Virginia Beach Domestic Violence Penalties

If you are facing charges, an experienced defense attorney can explain the potential Virginia Beach domestic violence penalties and help you build a proper defense. It is especially important to work with a knowledgeable lawyer as the penalties can be severe and have long-lasting consequences.

Consequences of a Conviction

The consequences of a conviction are manifold. A crime of violence is a crime that prohibits that person from owning a firearm under federal law and one that could possibly end up leading to a felony conviction. Under Virginia law, a person loses their rights to possess a firearm. Similarly, under federal law, crimes and violence against a family member trigger a loss of one’s right to own a firearm, which means if, in the future, the person wishes to get their firearm back, that person has to go through the federal procedures.

In addition to losing a one’s firearm rights, there is also the reality of having a criminal conviction for a crime of violence on one’s permanent record. This means that anytime the person applies for jobs, it is a very real possibility that the conviction will be a cause for concern to potential employers.

In addition, the conviction can have a negative impact on future cases should they arise. If a person is being tried for a separate offense, the previous conviction will increase the likelihood of a more severe sentence. A defendant’s criminal record will always come into play and judges will take into consideration that the accused had a past domestic assault.

Potential Penalties

In Virginia, if a person has three domestic assault charges, the third one is going to be treated as a felony. Thus with each new charge, the accused runs the risk of no longer facing a misdemeanor but a felony.

The first offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor so it carries with it a possibility of 12 months in jail. If a person is convicted three times of domestic violence within 20 years, that is considered a felony with a maximum of five years in prison.

In addition, if an individual is under a protective order, often, that could be extended if they are convicted of a crime of domestic violence, pursuant to the determination of the judge overseeing the case.

Aggravating Factors

In choosing a penalty, the judge can sentence a person up to 12 months in jail, taking into account the facts of the case. The injuries suffered by the accuser, the defendant’s criminal record, various incentives, the parties’ behavior at the time, and the defendant’s subsequent behavior all factor into the final decision.

In addition, a person’s demeanor in court can affect whether the judge believes that the defendant takes the charges seriously and fully intends to change their behavior moving forward.

How an Attorney Can Help

Domestic violence charges are serious charges that are treated with the utmost importance by the courts and by law enforcement. A conviction can impact a person’s life both in the immediate future and for years to come, both socially and in terms of employment. Because Virginia Beach domestic violence penalties can be so significant, it is essential to work with a local lawyer when building a defense.

Often, judges are more likely to give active jail time for domestic violence than they are for simple assault and battery because of the familial nature of it. Therefore, it is advisable that the accused reach out to an attorney as soon as possible in order to begin gathering evidence and building a defense.

It is important to have a lawyer who has a good relationship with the local prosecution because they may be able to talk to prosecutors and get an idea as to what the strength of the case is. For marginal cases, they might be able to convince the prosecution not to proceed. They also might be able to work out a plea agreement that either does not call for conviction or does not call for active jail time.