Facing Charges for a Domestic Assault on a Family Member in Virginia?
Being charged with an assault on a family member can have severe consequences. Penalties for domestic violence may include jail, fines, community service, loss of firearm rights, protective orders, and mandatory anger-management program participation.
Additionally, convictions may result in a permanent criminal record affecting your education, job, housing, reputation, and family and social relationships. With penalties so severe, don’t handle this alone. Engage an experienced domestic violence lawyer well-versed in managing cases regarding allegations of family assault.
Richmond domestic violence attorney Cody Villalon has more than a decade of experience successfully fighting for the rights of people like you. He knows the court system and the prosecutors and understands how to build your defense
Why Choose Domestic Violence Attorney Cody Villalon?
Experience and Knowledge Make a Difference
Facing domestic violence charges? Your future is in jeopardy. Engaging a seasoned domestic violence attorney is the first, and perhaps most important, thing you can do. You want to work with a professional who is experienced, knowledgeable, and committed.
Cody Villalon is a hard-working solo practitioner who genuinely cares about his clients’ well-being. He personally handles every case.
Everyone is both guaranteed certain rights under the law and deserves to be treated with respect. This premise is the foundation of our firm. When you work with Cody you can rest assured that he will be there for you throughout the entire legal process, addressing your questions and concerns and aggressively fighting to have your domestic violence charges reduced or dismissed.
How Our Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Helps You
He Knows What to Do to Protect Your Future
While Virginia domestic violence laws are strict and punishments can be severe, charges are often one-sided and biased. There are many occasions when police are unsure of the events and choose to charge the male despite evidence of self-defense or obvious inconsistencies.
Often, charges are based on “he said, she said” verbal reports; there is no physical evidence. And sometimes charges are fabricated and baseless, filed by a vindictive individual wanting revenge against their family member for perceived wrongs.
Fortunately, being arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense doesn’t mean you’ll be found guilty. With the help of an experienced domestic violence lawyer, you may be able to obtain a favorable plea bargain agreement, reduced charges, or have charges dropped entirely.
As your Richmond domestic violence defense lawyer we will:
- Listen to your side of the story
- Examine the police or abuse report, any past history of abuse or complaints, and the evidence available
- Look for mistakes made by the accuser, police, or prosecution in the handling of your case as well as possible violations of your rights
- Prepare you for all hearings and court appearances so you know what to expect and to prevent you from saying or doing anything that could hurt your case
- Ensure that all required forms are filed correctly and promptly and that all court appearances and requirements are met
- Negotiate with prosecutors for a lesser charge or an acceptable outcome
- Build your defense and litigate if necessary.
Cody will aggressively fight to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us at 804.316.0765 to schedule a consultation.
Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Richmond Explains Virginia Laws and Charges
Understanding Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is also described as an assault on a family member, spousal abuse, spousal assault, child abuse, or family assault. These terms generally refer to imminent or actual harm that one family member inflicts upon another, as well as threats of violence or abuse. Stalking and sexual assault offenses may also be considered domestic violence, depending on the circumstances.
Domestic violence falls under Virginia’s assault and battery law (Code of Virginia § 18.2-57.2). This crime involves the unlawful touching of another and has two elements:
- The touching was willful and without excuse or justification.
- The touching was done in an angry, rude, insulting, or vengeful manner.
Domestic Assault Explained
Assault involves a threat with the means to carry out a battery, putting a person in reasonable fear of offensive touching, harm, or danger. The fear of harm must be imminent. Battery is the actual infliction of bodily harm.
Common acts of assault and battery include pushing, shoving, slapping, choking, pulling hair, and forced sex. Battery can also involve the use of objects.
Physical harm is not the determining factor in domestic assault; the following must occur:
- There was an intent to cause harm.
- The victim had a reasonable fear of imminent harm.
- There was an immediate ability to carry out a threat.
Note, charges of assault and battery are usually pursued by law enforcement only if there was an actual injury, evidence of bruising, or a major emotional trauma to the victim.
