Have you recently been accused of committing
domestic violence or family abuse? If so, it’s critical that you become familiar with
Virginia’s penalties for domestic violence, whether or not you are
actually guilty of the offense.
Usually, a domestic violence case begins when a victim, family member or
neighbor makes a 911 call to the local police. In Virginia, the police
have the authority to arrest a domestic violence suspect without a warrant
if there is probable cause that an assault or battery has occurred against
a family or household member.
Whenever the police have reason to believe that a domestic violence has
occurred, they are legally required to arrest the individual suspected
of the crime.
Also, a victim can file for an arrest warrant by contacting the magistrate
themselves. A magistrate may issue an arrest warrant based on a victim’s
sworn statement or other evidence, such as physical injuries, photographs,
or witness statements.
A family abuse or domestic violence case can end up in court as a civil
or criminal matter; a case becomes criminal when the perpetrator of the
violence is jailed or found guilty and ordered to comply with certain
Defining Family Abuse
In Virginia, “family abuse” or domestic violence refers to
any act involving violence, force, or a threat including a forceful detention,
which either results in physical injury or places one in reasonable fear
of serious bodily injury, and is committed against a family or household member.
In Virginia, domestic violence or family abuse is a Class 1 misdemeanor,
- Up to 12 months in jail
- A $2,500 fine
If a defendant has three or more convictions for domestic violence within
10 years, the crime is elevated to a Class 6 felony, punishable by up
to five years in prison. While prior convictions in other jurisdictions
in Virginia count, the convictions must have occurred on different dates.
Contact a Richmond criminal defense attorney from Carlson & Collier to learn
more about your possible defenses, the different types of protective orders,
and how protective orders can affect child custody.