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Virginia Domestic Violence Laws & Penalties

Domestic violence, also known as family abuse in Virginia, involves force, violence, or threats of violence against a family or household member, which leads to bodily injury or makes someone believe they are in imminent danger of bodily injury.

Common examples of family members include:

  • A current or former spouse
  • Romantic partner
  • Relatives through blood or marriage
  • Co-habitants like roommates

Inflicting physical injury against a family or household member is assault and battery, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor which includes the follow penalties:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • Fine not exceeding $2,500

However, if you were convicted of two or more prior assault and battery offenses against loved ones, then it is a Class 6 Felony, punishable by:

  • Imprisonment up to five years
  • Fine not exceeding $2,500

Stalking is related crime, which is defined as intentionally engaging in conduct that places someone or a person’s family members in fear of their safety. Stalking is also a Class 1 misdemeanor; however, three or more convictions within five years will result in a Class 6 Felony charge.

Protective Orders in VA

As we mentioned before, a domestic violence arrest can lead to a protective order against you. There are three main types of protective orders:

  • Emergency Protective Orders (EPO)
  • Preliminary Protective Orders (PPO and Also Known as an “Ex Parte” Orders)
  • A Two-Year Protective Order (PO)

An EPO is requested each time a domestic violence offense occurs and valid for at least 72 hours or until the court opens. If an alleged victim has been in danger or believes they are in such imminent danger, a judge may grant a PPO – which is valid for at least 15 days or when the next hearing is held. Lastly, both parties will have an opportunity to argue their case in a full hearing, where a judge may grant a PO that last up to two years.

  • Violating a domestic violence-related protective order is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense.
  • A second violation is punishable by a minimum 60-day jail sentence.
  • A third or subsequent violation is a Class 6 felony.

Ehrenworth Law, PLLC Domestic Violence Legal Counsel

In Virginia, a police officer may make an arrest – without a warrant – in an alleged domestic violence dispute if there is probable cause that a crime took place, a reasonable complaint from an observing party, or indications of a crime based on a personal investigation, the officer can make an arrest. The police shall arrest the primary aggressor if there is probable cause.

Committing a violent crime against a family or household member is considered domestic violence in Virginia. Although a conviction can lead to serious criminal penalties such as jail or prison time and fines, an arrest can result in being subject to a protective order. When facing domestic violence accusations, you need to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer to help you avoid conviction or get your charges/penalties reduced.

If you or a loved one has been accused of domestic violence, Ehrenworth Law, PLLC is ready to help you get the best possible outcome in your case. As a former prosecutor with over two decades of experience, our Newport News domestic violence lawyer has a thorough understanding of both sides of the courtroom and knows what it takes to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom during the legal process.

For more information about our firm, call us today at (757) 663-4477.

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At Ehrenworth Law, PLLC we understand what our clients are up against and we pledge to do whatever we can get our clients the best possible result. 

Meet Your Attorney

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    Scott Ehrenworth

    Founding Attorney

    Ehrenworth Law, PLLC has Decades of Experience As a former prosecutor in Portsmouth and Newport News for nearly a decade, Attorney Scott Ehrenworth has an in-depth understanding of what it means to be charged with a crime. With over 20 years of experience in the legal industry, he has built a reputation for effective defense for his clients. Since opening Ehrenworth Law, PLLC, Mr. Ehrenworth has focused his practice on criminal , family law , and civil litigation cases. Some specific practice ...

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With a legal career spanning more than 20 years, Attorney Ehrenworth has earned a reputation for providing aggressive advocacy on behalf of his clients. Our firm has handled thousands of cases, and we have helped many clients to secure favorable outcomes for their future. Read more about what clients of Ehrenworth Law, PLLC have to say about our representation. We are committed to ensuring you get the best possible result for your situation, and we are prepared to do everything we can to help you preserve your interests. Call today.

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