Domestic violence charges involve some of the more complex issues in the Virginia criminal justice system. It should first be noted that most of these charges are heard in a special court known as the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. The practical effect of this designation is that judges and prosecutors in these cases may be perceived to be hypersensitive to domestic violence issues. These courts typically hear cases involving children, alleged rapes, and many forms of sexual assault.
The next crucial issue for these cases is that many people involved in domestic cases want to "drop the charges" in Virginia this is simply not possible. Once a person reports a crime to a magistrate or to the police the decision to proceed rests with the prosecution office.
Although a suspected victim may not "drop the charges" an experienced defense attorney can achieve a similar ultimate result. If the defendant and the victim both wish for the case to be terminated, there is a legal process to effectuate this desire. Domestic court has a different tempo and pace than regular criminal court.
In juvenile cases, the court will often consider dispositions or outcomes that are not available in adult cases. Juvenile courts recognize that kids make mistakes. Although there is a definite trend towards treating juveniles like adults the juvenile system in Virginia is very adept at fashioning results that are narrowly tailored toward the unique needs of citizens below the age of 18.
Despite this understanding those accused should not wrongfully perceive that convictions prior to the age of 18 will automatically be erased from a criminal record. Juvenile convictions are used when considering a person's civil rights.
Thus, accused persons may be benefited by considering attorneys with specific domestic experience. I served as a domestic violence prosecutor for several years. That experience allows me to help my clients reach towards desired results.