Falls Church, VA asked in Domestic Violence, Family Law and Criminal Law for Virginia

Q: My wife was charged with Dom Vio on me. Our oldest son was present. It was a small incident that got out of control.

What can I do to drop charges? It’s her first offense. What should we be expecting?

1 Lawyer Answer
Robert Tyler Bezilla
Robert Tyler Bezilla
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Fairfax, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: In Virginia the Commonwealth Attorney decides whether to drop the charges in court. That said, they will listen to your wishes as the "victim." Under the Va code and the Va constitution they have to seek your input before disposing of a case. You will get a chance to tell them you want the charges dropped at that time. For a first time Dom Vio charge where nobody was hurt, it's common to get the charge dropped.

That said, your wife should hire a lawyer to help. Presenting mitigation evidence (like it was a stressful day or this has never happened before) or showing some affirmative action to correct the behavior (like a treatment program) can persuade the Commonwealth to dismiss the case. You might even see your wife get a disposition called a general continuance where the prosecutor continues the case out a few months to make sure nothing happens again then dismisses the charge when you return to court (assuming nothing else occurred).

Even if you got a tough prosecutor who wouldn't give your wife a break, the Virginia code allows for deferred disposition by statute for a first time offense (it requires treatment and other things over a period of 6 months followed by 2 years probation). There's a lot of other aspects to it such as do you need to testify, what do they have to prove, etc. The long and short is this. You can't decide to drop the charge but you can probably convince the Commonwealth to drop it with a lawyers help.

Sorry you're going through this and best of luck.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.