In the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is considered a crime to commit domestic violence, domestic abuse or family abuse. It is also a crime to disregard a restraining or protective order.
Domestic Violence and Domestic Assault Laws in Virginia
A person commits the crime of family abuse or domestic violence by attempting to and/or inflicting injury upon a member of his or her family or household. Domestic violence includes threats, force, stalking and sexual assault. The physical injury inflicted upon the victim may also be called “Domestic Assault.” Domestic assault is considered a crime in Virginia.
Definition of “Family Members” in Virginia
The term family members refers to spouses, former spouses, children, grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, siblings, in-laws who share the same house, individuals who have lived together within the past year or who are currently living together and individuals who have had children together.
Arrests for Domestic Violence
According to the laws of Virginia, a police officer can arrest a person without a warrant if the officer has reasonable belief that the suspect has committed assault or battery against a family member or a member of the household. The officer can also make the arrest if the person has violated or is believed to have violated a restraining order. In the absence of special circumstances, the officer is required to take the suspect into custody. This requirement is an exception to the rule that an officer must obtain an arrest warrant before making an arrest.
Restraining Orders or Protective Orders in Virginia
Domestic violence or domestic assault situations often require the issuing of a “protective order,” also known as a “restraining order.” A restraining order is a court document stating that the person who committed the assault (respondent) is required to stay away from and to make no contact with the victim of the assault (the petitioner). If you need assistance with filing any type of protective order please contact our Virginia family law lawyer.
Violating a Protective Order
It is a crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia to violate most provisions of a protective order. To violate a preliminary or final protective order is also considered contempt of court. The crime of contempt of court can incur penalties including time in jail and a fine.
Penalties for Domestic Assault or Domestic Violence in Virginia
A person who commits assault or battery against a family member has committed a Class 1 misdemeanor and can be punished by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. A first-time offender may be placed on probation and order treatment as a condition of probation.
Depending on the circumstances, domestic violence or domestic assault can be considered to be a misdemeanor or a felony. A person with two or more prior convictions for assault and battery or similar crimes against family or household members can be convicted of a Class 6 felony. Penalties for this crime include one year in jail, or one to five years in prison, and a fine up of to $2,500. To learn more about felonies in Virginia, visit:
It is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor to violate a protective order by the following:
- Going a prohibited place
- Contacting a prohibited person
- Committing family abuse
- Committing any crime
To learn more about misdemeanor charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, visit:
Should someone be convicted of violating a protective order by committing or threatening violence, that person will be required to serve a minimum sentence of 60 days in jail in addition to other possible penalties.
A third conviction for violating a protective order by violence can be punished as a Class 6 felony. The person must serve a minimum sentence of six months in jail in addition to other possible penalties.
Additional Reasons for Felony Convictions
Entering the home of a person who is under a protective order and assaulting or causing serious injury to such a person is also punishable as a Class 6 felony. To learn more about felony convictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, visit: –Virginia Felony Laws
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A domestic violence or domestic assault charge can be very serious. If you have been charged with one of these crimes, it’s important that you understand your rights and your options.
Have You Been Accused Of A Crime In Virginia Or Maryland?
If you have been accused of a crime you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virginia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.