When a Blacksburg, Virginia, resident faces a criminal charge related to alleged domestic assault, he may realize that jail time, fines and other consequences are real possibilities. Moreover, a conviction related to domestic violence can make it very hard for a person to find a job or continue his education.
However, what some might not realize is that, even more so than other types of crimes, domestic assault convictions come with significant collateral consequences that can interfere with a person’s life and goals years or even decades down the road. This is so even if it is a person’s first offense and there are no aggravating circumstances.
Take, for instance, the case of child custody and visitation. Under Virginia law, judges deciding custody and visitation have the right to consider any history of family abuse. Family abuse includes allegations that one parent of a child assaulted the other parent, even if the child was not involved or even in the vicinity when the alleged incident occurred.
Moreover, should judges find a history of domestic abuse, then they may focus quite narrowly on the need to protect the child. More specifically, they need no longer consider whether the other parent, the alleged victim, is willing to allow the parent to have access to the child. She will instead be allowed to do what she needs to do for the family’s safety.
This is just one more reason why it is so important for Blacksburg residents who are accused of domestic violence, especially if they are parents, to consider mounting an effective criminal defense against the charges. Not only can the penalties for such charges be severe in their own right, they can also indirectly lead to a person’s losing her ability to have a relationship with her child.