a civil domestic violence action and criminal domestic violence action in Virginia Beach. For a civil domestic violence action, a person will ask for more financial compensation than it is any criminal consequences. The accuser is not necessarily seeking jail as redress but they are asking for a compensation for damages. For criminal domestic violence actions, the accuser wants the defendant to be convicted. The accuser wants to be left alone and wants the judge to grant a no-contact order after the conviction.

Dropping Charges

Depending on the charge, the person may or may not have the right to drop charges for civil and criminal actions. In a civil case, a person has the right to not proceed with charges and basically non-suit the charges. That right does not apply in criminal matters. In criminal cases, once the person takes out a charge, only the Commonwealth or the judge can drop the case; they have that final decision, whereas, in a civil matter, the complaining witness has the ultimate decision to walk away.

The district attorney can require the accuser to participate in the criminal case even if the accuser drops a civil domestic violence action. If the person is subpoenaed, then a prosecutor can subpoena them to testify, can subpoena the witness to testify, put them under oath, and force them to answer questions about the case.

Contrary to civil cases, the accuser does not have the choice in Virginia to drop the charges in a criminal domestic violence action. The accuser can tell the Commonwealth that they no longer wish to proceed but only the prosecutor makes that decision as to whether or not they are going to proceed. If there is no prosecutor the judge make that decision.

Warrant for Arrest

There are several circumstances in Virginia Beach that could require law enforcement officers to make an arrest. If there are injuries, they are going to make an arrest. If they believe that something happened and they cannot determine who was at fault, they are going to arrest those parties. Basically, when in doubt, at least the terms of arrest, if they are going to err on the side of the complaining witness because they do not want the person to see that they let somebody go and then that night, they commit another crime.

An arrest involving domestic violence differs from another type of criminal arrest. With some cases, a person may be given a summons and go through the whole booking process. With a domestic arrest, the person is going to have to do all that. They are likely also going to be given a secured bond and that person is going to have to post some money or property in order to be released.

Probable Cause

Probable cause is a lower standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It is more likely than not that a crime could have occurred as the complaining witness presents it.

Fear of Imminent Serious Physical Injury

Reasonable fear of imminent serious physical injury or death is clearly defined by Virginia Beach law. It is a specific situation. It is fact-specific. If a person has already been attacked and has suffered serious injuries, then it is obviously a little easier to believe there is an imminent fear of injury. The individual has to show that they believe that this person is capable and willing to carry out these threats to do harm to them.

Contacting a Lawyer

When someone is facing domestic violence charges, they will need to understand civil and criminal actions in Virginia Beach. It is important to have a knowledgeable attorney who can challenge the evidence and statements.

A domestic violence attorney is essential for building a strong defense case. If you are facing civil domestic violence action or criminal domestic violence action, consult an attorney who can provide sound legal counsel. These charges can have long-term consequences, even if the person is acquitted. A dedicated criminal lawyer can help prepare you for the court hearing, testimony, and represent you in court.