What is the Legal Process in a Domestic Violence Case?

  • Posted on: May 10 2023
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The state of Virginia takes domestic violence seriously. A person who is convicted of domestic violence faces possible jail time, fines, and restrictions on contacting the victim in the case. In addition, even a defendant who is ultimately acquitted of domestic violence charges may suffer damage to his or her reputation. Therefore, as a defendant in a domestic violence case in Virginia, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the steps in a domestic violence proceeding. In this article, we examine the legal process in a domestic violence case. 

Arrest and Possible No-Contact Order

A domestic violence case typically begins with an arrest. A domestic violence allegation alone is usually grounds for an arrest, particularly when the victim provides proof. Following arrest of the defendant, the victim in the case may request a no-contact order. In addition, the court may mandate such an order if the victim appears to be at risk of future harm.


Following arrest, the defendant attends an arraignment. During this proceeding, the court covers the charges in detail, and the defendant enters a plea. As a defendant in a domestic violence case, it is advisable to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before entering a plea. 


Next, the defendant in a domestic violence case attends pretrial and motion hearings. During this phase, it is common for the defendant and prosecution to negotiate a plea agreement. As part of such an agreement, the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence, or the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge. However, if the parties can’t reach an agreement during this period, then the case will proceed to trial.


Every criminal defendant has a right to a trial by jury. In the alternative, the defendant may opt for a trial by judge. During the trial, the prosecution and defendant have the opportunity to make arguments and present evidence to the court. In addition, each party may present and question witnesses, including character witnesses and eyewitnesses. The defendant’s goal during trial is to create reasonable doubt that prevents the judge or jury from entering a guilty verdict. The parties in a domestic violence case may reach a plea agreement at any point during the trial before a verdict is reached. 

Contact a Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing domestic violence charges in Virginia, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. At Walker Jones, PC, our criminal defense lawyers are here to provide you with a solid defense against your domestic violence charges. When you come to us for help, we will do everything possible to protect your rights and obtain a satisfactory outcome in your Virginia domestic violence case. Please contact us today to arrange a consultation with one of our talented criminal defense attorneys.

Posted in: Domestic Violence