Culpeper Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence is not technically a crime of its own in Culpeper. Instead, it is an enhancement to other alleged crimes, if those underlying offenses are claimed to have been committed against specific sets of people.
Unfortunately, the penalties that come with a conviction for a crime of domestic violence are severe, while the collateral consequences of a conviction are often difficult to overcome.
A Culpeper domestic violence lawyer can help to defend against an allegation of domestic violence, regardless of the underlying offense, by advocating on your behalf in court. In this way, an experienced attorney is invaluable.
Assault: A Common Domestic Violence Offense
There are numerous crimes of domestic violence in Culpeper. However, one of the most commonly alleged domestic violence offenses is for assault in violation of Virginia Code Ann. § 18.2-57.2. This law is also a typical example of a domestic violence offense because it prohibits an underlying offense – in this case, the crime of assault and battery – when it is committed against a certain set of people: Family or household members.
The Underlying Charge of Assault and Battery
The underlying criminal charge in this particular domestic violence offense is assault and battery. Assault, in Culpeper, happens when someone deliberately makes someone else fearful that they are about to suffer a battery. Battery, on the other hand, is an intentional contact that is either offensive or harmful.
Therefore, assault and battery frequently go together – punching someone would create the apprehension of imminent harm necessary for assault, followed immediately by the harmful contact needed for a battery. However, there are instances where one is charged without the other.
Family or Household Members Required for Domestic Violence
On their own, assault and battery are not domestic violence offenses. To become domestic violence, they have to be committed against a member of the defendant’s family or household under the terms of Va. Code Ann. § 16.1-228. In Culpeper, these include a defendant’s:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Parents, grandparents, or stepparents
- Children, grandchildren, or stepchildren
- Siblings or stepsiblings
- Resident in-laws
- Child’s other parent
- Cohabitants, including their children, from the past year
If the purported victim falls within one of these categories, then a criminal charge for assault and battery would become a domestic violence offense.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction
The penalties for domestic violence depend in large part on the severity of the underlying offense. However, many domestic violence offenses are Class 1 misdemeanors. These come with up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for a conviction.
The true cost of a domestic violence offense, however, comes in the collateral consequences of a conviction. The restraining orders and criminal background that a conviction leads to are often the most difficult parts for a defendant to overcome.
Defending Against an Accusation of Domestic Violence
There are, however, numerous defenses that can be made to an accusation of domestic violence. A Culpeper domestic violence lawyer can ensure that they are raised and pursued in court.
Among the most important defense is that the domestic violence charge stems from a false accusation. People frequently make use of the legal system for an ulterior motive. Claiming to be the victim of domestic violence is not uncommon, particularly in a divorce situation.
A Culpeper domestic violence attorney can bring out the contextual evidence that this is what was really happening and throw the prosecutor’s case into doubt.
Let a Culpeper Domestic Violence Attorney Assist You
Facing an accusation of domestic violence is not a small matter. The penalties of a conviction are serious, and the collateral consequences of a domestic violence conviction in your past can be tricky to explain and overcome.
With the help of a Culpeper domestic violence lawyer, you can fight the accusation before it gets too serious. Call one today for the legal representation you need to raise an effective defense.