Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer
As a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer, I am well-aware of the sensitivities and complications associated with domestic violence charges. Domestic violence charges are particularly complicated and courts in Virginia deal with them as such. Emotionally charged arguments can sometimes lead to false allegations. At the same time, real victims of domestic violence are often afraid or reluctant to report these incidents. This makes DV cases quite frustrating for law enforcement, victims, prosecutors, and the accused. Being convicted of domestic violence can not only negatively affect your life due to legal consequences, but you may also find that a restraining order is preventing you from staying in your home, visiting the alleged victim, or seeing your children.
Given the very touchy and complicated nature of domestic violence incidents, it is imperative that you contact a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer as soon as you are arrested or charged with domestic violence, or if you have been served with a protective order.
Domestic Violence Laws in Virginia
Domestic violence is commonly thought to include violent actions or threats against a spouse or loved one, but this crime encompasses other people in close relation as well. For example, you could be accused of domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend, an ex-spouse, a current or former cohabitant, or a family member.
Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member
In Virginia, domestic violence is codified under Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2, which is called “Assault and Battery on a Family or Household member.” Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2 makes it a crime to inflict a visible injury on a spouse, family member, or cohabitant, and a conviction under this statute is a misdemeanor which subjects the defendant to a sentence of up to one year in county jail and a fine of not more than $2,500.
Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2 can be charged as a Class 6 felony when a person has been convicted of domestic violence on two previous occasions over a 20-year period. When charged as a felony, the defendant faces up to 5 years in a state prison.
Violation of a Protective Order
Whenever there are charges of domestic violence, a temporary restraining order is almost always issued by the court. These protective orders generally require that the accused have no contact with any of the people identified in the protective order. The term “no contact” generally means in person, over the phone, or through any sort of written communication. When the party is served with a protective order, a violation of any of the order’s terms becomes a crime in and of itself. This crime is known as contempt of court, and it is punishable by a fine or jail time. See Virginia Code §§ 16.1-253.1 and 16.1-279.1. If you are accused of having violated a protective order, it is imperative for you to contact a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer immediately.
How a Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help You
There are a variety of ways in which a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer can help you. First, some domestic violence cases are subject to a deferral of charges if the accused attends counseling for anger management and/or domestic violence and they remain on good behavior during a period of supervised probation. But collateral consequences may include firearm restrictions, as well as potential immigration consequences which could prevent you from becoming an American citizen or even result in deportation.
With that said, the earlier in the process you hire a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer, the better. If the charges are based on false accusations, and the complaining party is now willing to admit that, your Fairfax domestic violence lawyer will make arrangements to interview the witness and obtain the true story. Their statements can then be used as leverage to demonstrate that the prosecutor will not be able to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In turn, this may compel the Commonwealth to drop the charges. Whatever the situation may be, the job of every Fairfax domestic violence lawyer is to help you avoid a conviction and jail time.
An Example of How a Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help You
Chris and Rihanna are a married couple who live in Fairfax. Both Chris and Rihanna are singers. Their marriage is generally a very happy, loving one, but like most couples, they tend to argue about things – both important and not so important. One evening, they get into a heated argument, and Rihanna throws one of her Grammy awards at Chris’ head. The gold-plated gramophone hits Chris, causing a large bump to form on the left side of his forehead.
Chris looks in the mirror and is furious about the bump on his head. In a fit of anger, he calls 911 and tells the operator that Rihanna threw her Grammy award at him. Police officers arrive a short time later, but because Chris is no longer angry at Rihanna, he tells the officers that nothing is wrong and that he does not want the police involved in a petty marital squabble. The police notice the wound on Chris’ head and begin to ask him questions. Chris insists that he does not want to press any charges.
Despite Chris’ wishes, Rihanna is arrested for a violation of Va. Code § 18.2-57.2 and she is held on $5,000 bail. Chris bails Rihanna out that evening. The next morning, Rihanna hires a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer. Rihanna’s attorney advises her of the possible charges, her rights, the arguments and evidence the prosecutor might present, as well as the many different strategies they can employ to protect her from any possible charges.
Rihanna’s Fairfax domestic violence lawyer contacts the detective investigating the incident. Her attorney also contacts the prosecutor and urges that they not file charges. Because charges have yet to be filed, the prosecutor may decide to not go forward with the case. On the other hand, the prosecutor may file felony charges for domestic battery and malicious wounding. In the end, however, due to Rihanna’s lack of prior charges and persuasive argument from her Fairfax domestic violence lawyer, the prosecutor agrees not to file charges at all. Not only does Rihanna avoid a conviction and possible jail time, but she does not even have to appear in court.
Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer Explains Protective Orders
In my time as a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer, I have seen every permutation of what most people know as a “restraining order.” This includes “criminal protective orders”, “temporary restraining orders”, “civil harassment restraining orders”, “stay away orders”, and “domestic violence orders.” All of these different types of orders are categorized as a form as injunctive relief, and they often are issued in criminal cases. Criminal protective orders are commonly issued in cases which involve domestic violence while stay away orders are commonly issued in larceny cases where a defendant might be ordered to stay away from a particular store.
Outside of the realm of criminal law, civil harassment and civil domestic violence restraining orders can be issued even when the police are not called and criminal charges haven’t been filed. But, as a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer, I know all too well how evidence presented at hearings to obtain civil restraining orders can ultimately lead to criminal charges being filed.
Criminal Protective Orders in Domestic Violence Cases
Every judge, police officer, and indeed, every Fairfax domestic violence lawyer will tell you that criminal protective orders are usually mandated subsequent to an arraignment in a domestic violence case. This means that before even being convicted, the defendant in a domestic violence case will be ordered by the court to stay away from their spouse or domestic partner. While not legally complicated, these types of restraining orders can cause emotional and logistical complications – particularly when the defendant and the person being protected (the complaining witness) live together and wish to remain living together.
There are two types of criminal protective orders. The first prohibits any and all contact between the defendant and the victim. The other may permit only peaceful contact. But the truth is, judges are entitled to craft any order they issue as they see fit, and this is one of the envious parts about being a judge – when a judge issues an order, they can creatively tailor the terms of that order in a manner they believe will best promote the interests of justice. That is why a good Fairfax domestic violence lawyer will always attempt to move the court to issue an order which will be as accommodating as possible to their client – especially when the restraining order will prevent a person from seeing their children.
In most cases, a no contact order is issued at first, but after that, your Fairfax domestic violence lawyer will attempt to persuade the court to modify the order to allow for peaceful contact and to further the best interests of the children.
Criminal Protective Orders in Cases Which Do Not Involve Domestic Violence
Domestic violence protective orders are much more common than protective orders issued in simple assault and battery cases. But in some instances, a court may believe that a protective order should be issued for the safety of witnesses. If a defendant has a long criminal history which includes crimes of violence, a judge may impose a protective order to prevent the defendant from contacting or threatening any witnesses. In my time as a Fairfax domestic violence attorney, I have found that these sorts of protective orders are no big deal for my clients – particularly because in assault and battery cases, the defendant really has no desire to contact the victim or witnesses. But in other cases, these sorts of protective orders can cause problems, especially when it interferes with my client’s ability to go to work or school. When a protective order somehow impedes my client’s ability to earn a living or obtain an education, I will do everything in my power to have the protective order modified or dissolved.
Stay Away Orders in Theft and Other Cases
It isn’t uncommon for a person convicted of larceny, destruction of property, or some other property crime to have a stay away order issued against them even though the crime did not involve violence. This stay away order may be part of a person’s term of probation or part of their sentence. Generally, these orders will simply require the defendant to stay away from a store for a specified period of time. But sometimes, the stay away order may include a certain chain of retail stores. While these types of broad orders are difficult to enforce, if you are caught violating the order, it can result in very serious consequences.
Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer Discusses Violations of Restraining Orders
Simply put, disobeying the terms of a court order is never a smart move. Not only can the court hold you in contempt, but violating a restraining order can result in being arrested and held without bail. Likewise, contacting a witness can be charged as attempting to dissuade a witness – a crime in and of itself. That is why, if you are unsure about the terms of a protective order or what restrictions the order imposes, it would be wise to contact a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer who can help clarify any confusion you may have about what you are allowed to do, and what you are not allowed to do.
Contact a Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have been charged or arrested for domestic violence, or if you have been served with a protective order, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa today for a free consultation. Having an aggressive, skilled attorney on your side gives you the best chance of avoiding a conviction and the negative consequences which go along with it. Just because you were arrested does not mean you will be convicted. Let the Law Offices of Randall Sousa fight for you. Call now for a free consultation with a Fairfax domestic violence lawyer. 571-354-6164
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By: Randall Sousa
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The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with affordable, professional, and aggressive criminal defense legal services. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, call us now for a Free Consultation.
Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.
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