In Virginia, it is considered a crime to injure or attempt or threaten to injure a family or household member or to violate the terms of a protective order. This crime is commonly known as domestic violence or “family abuse”.
If you’ve been arrested for or charged with family abuse in Virginia, you need to know whether you are facing a felony charge and what legal rights and options you may have. Contact Bain Sheldon at (804) 282-8625 today for a free initial case review.
What Are Some Common Family Abuse Charges?
Types of criminal charges that can arise from family abuse include:
- Assault – Involves placing a victim in fear of immediate injury or harm.
- Battery – The infliction of physical injury upon a victim
- Sexual assault – Can include rape or any other criminal sexual contact, including sexual touching of a victim, or exposing oneself to a victim for sexual gratification
- Stalking – Broadly refers to any conduct that is intended to place the victim in fear of injury or death or in fear of injury or death to a victim’s family or household member
Family abuse is normally charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, under certain circumstances, family abuse can be charged as a felony, including for multiple family abuse convictions or committing family abuse while subject to a protective order.
Categories of persons who may qualify as victims for family abuse charges include:
- A spouse or ex-spouse, regardless of their residence
- In-laws who reside with the abuser
- A person who has a child in common with the abuse, regardless of their residence
- Any person actively cohabitating with the abuser
- Any person who has cohabitated with the abuser within the last year, and their children
- Any person related to the abuser by blood, including parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren
What Are the Penalties for Family Abuse?
The penalties for a conviction on a domestic violence charge can vary depending on the type of criminal offense. Possible penalties can include:
- Family abuse: Up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500. Three or more convictions in a 10-year period elevates the crime to a Class 6 felony, carrying a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison.
- Stalking: Up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500. Three or more convictions in a five-year period elevates the crime to a Class 6 felony, carrying a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison.
- Violation of civil protective order: Up to 12 months in jail.
- Violation of stalking protective order: Up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500.
- Purchasing or possessing a firearm while subject to a protective order: Up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500.
How Bain Sheldon Could Help
When you are facing accusations or criminal charges of domestic violence, the attorneys of Bain Sheldon can help you resolve your charges by:
- Independently investigating the underlying facts and circumstances of your charges to recover evidence we can use in your defense.
- Ensuring you understand your rights and options and the potential outcomes you may be facing in your case.
- Challenging every aspect of the state’s case against you, including moving to exclude evidence and dismiss or reduce the severity of charges.
- Where appropriate, pursue a plea agreement that can help you avoid the most severe consequences of a conviction.
- Advocating in your defense at trial if you choose to defend yourself against your charges.
If you have been charged with domestic violence or family abuse in Virginia, contact Bain Sheldon today. We’ll provide a free, confidential consultation to talk to a Richmond criminal defense attorney to learn more about how we can help you defend your rights, freedom, and future against your charges.