Domestic violence and abuse charges have been increasing across Northern Virginia and statewide.

This month, Virginia Beach–the state’s largest city– gained attention for launching a domestic violence awareness campaign in response to two years of increased murders related to domestic abuse. About 25 percent of Virginia Beach homicides were domestic related in 2016 and 2015.

Unjustly accused?

If you have been unjustly accused, it’s important to know the facts about assault and battery and other related charges in Prince William County and across Virginia. The Commonwealth can and will prosecute offenders, even if the victim decides not to press charges.

7 facts to know

Know these 7 facts if charged with domestic violence in Prince William County or any other Northern Virginia locality:

  • Assault and battery is the common charge in Virginia law for domestic abuse. Assault is the threat of physical harm while battery is the actual application of physical harm, which can include simple touching of another, whether on purpose or in anger.

  • Responding police take domestic abuse allegations seriously. In Prince William County, the police department was one of the first in the state with a mandatory arrest policy for domestic-related assaults. If the police officer determines enough probable causes exists that a crime has occurred, an arrest will be made.

  • A temporary protective order may be issued against you before you have the chance to defend yourself. The process is less protective of your legal rights than a criminal trial. They are often issued quickly and improperly with not enough evidence.

  • It’s important to take legal action if you feel you have been unfairly subject to a protective order. It can prevent you from seeing your children and could lead to serious consequences in a divorce or criminal case.

  • Consent, touching, mistaken identity (“it wasn’t me”) and self-defense are common examples of defenses that may be available to you for certain charges.

  • If your constitutional rights are violated while officers collect evidence of domestic abuse, the evidence may be excluded from court.

  • Did the police officer read you the Miranda warning (“You have the right to remain silent..”) when you were arrested or taken into custody? If not, any information you provide the police once taken into custody may not be used against you in most cases.

Avoiding or minimizing penalties

Experienced Virginia domestic abuse lawyers Tracey Lenox and Michael Hollingsworth with Nichols, Zauzig & Sandler will explore all the facts to avoid conviction or minimize penalties in your case. With offices in Woodbridge, Stafford and McLean, we are convenient to all Northern Virginia locations. For a personal consultation call 703-492-4200 or email us using the form on this page.

DISCLAIMER: The results of every case depend on factors unique to that case, and NZS Law does not guarantee or predict results in any given case.

About the Author:
Tracey Lenox
Criminal Defense Attorney