Domestic violence can occur at any time and in any relationship. You do not have to be married, engaged or even dating. It can even occur after the relationship ends; when the defendant and the victim no longer live together. It can take many forms including: harassing and annoying phone calls, the destruction of property, protective order violations, assault, battery and malicious wounding. Whether or not the charge is domestic or not depends on the nature of the relationship. Virginia adopts a very broad definition of what it means to be a Family or household member in Va. Code Ann. §16.1-228.
Domestic Violence Charge Defined
“Family or household member” means (i) the person’s spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person, (ii) the person’s former spouse, whether or not he or she resides in the same home with the person, (iii) the person’s parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, regardless of whether such persons reside in the same home with the person, (iv) the person’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law who reside in the same home with the person, (v) any individual who has a child in common with the person, whether or not the person and that individual have been married or have resided together at any time, or (vi) any individual who cohabits or who, within the previous 12 months, cohabited with the person, and any children of either of them then residing in the same home with the person.
Domestic Violence and EPO’s in Virginia
Domestic violence charges are usually accompanied by an Emergency Protective Order (EPO’s). EPO’s are orders issued by police and/or magistrates that forbid the accused from having any contact with the victim. EPO’s typically last for 72-hours and then they expire on their own. The victim is always free to renew the protective order in a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (J&DR). If the protective order is renewed, it is known as a Preliminary Protective Order (PPO). These orders are issued exclusively by a judge and last for several weeks. After the PPO is issued, the victim and the accused must return to the J&DR where a Permanent Protective Order hearing will occur. If the victim is successful at that hearing, the court will issue a Permanent Protective Order which will last for two-years. This order, like all protective orders, will expire on its own. It is important to remember that if any protective order is violated by the accused, jail time is mandatory.
Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction in Virginia
Domestic violence convictions and/or the issuance of any protective order can also have profound consequences on employment. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, it is a federal crime for you to possess, ship, transport or receive any firearm or ammunition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9). This prohibition applies to federal, state, and local governmental employees in both their official and private capacities. Violation of this prohibition is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. It is similarly unlawful to possess a firearm while being the subject of a protective order.
Contact a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Fairfax
It is clear, and therefore very important to contact a Domestic Violence Attorney immediately. Michael A. Robinson has literally prosecuted and defended thousands of domestic violence and protective order cases throughout Virginia. He understands Virginia’s substantive law and her criminal procedure so you can rely on his experience and expertise should you find yourself charged with a “domestic” related crime.