Domestic assault is a serious crime in Virginia.
A first or second offense carries a potential sentence of up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. A third or subsequent conviction carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Additionally, a criminal domestic abuse conviction could change your child custody arrangement, result in a protective order, impact your employment, or even limit your gun rights. Accordingly, you need to know how to defend yourself.
Potential Domestic Assault Defenses
Every case is unique. Our experienced domestic assault defense lawyers will develop a comprehensive defense strategy for your case. Some of the things that we may consider include:
- Self-defense. You have the right to defend yourself if your family or household member attacks you. However, the amount of force that you use must be reasonable and proportional to the threat that you faced. If you claim self-defense, then you should be prepared to prove that you believed that you were assaulted, battered, or harmed, or reasonably thought that you were about to be assaulted, battered, or harmed. You cannot claim self-defense if you were the one who started or escalated the incident.
- Defense of others. In some situations, a family or household member may have attacked another family or household member, but not you. For example, you may have seen your spouse assault your child or your sibling attack a parent or grandparent. You wanted to help, but the family member who initiated the violence didn’t listen to you, so you used reasonable force to stop the attack. Generally, if the person being attacked would have been justified in using self-defense, then you are justified in helping the person fight off the assault.
- False allegations. Family members and people who live together get angry with each other. Sometimes, a relative or household member may lie or makes false allegations about domestic assault to hurt you or to try to impact a divorce or child custody case. You shouldn’t be convicted of a crime that you did not commit.
- Lack of evidence. The Commonwealth of Virginia must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government lacks the evidence to prove that you violated Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.2, then you should not be convicted of domestic assault.
In limited circumstances, defending your property may also be a defense against domestic abuse charges.
Don’t Delay Your Domestic Abuse Defense
A domestic abuse arrest does not always result in a domestic abuse conviction. You are innocent until proven guilty, but you should not rely on the government failing to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Instead, you should immediately contact a Fairfax criminal defense lawyer who can:
- Make sure that your legal rights are protected at every stage of the case
- Investigate the charges against you
- Develop a thorough defense strategy
- Advise you of what to do and what not to do after a domestic assault arrest
- Negotiate to have the charges against you lowered or dismissed, if appropriate
- Represent you in court
You have too much to lose to try to represent yourself or to delay getting the legal help that you need to protect yourself.
Together, our attorneys have more than 80 years of combined trial experience. We will thoroughly assess the case against you and advise you of all of your legal options. We will always be honest with you and provide you with a realistic view of what may be ahead for you.
If you have been accused of domestic abuse in Virginia, then we don’t want you to take any chances with your future. We are here to help you if you’ve already been arrested or if you think an arrest may be coming. Contact our experienced Northern Virginia domestic abuse criminal defense attorneys today by phone, in an online chat, or by completing our contact form to have us contact you.