Domestic violence can upend a marriage. The charge of domestic violence and battery can often fall under different labels, and these matters are often related to criminal allegations. Domestic violence can also have serious implications when it comes to marriage and family law issues. At Randall, Page & Bruch, P.C., our qualified and experienced attorneys are here to help you navigate domestic violence issues and divorce, child support and custody, and more. Let our Virginia domestic violence attorneys help you with your case today. Our attorneys in the Courtland, Suffolk, Emporia, and Lawrenceville areas are here for you.
In Virginia, there are various reasons why a divorce may be granted on the grounds of the “fault” of one spouse. Under Virginia law, divorce from the bond of matrimony could be granted through a “no-fault” divorce or a “fault” divorce. One of the fault grounds of divorce is stated in Virginia Code § 20-91(6):
Domestic violence is not defined specifically in the laws of Virginia, which gives law enforcement officials latitude and a “you know it when you see it” type of approach. However, the language of the divorce code above clearly indicates that violence within marriage is reasonable grounds for a fault-based divorce.
A history of physical or emotional abuse does often alter the outcome of child custody cases. This can also lead to a modification of a previous child custody order in Virginia. In families where there is a history of domestic violence, the abusive person may have significant limits placed on their physical custody, legal custody, or visitation rights with their child. In some instances, an abusive parent may lose their parental rights altogether.
It may certainly be possible for a victim of domestic violence in Virginia to receive a protective order. In Virginia, a protective order can help ensure that you and your family members are safe from a perpetrator of domestic violence. There are various types of protective orders that can be issued in Virginia, including emergency protective orders that could be obtained at any time of day. There could also be preliminary protective orders put in place to protect someone while awaiting a court date, as well as full protective orders the court may issue to protect the health and safety of the petitioner and their family.
As we have focused on the effects of domestic violence on a marriage, we also want to point out that there are significant penalties associated with these charges upon conviction. When we turn to the Virginia code of laws section 18.2-57.2, we can see that any person who commits assault and battery against a family or household member will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor offense.
Assault and battery in these cases include instances when the defendant engaged in an overt act with the intention of inflicting bodily harm, and the defendant had the ability to inflict such harm at the time. Additionally, an assault can occur if the defendant engages in an overt act that is intended to place a victim in fear or apprehension of sustaining bodily harm.
The penalties for a domestic violence conviction in Virginia will depend on a number of factors, including the defendant’s prior criminal history. Assault and battery against a family or household member will generally be a Class 1 misdemeanor offense with the following penalties:
A second offense within 20 years of a previous domestic assault charge or other violent crime will result in a Class six felony offense. The maximum penalties in the situation include:
Virginia law distinguishes between typical assault and battery charges and assault and battery against a family or household member charges based on the relationship between the defendant and the victim. A “family or household” member can include a wide variety of people, including the following:
Law enforcement officials almost always make an arrest when they show up for a domestic violence call. Police officers have the discretionary power to make an arrest without a warrant for domestic violence cases or a violation of protective orders, even if the police did not witness the violation. In these situations, the police will arrest the person that they believe to be the “predominant physical aggressor” based on the facts and circumstances at the time they arrive.
However, this does not mean that the other party shared no blame for the incident. A skilled criminal defense and family law attorney will be able to help hash through what happened and get to the truth of the matter.
If you are dealing with domestic violence issues in your marriage, it may seem like there is no way out. That is not true, and the team at Randall, Page & Bruch, P.C. is going to help you get through this. Our qualified attorneys have extensive experience helping clients handle domestic violence as it relates to their marriage and child custody. If necessary, we will help you obtain or modify protective orders. When you need a Virginia domestic violence lawyer in the Courtland, Suffolk, Emporia, and Lawrenceville areas, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or by calling 757-517-8956.