Domestic violence is a serious criminal offense that is aggressively prosecuted in Virginia. One of the most common charges you could face is assault and battery against a family member, which can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
The punishments are harsh if you are convicted of a domestic violence crime, and you would also have to deal with long-term consequences, such as a permanent criminal record. However, there are steps you can take to protect your legal rights and fight the charges you face. Here are four crucial steps that you should take immediately.
#1: Cooperate With the Police
In most cases, the police will arrest someone if they are called to the scene of a domestic violence dispute. You should cooperate with the police to decrease the risk that you will be arrested for assault and battery on a family member or for another serious offense.
#2: Remain Silent
You will need to provide the police officer with your name, address, and relationship to the victim. However, you should exercise your constitutional right to remain silent and not answer any other questions without your lawyer being present. Any statements you make can be used against you by the police and prosecutor in your criminal case.
#3: Retain an Attorney
You should hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away after your arrest. A lawyer can mount a strong defense to the charges you face—whether you are falsely accused or are guilty of the crime—that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
#4: Follow the Requirements for Your Release
In domestic violence cases, the judge will often set conditions for the release of the perpetrator from jail. It is important to comply with these requirements to avoid being incarcerated or charged with additional offenses. Possible rules that you may have to follow include:
- Having no contact with the victim
- Completing an anger management course
- Attending drug or alcohol abuse classes or counseling
- Attending therapy sessions
Were you charged with a domestic violence crime in Virginia? Call our Manassas office or fill out the online form on this page to schedule your free consultation to learn how we can defend you.