Potential Punishments for Domestic Violence Crimes
Penalties for a domestic violence conviction depend on the circumstances of the case and the existence of previous charges. In some situations, you may be charged with one or more criminal offenses in addition to domestic violence.
First-Time Domestic Violence Charge
A skilled Richmond felony lawyer can help navigate the complexities of domestic assault. A first-time offender could be placed on probation and receive a deferred finding or may receive a sentence of incarceration of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500. In addition, the courts can restrict both contact with the victim and where they can live.
Additionally, there may be court costs, a probation period, and requirements like therapy or counseling, completion of a domestic violence education course, and a clinical assessment to determine whether you need further treatment.
Multiple Domestic Violence Convictions
Prior convictions can increase the severity of the penalties. Three or more convictions within a period of 20 years can result in the elevation of your charges to a Class 6 felony, bringing a potential prison sentence of up to five years or up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
Additionally, government security clearance can be revoked, impacting your job; immigration status could be endangered.
How to Fight a Domestic Violence Charge in Virginia
Defense Strategies We Use to Help Your Case
When you are faced with domestic violence charges, it’s essential to do everything possible to avoid a conviction. Depending on the circumstances, common defense strategies include:
- Lack of evidence of domestic violence.
- The incident was accidental.
- The incident was in self-defense.
- Arresting officers or prosecutors did not proceed according to law.
- Defense of others.
If you find yourself in a legal situation related to such matters, consult with a Richmond criminal defense lawyer today.
Domestic Violence Defense FAQs
Our Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Answers Your Questions
Facing domestic violence charges is frightening; consequences are potentially severe and concerns are common. Here are some answers to questions Cody Villalon is often asked:
The victim wants to drop the charges. Do I need legal counsel?
Yes, you still need a domestic violence defense attorney. In Virginia, the victim of an assault on a family member has no right to drop the charges. The Commonwealth may decide to proceed with prosecution and may threaten to charge the victim if they don’t cooperate as a witness.
Who is considered to be a family or household member?
According to the law (Code of Virginia § 16.1-228), a family or household member is defined as:
- A spouse or former spouse, regardless of whether you live together
- Immediate family and stepfamily members, including parents, grandparents, siblings, and children, whether or not they reside together
- In-laws who reside in the same household
- Individuals who have a child in common
- Individuals and any children who have cohabited in the past 12 months.
What does an order of protection do?
Orders of protection generally prohibit any contact between the accused and the allegedly abused person, family or household members and children, and prohibit other communication, including phone, email, text, or social media messages. They may also grant the family or household member possession of the premises and prohibit the alleged abuser from occupying the premises or possessing a firearm.
What are the three types of protective orders in Virginia?
The three types of protective orders in Virginia include an Emergency Protective Order (EPO), a Preliminary Protective Order (PPO), and a Protective Order (PO). Your domestic violence attorney can explain these further.
How much will it cost to hire a domestic violence defense lawyer?
Legal fees vary, depending on the seriousness of the charges, whether this is your first offense, the evidence against you, and the complexity of the case. We will meet with you to understand the facts, review the evidence, and determine the necessary work to resolve your case. We will then establish a structure that takes into account time and effort needed to get the best outcome.
These are just a few questions our former clients facing domestic violence charges have had regarding their cases. If you have other questions, reach out to us for more specific information.
Call Cody Villalon to Defend You Against Domestic Violence Charges
He is Ready to Go to Work for You Immediately
Cody Villalon believes that individuals are guaranteed rights under the law and their existence is reliant upon people willing to defend them. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, he is proud of the work he does. He provides skilled, aggressive legal representation to ensure that his clients are treated fairly when charged with domestic violence.
Don’t risk your future. Domestic violence charges under Virginia law can be severe and have far-reaching consequences. Often, a seemingly innocent domestic dispute can result in criminal charges for assault on a family member, with significant repercussions.
“Cody was very helpful in my situation and was able to get all charges dropped. Cody checked on me frequently leading up to my court. Very confident lawyer with lots of knowledge. Definitely took away a lot of stress associated with my case. I would recommend him to anyone!” – O.D. (Google Review)