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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Domestic Violence > Domestic Violence: Direct and Collateral Consequences

Domestic Violence: Direct and Collateral Consequences


Frightening domestic violence statistics dominate the media. Here’s one statistic that’s frightening to defendants. Up to 35 percent of domestic violence claims are exaggerated or fabricated. Frequently, this exaggeration or fabrication is unintentional. We remember events selectively. Other times, the deception is intentional, mostly because the alleged victim wants an advantage in a parallel or future family court proceeding. More on that below.

Many defendants are fatalistic about domestic violence charges. They believe the system is stacked against them, so fighting the case is pointless. However, in Virginia, the system is not stacked in favor of anyone. Additionally, due to the high percentage of semi-fraudulent charges, you owe it to yourself, and to your family, to at least allow a Leesburg domestic violence lawyer to review your case. You don’t know what legal options you have until you ask a professional.

Direct Consequences

Lengthy and difficult court supervision, along with a protective order, are the most common direct consequences of domestic violence allegations.

Designated domestic violence courts hear most domestic violence cases. The judge and the prosecutors receive special training in this area. So, judges can easily spot red flags that indicate the alleged victim’s testimony is fabricated or exaggerated. That insight might work for or against a defendant.

Furthermore, when prosecutors make plea bargain offers, they tailor probation to meet the needs of a case. These tailored requirements often include:

  • Medical bill restitution,
  • Agreement to a protective order,
  • Alcohol/drug abstinence,
  • Extended probation length, and
  • A “scared straight” jail sentence as a condition of probation.

Practically no one can complete all these requirements, meaning that further legal proceedings, mostly probation revocation matters, are almost inevitable.

The mandatory protective order agreement might be the harshest direct consequence. This agreement means the protective order goes onto the defendant’s permanent record. Additionally, protective order provisions, such as keep-away and no-contact orders, are almost as bad as the probation requirements.

Frequently, a Leesburg criminal defense lawyer works out a consent decree settlement in protective order cases. Consent decrees and protective orders are usually identical in terms of content, but they have much different permanent effects.

Collateral Consequences

Immigration consequences, family law effects, and reputational damage might be the most serious indirect consequences of a domestic violence conviction.

Ordinary assault and other domestic violence misdemeanors might not be deportable offenses by themselves. But they badly stain the defendant’s immigration record. Such convictions always bring people one step closer to deportation. Additionally, a domestic violence conviction adversely affects future status adjustment matters, like green card applications.

A domestic violence conviction or protective order is basically the kiss of death in family law actions. Furthermore, there’s no statute of limitations or lookback period. A negative entry now could affect a divorce twenty years later, even if no other parties were directly affected by that order. Additionally, such a negative entry could be an independent basis to modify custody or visitation.

As for the defendant’s reputation, we opened with the negative domestic violence statistics that we read almost every day. If the defendant is lumped into the “wife beater” category, there’s no telling what harm might ensue.

Reach Out to a Hard-Hitting Loudoun County Lawyer

There’s a big difference between an arrest and a conviction in criminal law. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Leesburg, contact Simms Showers, LLP, Attorneys at Law. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we start working for you.



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