Domestic Violence and Assault and Battery Defenses in Virginia
Just because you are charged with domestic violence or assault and battery in Virginia does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted of those charges. The criminal justice system in the United States is set up so that people are innocent until proven guilty, and being charged with a crime does not mean that you should give up and plead guilty. A skilled assault and battery defense attorney can help to advocate for you in court and defend against the charges. Of course, the specific defense for any case will depend on the facts and circumstances of that case; however, there do exist a few common defenses to domestic violence and assault and battery charges that you may choose to utilize.
Virginia law defines domestic violence, or family abuse, as violence or other prohibited acts between current or former family members or people that live together. Domestic violence includes battery, threats, and keeping someone from leaving somewhere they are trying to leave. Assault and battery against a household or family member is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2500.
Virginia requires mandatory arrest, meaning that if there is a claim of domestic violence and the police are called and if the officer thinks there is probable cause that domestic violence has taken place, then the person they believe to be the aggressor will be arrested unless there are some extenuating circumstances.
Assault and Battery
Assault and battery is unwanted physical harm or the threat of physical harm. Common defenses to assault and battery charges include:
- Self-Defense – Self-defense is one of the most common defenses to assault and battery charges. However, it is important to note that there are many bars to using self-defense to defend against assault and battery charges. For example, you cannot claim self-defense if you started or escalated the incident.
- Defense of Others – Defense of others is like self-defense, except that someone is protecting another person. Defense of others is also similar to self-defense in that there are many things that can make the defense unusable.
- Defense of Property – Once again, defense of property is like the above but in defense of one’s property being taken away. Defense of property is more limited than defense of people, though.
- Consent – Consent means that the other person explicitly or implied consent to the contact, so therefore it was not unwanted contact.
Contact Us for Legal Representation
If you are charged with domestic violence or assault and battery in Virginia, you should contact a knowledgeable defense attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced assault and battery defense attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP in Leesburg, Virginia, can advocate for you in court to get your charges reduced or dismissed. We represent clients in Loudoun County and throughout northern Virginia.