Domestic Violence Lawyer Fairfax VA
If you are the victim of domestic violence, you have the option to file for a Protective Order in court. Protective Orders, known in some other states as “restraining orders,” come in three different types in Virginia. An Emergency Protective Order generally lasts for about 72 hours after being officially issued. A Preliminary Protective Order can last around 15 days, or until a court date in which you and the other party will present arguments and evidence for and against a Protective Order. If granted after the hearing, a Final Protective Order can last up to two years. A good Fairfax, VA domestic violence lawyer knows the best strategies to pursue and defend in Protective Order cases.
There is no cost to filing for a Protective Order, but it is important to have legal representation at any court hearing. Hiring a competent domestic violence lawyer Fairfax, VA residents rely on will give you the best chance at getting a Protective Order and a favorable outcome, or defending against one if someone accuses of you of domestic violence. If a person who is the subject of a Protective Order stops obeying the order and threatens you, contact law enforcement right away. They will arrest the individual, and he or she may be charged with a crime. You may also want to contact a domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA to explain your rights in this situation. Similarly, if you are subject to a Protective Order and you are charged with violating it, contact a domestic violence lawyer Fairfax, VA residents recommend right away because this can lead to jail time!
Protective Orders issued in one state must be honored and enforced in other states. Moreover, sometimes Protective Order issues can be resolved amicably between parties without the need for formal court hearings. Our lawyers have handled all manner of Protective Order cases. Our domestic violence lawyers in Fairfax, VA are experts in their field and will be able to clarify any questions you might have.
Domestic violence is a serious matter and Virginia takes it very seriously. For example, Virginia has recently changed its laws with respect to the interplay between domestic violence situations and guns. Although Virginia is known as a state that is more favorable to the rights of gun owners, once a Protective Order is issued this can have ramifications on concealed carry permits and even the ability to possess weapons. A good Fairfax, VA domestic violence lawyer has a thorough understanding of these issues and will be able to advise you so that you are not potentially charged with crimes. If you have any questions or concerns about how Virginia law prohibits domestic abusers from possessing guns, and how that law may differ from federal law, you should schedule a consultation with a domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA.
Domestic violence situations are emotionally distressing. Often, it is a person you know and love who is hurting you. You may feel hesitant about going to court or contacting law enforcement out of fear or guilt. Please understand that what you are going through is not your fault, and that it is perfectly reasonable to seek help for your own safety. Hiring a domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA means you will have someone on your side to advocate for you when you may feel too intimidated to do so.
By the same token, sometimes people are wrongfully accused of domestic violence, and that too is emotionally distressing. A domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA has been on both sides of these situations and can advise you as to possible defenses.
Creating a Domestic Violence Safety Plan
A compassionate domestic violence lawyer for Fairfax, VA understands the strength it takes to leave an abusive romantic relationship; it is one of the most courageous actions an individual can embrace. There are a host of reasons why leaving such a situation requires determination and bravery. Chief among these concerns is ensuring your safety and the safety of any minor children you may need to safeguard from your abuser.
Please know that though this process can be intimidating, there are ways to accomplish it safely and successfully and May Law, LLP wants to help. We hope that you will reach out to our firm (using a safe and secure method of communication that your abuser cannot trace) with any questions you may have as you make plans. Speaking with a domestic violence lawyer serving Fairfax, VA is confidential and does not commit you to take any legal action against your abuser, so please do not hesitate to safely voice your questions at any time they may occur to you. Among other services you may benefit from, once we understand the particulars of your situation, we would be happy to help you construct a safety plan should you be interested in creating one.
The Basics of Safety Planning
When planning to leave your abusive situation, it is important to store valuable information in ways that are protected. You will benefit from ensuring that everything from your photographs to your financial information is secured in the cloud. That way, it remains portable and accessible anywhere you go. Take care to begin transferring this data on a computer that your abuser does not have access to, as you do not want to have suspicious activity within your browser history that could provoke your abuser’s anger. Please make special efforts to secure any information that could be later used as evidence if you decide to pursue legal action against your abuser, ideally with the help of a Fairfax, VA domestic violence lawyer. You may also need to provide information related to a child custody dispute in the wake of your decision to leave.
It is also going to be helpful to open up a bank account and a line of credit in your own name before leaving, if doing so is possible, practical and will not endanger you or your kids. If your abuser has no access to these financial accounts, you will have an easier time (in a host of practical ways) once you are on your own.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If your life is being impacted by domestic violence, please consider connecting with a domestic violence lawyer from our Fairfax, VA firm in a secure way. If you are at all concerned that your email is being monitored, your phone is being monitored or you are at risk of being watched, be exceptionally careful in your methods of communication. A good option may be to contact us via a new email account that your abuser has no knowledge of. If you access this email account via a secure computer at your workplace or a public library, you may be able to contact us in a low-risk way. A new, secure email account may also allow you to connect with other resources as you have need of them. A domestic violence lawyer for Fairfax, VA will be happy to speak with you and to help you move forward with your life in safe and healthy ways. Reach out to us at May Law, LLP today.
