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Domestic Violence Attorney in Virginia
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After Domestic Violence Allegations in Virginia, Contact a Local Attorney

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways:

  • Domestic violence charges in Virginia are some of the most impactful charges you can face.
  • Depending on the circumstances, these could be a misdemeanor or a felony charge.
  • A domestic violence conviction can hurt you professionally, financially, and socially.
  • There are viable legal defense strategies that may help you.
  • Contact Randall & Bruch, PC, for immediate help.
man in foreground with balled fist with woman in background shielding her face on the ground to demonstrate dangerous domestic violence situations

In Virginia, domestic abuse charges can have serious consequences on your personal and professional life. Domestic violence charges impact a person’s life for years to come, justified or not. A domestic violence charge can remain on your record, making it challenging for you to get some jobs. Also, a domestic violence conviction carries much more stigma than a simple assault conviction. If someone sees an assault on your record, they assume you got into a drunken brawl at a bar. If they see a domestic violence charge, they’re more likely to assume you’re an abusive partner.

Whether you were falsely accused and trying to clear your name, or you made a mistake and are trying to lessen the penalties, you should contact an experienced Virginia domestic violence attorney. The experienced domestic violence attorneys at Randall & Bruch understand how the legal system in Virginia works and can help you navigate your case.

What is Domestic Violence in Virginia?

Domestic violence is a crime in which abusive behavior or actions take place between intimate partners or family members. This can include children, spouses, parents, siblings, or others living within the same home.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

Charges for domestic violence in Virginia are dependent on the type of charge or the act committed. Some examples of criminal charges include the following:

  • Assault and battery against a household member: This is a Class 1 misdemeanor under Code Section 18.2-57.2. Penalties include a year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
    • Those with two or more prior convictions can have their charges upgraded to a Class 6 felony, requiring at least one year and up to five years of incarceration.
  • Assault and battery: Code Section 18.2-57 does not require a specific family relationship but can be applied. In these situations, it can be a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Malicious wounding: This type of domestic violence falls under Code Section 18.2-51. It is a Class 3 felony related to intentional or malicious acts with a weapon or other means and carries a minimum of five years and up to 20 years of incarceration; it can be upgraded to a Class 2 felony if a person suffers permanent impairment.
  • Stalking: Under Code Section 18.2-60.3, stalking is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense but can be upgraded to a Class 6 felony if the same person is stalked within the same five-year period.

Also, consider the social impact and effects of a domestic violence conviction. It could make divorce more challenging, custody battles become more complex and harder to win, and it may impact your ability to obtain future employment. It also makes it harder for you to obtain security clearance for some jobs and bars you from owning guns.

Defenses for Domestic Violence in Virginia

If you are charged with domestic violence, your domestic violence attorney will develop a defense strategy that can support you throughout the case. Some of the potentially viable legal defenses that may apply in some cases include:

Self Defense

In some situations, it may be possible to prove that your actions resulted from self-defense or protecting yourself from imminent harm.

False Accusations

In some situations, obtaining evidence that verifies that the charges are based on inaccurate and false information could also be a viable defense. This may include showing that the acquisition is being done out of spite, revenge, or to provide some other advantage to the accuser.

Lack of Evidence

A simple statement is not enough, in many cases, to meet the burden of proof for domestic violence charges. If the prosecutor cannot provide sufficient evidence of the abuse occurring, the case may be dismissed.

man grabbing the arm of a woman in living room to represent the dangers of domestic violence

Protective Orders in Virginia Domestic Violence Cases

Protective orders are a complex aspect of domestic violence laws. If you are charged with domestic violence or someone takes legal action to have protective orders placed against you, you need to know your rights.

  • A preliminary protective order is issued by the court to protect the health and safety of victims of violence. It lasts for 15 days from when the alleged abuser is served or until the full hearing.
  • Emergency protective orders are put in place when the judge believes the abuse will continue and there is an arrest warrant. This warrant lasts for three days.
  • Final protective orders are issued after a hearing in which the defendant is present. They can be in place for two years.

Keep in mind that someone who violates a protective order could be charged with violation of a protective order and may face additional, relevant punishments.

Why Clients Choose Randall & Bruch, PC

Randall & Bruch, PC is a committed, trusted legal resource for those charged with or accused of domestic violence. As an aggressive criminal defense team, we work hard to protect your rights, whether that means clearing your name or arguing for your charges to be reduced.

We take a proactive approach to domestic violence cases to help the courts understand that you are taking your charges seriously and don’t intend to be a repeat offender. Whether that means sobriety, anger management classes, or other preemptive programs, our goal is to show the court that you are already on the path to self-improvement. The court has a two-year program for first offenders, but if you come in demonstrating that you recognize the problem and are working on it, we may be able to talk them down to dismiss the charges after six months of good behavior.

If you are facing domestic violence issues in Virginia, you should obtain legal advice from a local, highly experienced defense lawyer.


“Nothing but the best! Jack may seem a little high-strung, but believe me when I tell you the comfort he brings watching him in action. Jack is able to navigate the legal system in a way only a true professional who loves their job can. […] His staff is amazing as well and always willing to help. As with any profession, you are only as good as your staff, and Jack has a GREAT staff that pulls the strings so his clients do not have to. Jack and his team were able to finally bring a true peace to my family, which I will never forget.” — Andrew S.

“I was very satisfied with this law firm and its staff. Lori was very courteous and a pleasure to work with. She made sure I received the links I needed in a timely fashion and kept me posted. The attorneys were magnificent as we received the outcome I so desperately desired. God is in the miracle business, but they aren’t far behind.” — Aaron D.

Additional Resources

Keep Your Family and Your Reputation Safe

Contact Randall & Bruch, PC, to help you through this challenging situation. Our domestic violence defense attorneys in Virginia can protect your rights and your future. We handle all family law matters and work with you on any legal issues involved in domestic violence charges, including divorce and custody. We serve Southeastern Virginia and Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, Sussex, and Southampton. Contact our criminal defense attorneys today by calling 757-425-2300 or using our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Conviction for Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody and Visitation?

Absolutely, it can. A conviction of domestic violence will likely affect child custody and visitation time. The court has the primary duty to act in the best interest of the child, which means caring for their health and safety. Domestic violence convictions can be used as evidence that the child is unsafe around you. Additionally, any time you serve for a conviction is time you spend away from your child, making later custody battles more difficult. Legal representation is critical in these challenging matters.

Why Does Virginia Law Distinguish Assault and Battery Against a Family Member?

Assault and battery against a family member can be a much more serious crime than getting into a fight with a stranger. A third conviction for assault and battery against a family member is a Class 6 felony, which leads to harsher punishment, including prison time and restraining orders.

What Court Handles Domestic Violence in Virginia?

Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court handles these types of cases. These are completed in a closed courtroom.

jack t randall

Written By Jack T. Randall


As lifelong resident of Western Tidewater, Jack Randall is a local attorney who wants the best results for his clients. He is an experienced and aggressive attorney with focus on family law, criminal and traffic law, as well as personal injury law cases.