DC Domestic Violence Lawyer
In Washington DC, the Domestic Violence Unit handles misdemeanors where the defendant and the complainant have an intrafamily relationship as defined by the DC Intra-family Offenses Act, DC Code § 16-1001 et seq. As such, domestic violence crimes can include crimes such as assault, stalking, sex abuse, cruelty to children, and destruction of property.
If you have been convicted of a crime that was handled as a domestic violence case, such a conviction can not be expunged from your record. Depending on the severity of the crime, associated penalties could include years of incarceration and fines that can be difficult to afford in the midst of a legal battle.
Fortunately, charges handled by the Domestic Violence Unit do not necessarily lead to a conviction. With the assistance of one of our skilled Washington DC domestic violence defense attorneys, you can fight the charges, assert your constitutional rights and defend your innocence. Your defense lawyer will do everything in his or her power to work toward a favorable outcome in your case.
- Domestic Violence Investigations
- DC Domestic Violence Unit
- Penalties and Consequences
- Dropping Domestic Violence Charges
- Abuse of Vulnerable Adults
- How a Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help
How Domestic Violence Is Investigated
Criminal charges that are considered domestic violence in Washington DC are primarily handled by the District of Columbia Superior Court Domestic Violence Unit. This Unit is made up of two Domestic Violence Intake Centers in the DC area and a Supervised Visitation Area.
- Moultrie Courthouse Intake Center: Located at 500 Indiana Avenue, Room 4550, this intake center is responsible for all domestic violence filings in Washington DC.
- Greater Southwest Intake Center: This intake center handles only Temporary Protection Order filings, along with providing counseling and social services to domestic violence victims. The Greater Southwest Intake Center is located at 1328 Southern Avenue, SE, Medical Pavilion Suite 311.
Washington DC domestic violence lawyers can help you navigate the intricacies of the domestic violence court system while helping you get the best possible outcome in your case.
DC Superior Court Domestic Violence Unit
The DC Domestic Violence Unit handles most cases that fall under the domestic violence definition set forth by the District. As any resident of Washington DC can file a protection order at a Domestic Violence Intake Center, you can be served with a protective order unexpectedly. A qualified Washington DC domestic violence attorney can help you if such an order is brought against you. Residents of Washington DC can seek a protective order if the person against whom the order is issued is a:
- family member
- current or past romantic partner
- father or mother of shared child
In addition, Washington DC residents can seek protective orders against non-related people who are suspected of stalking or sexually assaulting/abusing the person seeking the order.
Failing to appear at a domestic violence hearing at Superior Court can result in a bench warrant being issued against you. If arrested on a bench warrant, you must appear at a hearing to set appropriate bail. A violation of any temporary or final protection order may be charged as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to 180 days, a $1,000 fine, or both. A violation of a temporary or final protection order is also punishable as criminal contempt with penalties of imprisonment up to 180 days, a $1,000 fine, or both.
Under Washington DC law, a temporary protection order issued by the Superior Court cannot be in excess of fourteen days from the issue date. But such an order can also be reissued by the court for another 14-day time period, something a qualified Washington DC domestic violence lawyer can help you fight.
Possible Consequences and Penalties
Judges in the Domestic Violence Unit have the power to hear domestic misdemeanor cases and adjudicate divorces, custody arrangements, paternity tests, and child support. Therefore, judges hearing cases in the Domestic Violence Unit of the Superior Court can hand down just as harsh sentences as other criminal courts in Washington DC.
Dropping Domestic Violence Charges
In the District of Columbia a charge that is handled by the domestic violence can be very serious and aggressively prosecuted. Prosecutors in Washington DC often enforce no-drop policy when it comes to domestic violence in an effort to support legal sanctions that lawmakers view as a deterrent to domestic violence. If you have been charged with a crime that is considered a domestic violence crime, it is important to speak to an attorney about the specifics of your case.
Domestic Abuse of Vulnerable Adults
According to Washington DC criminal code 22-933, it is illegal for a person to abuse a vulnerable adult. A vulnerable adult is defined as an individual of at least 18 years of age who is rendered unable to care for themselves as a result of a physical or mental condition. Criminal abuse of a vulnerable adult is defined as: inflicting or threatening to inflict physical pain or injury by hitting, slapping, kicking, pinching, biting, pulling hair, or other corporal means; using repeated or malicious oral or written statements that would be considered harassing or threatening; or imposing unreasonable confinement or involuntary seclusion. Criminal negligence is defined as knowingly, willfully, or recklessly failing to provide care and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of a vulnerable adult. Examples include, but are not limited to, failing to provide adequate food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision, or medical services.
Individuals found guilty of criminal neglect or abuse of a vulnerable adult are subject to up to $1,000 in fines and an imprisonment of 180 days, as per Washington DC criminal code 22-936.
How A Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve been charged with any type of domestic assault, abuse or neglect, your best recourse is to seek the legal assistance of a qualified Washington DC domestic violence attorney. One of our defense lawyers will thoroughly review every aspect of your case in order to create the strongest possible defense, one that will maximize your chances of receiving a balanced trial and a positive outcome.