If you have been charged with domestic violence, you should seek knowledgeable legal representation immediately. A skilled domestic violence lawyer can help you understand your legal options for fighting your case and advise you on how to best proceed with your criminal defense. Call B.R. Hicks today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Under Virginia law, citizens who have never been charged with a crime before may be eligible for treatment under the “first offender” statute that allows for the dismissal of a domestic violence charge after completing two years of probation. However, people employed as teachers, nurses, or child care providers can expect to not only lose their job but also to be permanently barred from working in their chosen field, even if the charge is dismissed after the two years period of probation is over. The immigration laws consider domestic assault to be a felony that very well might result in deportation or exclusion. As the consequences of domestic assault charges can be significant, it’s highly recommended that you reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.
The officer who arrives on the scene has the authority to make an arrest based on their own judgment. It’s not always necessary for an alleged victim to exhibit obvious signs of abuse, such as bruises or scratches, for an officer to make an arrest for domestic violence. Also, an officer will often make an arrest even if things appear calm upon their arrival at the scene. If a neighbor or relative called the police to report an act of domestic abuse, the police may make an arrest even if the alleged victim specifically requests that they not take such an action.
If there is insufficient probable cause to make an arrest, the officer on the scene will generally advise the victim to go to a magistrate to obtain an emergency protective order (also known as a temporary protective order, or TPO) as well as a warrant. They will also order the alleged abuser to leave the premises. If the magistrate ends up issuing an arrest warrant, they will issue the TPO at the same time. The TPO gives the victim time to seek alternate living arrangements. The victim will later have the opportunity to request a more permanent protective order that will remain in effect for up to two years. In such a situation, domestic legal issues such as child custody and division of property will need to be addressed independently of the accused’s criminal charges.
Sometimes after an arrest for domestic violence, the victim may be reluctant to testify against the defendant; however, this doesn’t let the accused off the proverbial hook. Prosecutors may attempt to compel the alleged victim to testify. This is obviously a very difficult situation and should be handled with the utmost care. Let an experienced domestic assault attorney review your case and assist you in finding a strategic path forward.
Keep in mind that although most domestic violence charges typically involved male defendants, women can also be charged with domestic assault. If you are a woman who has been arrested for domestic violence, don’t expect your gender alone to vindicate you. Talk to a professional Fairfax County domestic assault attorney as soon as possible to protect your freedom and your future.