Assault on a Family Member in Virginia

Assault and battery on a family member in violation of Virginia Code §18.2-57.2 is one of the most common offenses that I see in my office.

Very often, the parties have resolved their differences, and neither wants to go forward on the matter. The problem is that almost every local jurisdiction has a "no drop" policy for assault on a family member. What this means is that regardless of the parties' wishes, the case is going forward, and one side will be testifying against the other. For this reason, it is wise to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney if you or someone you love has been charged with assault on a family member.

The repercussions of a conviction for this offense are drastic and far reaching. For one thing, the charge is a class 1 misdemeanor, carrying with it the possibility of up to one year in jail, along with a $2,500 fine. Unlike many other class 1 misdemeanors which rarely result in jail time, judges routinely lock defendants up for assault on a family member.

In addition, by virtue of a federal law known as the Lautenberg Amendment, anyone convicted of a crime of domestic violence is forever prohibited from carrying a firearm. Obviously this affects sportsmen and gun enthusiasts, but more importantly in the Hampton Roads area, it has a terrible impact upon military members.

As a former member of the military, I remember qualifying annually (and even making expert once!) on an M-9. Almost every servicemember, regardless of rate or MOS, has a similar requirement. If you are convicted of assault on a family member, it is a federal offense to handle that weapon, even though qualifying on the weapon is a requirement of your military duties. Worse yet, there is no military exception to this law! The bottom line is that if you are convicted of assault on a military member, and you are on active duty or in the reserves, you will more than likely be discharged.

The takeaway from all of this is that these charges must be fought, regardless of whether you have worked out your issues with your spouse or significant other. And to do so, you need to hire an aggressive and experienced attorney. Call us today, we are ready to fight for you!

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