How to Identify Abuse Before It Is Too Late
Abuse can start with subtle acts that are difficult to notice when involved in a romantic relationship. The beginning can seem fun and exciting. But, you soon begin to see characteristics that leave you with a nagging feeling that something is not right. You should never ignore a gut feeling. An abuser knows how to take advantage of your kindness, especially if you come from a healthy family unit that could make you particularly vulnerable to the schemes of an abuser. Your family may believe that the person you are with is nice because abusers can come across as being kind to others while manipulating you when you are away from your loved ones.
A domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax VA, at May Law, has seen various perpetrators from all walks of life. Most of them will display the same traits before a relationship turns violent. Here are five signs you should look for that could result in a potentially dangerous situation.
You Feel Small
If your mate hurts your emotions, your abuser minimizes your feelings and makes you feel stupid.
It Is Your Fault
You get blamed for just about anything that goes wrong, even when it is not your fault. Abusers will use these instances to provoke an argument that can turn violent.
You Are Being Misled
Gaslighting is a form of psychological or mental abuse where the perpetrator plants seeds of doubt to mislead you into questioning your reality. Your mate will gaslight you and make you feel like you are going crazy, and you begin to question your sanity. They make you feel as if you are being overly dramatic if you challenge them when they are caught in a lie.
Your Abuser Causes Strife
The person who claims to love you will attempt to turn your friends and family against you with lies and other manipulative tactics.
An abuser can come across as being a loving partner and, in the same tone, threaten to harm you if you decide to leave. A domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax VA can assist you in filing an order of protection if such threats have been made against you.
If you find yourself in a relationship that has turned violent and you want to get out, you should contact a domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax VA to help you file an order of protection. A skilled attorney at May Law has the experience to help you get out of the situation in a safe manner.
Petitioner’s Guide to Preparing for a Protective Order Hearing
Keep Records of Communication
Your chances of having your Protective Order granted are significantly higher when you can produce written or recorded evidence of abusive behavior. Do not delete or dispose of any text messages, emails, letters or voicemails you receive, as these are evidence for your case. Provide your domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA, with copies of all communications.
Get a Lawyer
Contacting May Law, LLP for legal representation drastically increases your chances of having a Protective Order granted. A lawyer can help piece together the evidence and witness testimonies to build a strong case against your abuser. A lawyer can also represent you in court during the hearing. During your testimony, the defense attorney may ask you inappropriate or leading questions to attempt to discredit you; your lawyer can recognize these tactics and ensure that you get a fair hearing.
Find Child Care
Children are typically not permitted in the courtroom during a Protective Order hearing, so you will need to arrange for your children to be cared for by someone you trust. Make sure the caregiver is aware that the proceedings may take longer than expected; you may find it easier to have a trusted friend or family member care for your children overnight. The obvious exception would be if your child needs to testify as a witness. Your domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA, can let you know whether your child’s testimony is necessary to win your case.
Ensure Your Safety
It is important to prioritize your safety and emotional wellbeing when preparing for your hearing. It is a good idea to contact the courthouse beforehand for instructions on checking in so you can avoid an encounter with your abuser before the hearing. You may also be able to arrange for a domestic violence advocate to be with you in the courtroom. The advocate can provide emotional support but can not give you legal advice or represent you in court; for legal representation, contact a lawyer at May Law, LLP.
Keep Your Composure
Appearance and professionalism are important in the courtroom. Your domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA, can offer you advice on how to behave during your hearing. You should dress neatly, arrive on time, be well-prepared and organized and attempt to maintain composure throughout the hearing. Although you will likely be feeling many strong emotions during your hearing, it is crucial that you remain as calm as possible during your testimony. Speak clearly, avoid interrupting, and always address the judge as “sir,” “ma’am,” or “Your Honor.”
Can Child Custody Be Impacted by Domestic Violence?
When a romantic relationship is impacted by domestic violence or accusations of domestic violence, the ripple effect of that reality is felt by more people than the two people directly participating in the relationship. When an individual is being horrifically wronged, either by suffering abuse or unfounded accusations of abuse, everyone who cares about that person becomes connected to the situation in some way. This is an especially challenging reality for any minor children affected by the abuse of a parent or the alienation of a parent via unfounded accusations.
There are certainly times when domestic violence or accusations of violence impact child custody cases. But this impact is not a forgone conclusion. No matter what circumstances a family is facing, American child custody cases are determined according to the “best interests of the child” standard. If a judge believes that an abuser or accused abuser is likely to harm the affected child or compromise that child’s best interests, then the related child custody orders will reflect that belief. But not every judge determines that abuse of a romantic partner or accusations of abuse necessitate compromised custody rights. It is in this way that the best interests of the child standard is objectively noble but subjectively applied. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to connect with an experienced Fairfax, VA domestic violence lawyer if you have concerns that either violence or accusations of violence could impact your child custody situation.
Thinking About a Child’s Best Interests
The subjective application of the best interests of the child standard is a “for better and for worse” reality. When abuse or abuse accusations impact the relationship between two parents, they are less likely to mediate or negotiate the terms of their child’s custody arrangements. This is perfectly understandable and even an intelligent approach, depending on the details surrounding the parents’ relationship. However, the choice to avoid settling matters between themselves means that a judge will have to make a best interests determination based upon his or her own judgment.
