Alexandria Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence is a category of offenses, generally, that involves a violent crime the victim of which is a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or a family member of the defendant. It can include everything from assault and battery to more serious charges like malicious wounding or even an attempted murder.
Domestic violence is a very serious charge, that can lead to a lot of heartbreak within one’s family. Therefore, if you have been charged, our experienced Alexandria domestic violence lawyers can help you through this difficult process. To learn more or begin building a defense, consult with a defense attorney in Alexandria today.
What to Expect
When a person has been accused of domestic violence, they can expect that their case is, at least initially, going to be handled in a juvenile and domestic relations court. These are courts that have jurisdiction any time the victim of a crime is considered to be a household or family member as defined by Virginia law.
These are still serious charges although the approach in these kinds of courts is very distinct and different than what we find in other courts. As such, it is important to have a domestic violence lawyer in Alexandria experienced working in that realm who can walk an individual through the process.
Prosecutors bring domestic violence cases when they believe that they have sufficient evidence to convict someone of one of the versions of a domestic violence crime. Many cases of domestic violence begin with a police officer swearing out a warrant as opposed to a prosecutor being involved but that happens instead in more serious cases of domestic violence. Very often they begin with an investigator, a detective or officer accumulating evidence of the crime and then bringing it before a prosecutor who makes a decision on where the charges should be filed and then what charges would be filed.
Virginia law states that whenever police are called out to a domestic violence situation, they shall determine who the primary aggressor is and charge that person. Using that language of “shall” is very important because it takes away the discretion of the officer to decide whether or not they are going to charge someone.
In many police departments in Northern Virginia, it is almost as if probable cause under the law is taken away by the standing orders of that police department which make it crystal clear that someone is to be arrested in every scenario. The upshot of all of this is that there are various situations that perhaps do not truly call for someone to be arrested or where a police officer might, under other circumstances, decide not to charge someone where an individual nevertheless winds up with a criminal charge because the officer has no choice but to obey the orders.
Impact on Child Custody and Visitation
An individual with a domestic violence charge can get custody or visitation rights for their child, however, it can be difficult. Every court, when determining what custody or visitation or both should be, is focused on the legal standard which requires it to consider what is in the best interest of the child.
Any parent, grandparent, other guardian or custodian who has a violent criminal record is certainly in jeopardy of having the court decide that they should not have custody of a child or not have visitation. If there is visitation, it may be limited or supervised in some way.
Domestic Violence Against Children
It is true that violence against a minor or a child would be a very serious concern to any court regarding visitation. However, any violent crime is something that is likely or certainly has the potential to impact the outcome of a custody and visitation case. Crimes that involve violence or neglect toward children are much more serious and more likely to have a negative impact on the person seeking custody and visitation making it extremely imperative that an Alexandria domestic violence attorney is consulted.
Contacting a Lawyer
There are many benefits when having an Alexandria domestic violence lawyer helping you. The local knowledge and relationships our attorneys have working with judges that they know will help out your case. If you are in need of an attorney, please contact one of our attorneys today.