How long does a domestic violence case take?

Domestic violence cases are often contentious, adversarial, and lengthy. It can be frustrating for clients to assess how long it takes to resolve a domestic violence case. You may have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, and this can have a significant impact on how long the case remains active.

Whether you are charged with several felonies or a single misdemeanor, the stakes are high. Your liberty, your reputation, and your rights are on the line. The facts and circumstances of every case are unique. Therefore, it is essential that you speak to an experienced Fairfax criminal defense lawyer if you are dealing with a domestic violence case.

how long do domestic violence cases last

How long do domestic violence cases take for misdemeanors?

The general timeline for a misdemeanor case is three to four months depending on the nature of the charge and whether or not a plea deal is entered. The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea negotiations. However, many domestic cases involve heated accusations and actual innocence which often leads to trials. This can extend the time it takes for a domestic violence case to resolve.

Several factors can affect the length of a criminal case. Numerous witnesses may be relevant to the case because the events at issue occurred in a public place. In other cases, the events at issue may have occurred inside a private home and only the parties were present during the alleged act of domestic violence. A simple he-said, she-said case may be resolved quickly at trial, whereas cases with extensive evidence such as pictures and videos may take much longer. These elements can affect how long it takes for a case to proceed through every stage of the criminal justice system.

How long can a domestic violence case last for felony charges?

Felony cases take longer to resolve than misdemeanor cases. Felony offenses carry more collateral consequences than misdemeanor offenses, and therefore criminal defendants are more likely to go to trial on felony cases rather than misdemeanor cases. Felony convictions can result in your loss of right to vote or own a firearm. Felony convictions can bar you from certain careers and government benefits, and they can even impact where you live.

Most felony cases involving domestic violence last between six months and twelve months from arrest to sentencing although some can last much longer. Unless you are subject to a direct indictment, you may have a preliminary hearing date in lower court before your case is heard in Circuit Court.

The preliminary hearing

A preliminary hearing is a hearing in which the court will hear and review the basic evidence brought against you to determine if there is probable cause that you committed the crime accused. If the court determines that there was probable cause, the case will proceed to Circuit Court. It is important to remember that the standard for a preliminary hearing is low. It is not a day where you should expect to take the witness stand or present evidence, but it is an opportunity to hear what evidence is being brought against you.

Circuit Court

Once a case is in Circuit Court you will get the opportunity to request a bench (judge) trial or a jury trial. In some circumstances, the prosecutor may make an offer to reduce charges or agree to a sentence if you agree to enter a plea. You are not required to agree to any plea offer. A good criminal defense attorney will give you the best advice about what to do and then zealously pursue whatever decision you make in regards to a plea or a trial.

Will a perpetrator be permitted to return home before the case is resolved?

It is typically up to the judge to issue a bond. A criminal defendant can post bail as long as the judge does not believe the criminal defendant is a flight risk or someone who will harm others while awaiting the resolution of their case. Several factors will influence the judge’s decision after the criminal defendant files a bond motion. The court will likely consider the severity of the accusations and the criminal record of the defendant. The court will also determine if the defendant has a place to live where the court can be assured they can be found.

In domestic violence cases, it is common for judges to order that the defendant have no contact with the accuser as a condition of their bond. Protective orders often go hand in hand with bond in domestic violence cases.  Due to the high rate of domestic violence in some jurisdictions, it is not uncommon for a criminal defendant to remain in custody while awaiting trial on domestic violence charges.

Contact Select Law Partners PLLC Today in Fairfax, Virginia

Being accused of domestic violence is a traumatic experience. You may experience shame, humiliation, and fear after you realize that your reputation and your liberty are at stake. Do not be afraid to stand up for your legal rights. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can stand in your corner and zealously fight for you.

The criminal defense lawyers with Select Law Partners PLLC have years of experience representing clients in domestic violence cases. Contact us today at (855) 541-4867 to learn more about how we can help you with your domestic violence case.