For obvious reasons, not all judges perceive family disputes in the same way and not all judges prioritize the same values. Some judges are eager to keep children away from suspected or convicted abusers while others believe that keeping parents involved in their children’s lives is a paramount concern. It is therefore important for parents affected by domestic violence or unfounded accusations to speak with an experienced Fairfax, VA domestic violence lawyer in order to obtain a better sense of how their unique situation will resolve.
Understanding the Different Types of Domestic Violence
Right or wrong, those charged with domestic violence often believe they’re innocent. This feeling sometimes derives from ignorance regarding the variety of ways the law recognizes abuse. It includes much more than mere physical assaults, such as hitting and choking. The following explains a little about some of the most commonly overlooked types of harm; a qualified domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA, can add additional clarification that could be helpful.
Under the law, certain types of verbal assaults qualify as a form of cruelty. Attacks on someone’s self-worth through constant criticism may be considered abuse. Calling a partner negative names, discouraging that person from pursuing a career or hobby, and interfering with familial relationships are all examples of emotional abuse. The expert attorneys at May Law are capable of helping determine whether particular actions caused this type of harm in the eyes of the law.
Well-adjusted citizens understand that rape is a crime. However, some otherwise law-abiding citizens have difficulty recognizing other sorts of sexual violations. Pressuring someone into having intercourse is a complex legal area that an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA, knows how to analyze. Saucy jokes and constant talk about sexually charged topics can land someone in trouble. The attorneys at May Law are qualified to work within this delicate legal territory.
Victimizers like to make the people they hurt dependent on them. One way they do this is by restricting access to money. Subsequently, any limitation placed on another’s right to handle their finances could be seen as having a nefarious motive. Seek a domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA, if you need clarification regarding what actions are considered abusive from a legal perspective.
Verbal or written threats to cause harm are punishable by law. The legal eagles at May Law know all about these types of charges. Stalking is another form of legally problematic threat. Following someone, sending unwanted gifts, and making constant phone calls are common types of stalking. In more recent times, cyberstalking has risen; those who flood someone with emails or texts may be found guilty of inflicting emotional distress on their recipient.
Domestic violence is about much more than just creating bruises and breaking bones. In a court of law, you could be found guilty of hurting someone in many different ways. Consult a domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA, if one of the above circumstances applies directly to you.
When Allegations are False
It is certainly possible for a police report to be filed against you, and that alleges you committed an act of domestic violence. You may be arrested without a warrant, and only if there is probably cause to suggest assault and/or battery. If you have been arrested, felony charges could result, and if you are found guilty, you may be sentenced to jail or prison. You may also lose your job, your parental rights, and have a criminal record. Unfortunately, many of these cases lack evidence or proof of domestic violence. Sometimes the charges are based upon the statement made by the victim or a witness. If you believe the charges against you are false, you should consult a domestic violence lawyer Fairfax, VA has to offer.
How a Lawyer Can Help You
By choosing to have a domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA on your side, you can feel confident in knowing that we will do our best to protect your interests and your freedom by:
- Identifying and collecting strong evidence
- Subpoenaing witnesses
- Lifting protective orders
- Questioning the accuser
- Entering a plea deal
Victims of domestic violence may suffer significant emotional, mental, and physical abuse; however, anyone who witnesses this abuse may also suffer – especially children. At May Law, LLP, we not only help those who are not guilty of a crime preserve their freedom, but we also help victims and children. We are very knowledgeable in both criminal and family law; therefore, we can advocate for you and your family’s safety. If you need emergency protective orders, or otherwise help with domestic violence, please give us a call today.
A Private Domestic Violence Lawyer in Fairfax, VA Can Make a Difference to Your Case
Although you may have access to public legal resources, the level of personalized care and attention you will receive from a private Fairfax domestic violence lawyer cannot be ignored.
In the event that you are facing charges for domestic violence, you should know that a conviction can result in:
- A jail or prison sentence
- Up to $100,000 in fines
- Revocation of your parental rights
Asking for the Charges to Be Dropped
If you are the accuser of domestic violence and would like the charges to be dropped, you might find this difficult to do. By law, a person can be arrested, charged, and prosecuted even if the victim does not wish this. Only the prosecutor can decide to drop the charges.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, let a domestic violence lawyer in Fairfax, VA explore the circumstances of your case to determine a strategic plan of action that could result in a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you have questions about child custody matters, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with an experienced Fairfax, Virginia domestic violence lawyer. If you have concerns that meeting with an attorney will lead to an unsafe situation for you, consider contacting May Law, LLP in a secure manner. Connecting with our firm via a secure computer at a public library through an email account your child’s other parent has no knowledge of may be a viable option.
Contacting a Fairfax, VA domestic violence lawyer does not compel you to take any legal action whatsoever. And consultations are generally confidential, so please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have. Child custody matters are uniquely stressful, personal challenges to navigate. You do not need to navigate yours alone. Seeking legal guidance and support may benefit you even more than you suspect it might.
“May Law has been tremendously helpful to me and my family members over the years. From wills to wise counsel. Can’t recommend them enough.”