Domestic Assault in Virginia
In Virginia, domestic assault on a family or household member is a separate criminal offense. It is often applied broadly to former roommates and others who have lived in the same location, even if they are not related. In Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2, the statute provides:
A. Any person who commits an assault and battery against a family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
B. Upon a conviction for assault and battery against a family or household member, where it is alleged in the warrant, petition, information, or indictment on which a person is convicted, that such person has been previously convicted of two offenses against a family or household member of (i) assault and battery against a family or household member in violation of this section, (ii) malicious wounding or unlawful wounding in violation of § 18.2-51, (iii) aggravated malicious wounding in violation of § 18.2-51.2, (iv) malicious bodily injury by means of a substance in violation of § 18.2-52, (v) strangulation in violation of § 18.2-51.6, or (vi) an offense under the law of any other jurisdiction which has the same elements of any of the above offenses, in any combination, all of which occurred within a period of 20 years, and each of which occurred on a different date, such person is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
The statute also requires the magistrate to issue an emergency protective order when someone is charged with domestic assault on a household member. The dynamics of this offense are therefore more personal than other assault charges and each case must be handled with care.
Domestic Assault cases have their own nuances. While it is not always these case, these charges have the highest rate of alleged victims who really don’t want to you prosecuted. There are many reasons for this. Some are practical – you provide for the family and a conviction or jailtime would just hurt everyone. Other times, the alleged victim may not want to cooperate because 1) they lied or embellished their report to the police, or 2) you did not do anything wrong. The facts that give rise to these charges are never “neat.” Sometime alcohol is involved. Emotions and tempers are running high. There may have been a genuine conflict, but that does not always lead to the right person being arrested – if it was even really necessary to arrest anyone at all.
Your attorney should investigate the facts of your case, and learn what kind of testimony the alleged victim would offer at trial, or if they even want to go to trial. This investigation into your case vitally important to resolving your case without a trial, and being prepared if there is a trial.