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What to expect when facing domestic violence charges

Domestic violence can involve physical, mental, or emotional abuse in the context of a family or intimate relationship. Those charged with domestic violence have a long road ahead of them in terms of the potential consequences. Those accused of domestic violence should be prepared for what may lie ahead of them.

The victim of alleged abuse may decide to file a protective order against the accused if he or she has reason to fear bodily injury, sexual assault or death. A protective order does not involve criminal law, only civil law. This means that the alleged abuser won't receive any jail time as a result of an imposed order.

However, in many cases, the alleged abuser may face criminal charges. Virginia's law enforcement officers have the authority to arrest without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that an assault and battery occurred against a family or household member. Law enforcement agencies have policies and procedures in place to handle these types of arrests.

If the alleged abuser is arrested, he or she may be facing a criminal case. A prosecutor will represent the state and put forth a case against the accused individual. The victim of the abuse may be considered an important witness in the case, and therefore may testify against the accused.

However, it is important to note that anyone facing domestic violence charges is entitled to an attorney. An experienced attorney and other experts may be able to help strategize and defend against these types of allegations. The consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be serious, so it is important to come up with an effective defense strategy. A local Virginia attorney can help accused individuals develop a defense that protects them and their legal rights to the fullest extent possible.

Source: Department of Criminal Justice Services, "Domestic Violence Victims in Virginia," accessed on Oct. 21, 2014

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