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Potential consequences of domestic violence in Virginia

Being charged with domestic violence can impact your life in many different ways. That is why you need to be aware of the consequences that may await you.

Under the Code of Virginia §18.2-57, domestic violence is defined as an act involving violence, force or threat toward a family or household member. Physical violence, emotional abuse, economic control, sexual assault and neglect are all common forms of domestic violence. Family or household member relationships include spouses, ex-spouses, in-laws living in the same house, people with a child in common and co-habitants.

A domestic assault and battery or family abuse conviction is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Those with prior convictions may face an even longer jail sentence.

Criminal prosecution is not the only thing you need to worry about after a domestic violence incident. Many alleged victims of domestic violence also file for orders of protection against their alleged attackers. These orders of protection are court orders requiring the two parties to stay separated and not communicate. Violating an order of protection can mean jail time, so it is important to follow the terms of the order.

Also, alleged victims may be able to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages for their medical expenses and other costs.

If you are facing domestic violence charges, there is still hope. In fact, a number of domestic violence cases stem from false allegations. You and your attorney can put together an effective defense strategy to protect yourself from serious criminal and civil consequences.

Source: FindLaw, "Virginia Domestic Violence Laws," accessed on Jan. 9, 2017

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