Those who are accused of domestic assault may have many concerns. They may wonder how these charges will affect their children and their job. These are valid concerns, which is why it is important to have a basic understanding of domestic assault laws in Virginia.
What is family abuse?
Cases of domestic assault and battery fall under the umbrella of criminal “family abuse.” Family abuse is defined as any act of violence, force or threat resulting in physical harm or putting one in reasonable apprehension of serious physical harm that is committed against a family or household member. Family or household members include spouses, ex-spouses, in-laws who reside with the accused, those who share a child together, co-habitants and those who have cohabitated in the previous year along with their children.
Penalties for criminal family abuse
If the police have a valid reason to believe an act of family abuse took place, they are legally required to arrest the person suspected of committing the abuse. Family abuse is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Those found guilty of this crime may face a jail sentence of up to one year and a $2,500 fine. If it is their third or more conviction within 10 years, they will be charged with a Class 6 felony and could face a prison sentence of up to five years.
Learn more about family abuse in Virginia
Being accused of family abuse is distressing, but help is available. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about family abuse may find our firm’s website to be a useful source of information.