Newport News Domestic Violence Attorney
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 and former spouse or romantic partner, relatives through blood or marriage, and co-habitants like roommates.
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.
Inflicting physical injury against a family or household member is assault and battery, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to one year and a 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 for up to five years.
Another common domestic violence offense is stalking, 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 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), and 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
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.
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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.