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Washington DC Domestic Violence Penalties

Domestic violence charges can be very difficult because the parties involved in domestic violence often know each other very well. There can be a lot of emotional background and difficulty in hearing allegations made by a person an individual may know very well.

When a person is accused of a domestic violence offense, it is not uncommon for the person to want to convince their accuser to drop the charges. In these situations, the person should know that an accuser does not have the ability to drop or dismiss charges.

A domestic violence charge in DC can sometimes produce severe consequences. These penalties can seriously affect both an individual’s personal and professional lives. To best avoid these penalties and dismiss any further consequences you may be facing, consult with an experienced DC domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.

Potential Consequences

The immediate consequences of a domestic violence conviction in DC are jail time, probation, fines, restitution, and the possibility of a permanent criminal record. The immediate consequences have long-term consequences that could affect the person’s job and their ability to possess or purchase firearms.

The charges could affect custody arrangements or alimony cases if the parties involved in a domestic violence case have children or were married at some point. These consequences can be long lasting and are difficult to reverse once they begin. When a person contacts a lawyer, they can avoid or mitigate some of the immediate and long-term consequences. Any person convicted of a domestic violence crime can carry a number of long-term consequences. Criminal convictions can result in the loss of a person’s job in some situations, it could have an impact on child custody arrangements that are in effect between the complainant and the defendant.

Domestic violence convictions could also have an impact on a person’s ability to own or possess firearms and that can be under DC law or under federal law. Aside from the penalties directly connected to the DC domestic violence case, there are additional statutes that can impose additional penalties if a person is convicted of a domestic violence offense.

Processing the Charge

Domestic violence offenses are criminal charges handled by District of Columbia prosecutors. They are not civil matters in which one person can decline to press charges against another person. Once an accusation is made it is up to the prosecutors to decide whether they want to move forward on charges.

One thing that a person should not do when they are accused of a domestic violence offense is to reach out to the accuser and the accuser’s friends, family, or anyone else involved to get more information or convince the accuser to drop the case.

Initial Response

The defendant will first be presented before a judge to be arraigned on their charges and a judge will impose conditions that a defendant would have to comply with in exchange for their release pending trial.

In DC, there is no bail or bond and people are never required to put up money in exchange for being released but they may have an opportunity to be able to consult with DC domestic violence lawyers before their initial court appearance before a judge for their arraignment.

Contact a Lawyer

When a person is first arrested on domestic violence charges, they may not have the opportunity to immediately contact an attorney. This is because they are going to be immediately released with the citation to appear in court at a later date.

A person who has been arrested on domestic violence allegations may have an opportunity to be able to reach out to family members or friends from the police station and get assistance in hiring representation for their initial court appearance. If they are not able to do that prior to the initial court date then a defendant will still have legal representation at their arraignment, and they can be appointed by the court for the purposes of handling their arraignment, entering their plea of not guilty, and advocating for them with regards to releasing conditions. It is important to contact a domestic violence attorney who has experience in the mitigating DC domestic violence penalties to make sure the defendant understands their options. 

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