The media often portrays domestic violence as one partner assaulting the other, but this is only occasionally reality. In Washington, D.C., domestic violence is a broad category that covers several misdemeanor and felony offenses between people with an intrafamily relationship. If you have been charged with domestic violence in Washington, D.C., you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney from S.L. England, PLLC, to protect your future.
Washington, D.C. law refers to domestic violence as an "intrafamily offense." To be charged with domestic violence, you must have a relationship with the alleged victim by blood, adoption, marriage/domestic partnership, or, in some cases, roommates. Whether the defendant is charged with domestic violence or the same crime without the domestic violence component depends on their relationship to the alleged victim.
Domestic violence encompasses several different offenses, including, but not limited to:
- Cruelty to Children
- Sexual Abuse
- Destruction of Property
The penalties for domestic violence vary based on the specific offense, and the penalties remain the same for domestic violence and non-domestic violence charges involving the same crimes. This may include jail or prison time; fines; loss of the right to own firearms; and/or probation. Long-term, a domestic violence charge can affect the defendant's custody rights to their children, alimony payments, or their job.
Domestic Violence Criminal Process in DC
Most cases start when someone calls the police department because a domestic violence incident is in progress. The Metropolitan Police Department responds to the location, and, due to the volatile and emotional nature of these incidents, usually makes an arrest.
If you are arrested for domestic violence, call your attorney as soon as possible so that they can attend the arraignment with you.
After a domestic violence incident, the alleged victim may file for a Civil Protection Order. This orders the defendant to stay away from the victim and cease all contact with them. This is a civil matter and does not affect the criminal charge.
The U.S. Attorney's Office prosecutes domestic violence cases. The alleged victim does not get to decide if they "press charges." The prosecutor determines if enough evidence exists against the defendant to file charges against them. The defendant must not contact the alleged victim, their friends, or their family, and try to convince the alleged victim to dismiss the charges or rescind their allegations.
The Domestic Violence Division of the Superior Court handles domestic violence criminal cases and Civil Protection Orders.
Have You Been Charged With a Domestic Violence Crime in Washington, D.C.?
Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony domestic violence charge in Washington, D.C., you need aggressive representation to protect your future. The criminal defense attorneys at S.L. England, PLLC, have the courtroom experience necessary to effectively argue your case in front of a judge or jury. Our attorneys understand that domestic violence incidents are emotionally-charged and that the alleged victim sometimes makes false accusations against you. If you have been charged with domestic violence in Washington, D.C., call us today at (202) 572-1020 or contact us online.