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. That Order will last for 3 days, but may be extended by the Petitioner (the alleged victim). This Protective Order proceeding is a separate civil case from the criminal charge. Frequently, we will advise clients to continue, or delay, the Protective Order hearing until after the criminal case is resolved, so that you are not required to make statements int he civil case that will affect your criminal case. The dynamics of this offense are therefore more personal than other assault charges and each case must be handled with care. The resulting Protective Order, or the terms of Bond (if granted) may prohibit you from returning home after being charged, complicating things further.
Common issues involved in Domestic Assault cases are alleged victims who don’t want to prosecute. However, a criminal charge is prosecuted by the Commonwealth, and just because the alleged victim does not want to go forward, that does not mean your case will be dismissed. You still must be prepared to defend yourself.
Pursuant to federal law, 18 USC 922(g)(9), even a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction will prohibit you from possessing firearms.
Hire a Virginia Domestic Assault Attorney
If you or a family member or friend are charged with domestic assault on a household member in Virginia, contact the law office today for a consultation. Our Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Attorneys have experience with these sensitive cases and are prepared to defend you.