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I got charged with domestic violence, assault and battery. Will I go to jail?

Alexandria, VA |

My boyfriend & i were drinking one day & got into an argument which led to physical violence. I only had a busted lip but i scratched him all over his body including face to the point where he was bleeding. I was the only one who was arrested even though i was just trying to defend myself. I know i exaggerated but alcohol was involved & it wasn't the first time he hit me so i was angry from that as well. I am also scared because my kids witnessed everything & i don't know if they will use that against me. I got a no contact order with my boyfriend until my.court date & kids are still living with me but with cps coming to check on us once in a while. I am 100% sure he doesn't want to press charges. What is the worse that can happen? What happens if he doesn't show up to court?

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Attorney answers 3


First, if he fails to show up in court when subpoenaed, the case will be continued, and he will have either a Show Cause Order or capias (arrest warrant) issued against him. You are being prosecuted by the State. He is just a witness. It is up to the Commonwealth's Attorney, not your boyfriend, to decide whether the charges proceed to trial.
Second, with this type of conduct in front of your children, you could end up losing them!
Third, you could go to jail; however, that is unlikely for the first offense.

This response does not create an attorney-client relationship and is intended for general information purposes only.


Regarding what happens, generally, if a State's prosecuting witness doesn't show up to Court, it is entirely up to the District Attorney's Office -- this is a criminal matter, not a civil matter (it's the Commonwealth vs. you, not your husband vs. you). Make sure you consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.


If the prosecutor issues and he is served with a witness subpoena, he is required to come to court and can be charged with contempt of court - failure to obey a court order - if he does not show up for court.

If this is your first domestic assault and battery charge, and the evidence is sufficient to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you can reasonably expect the court to place you on two years probation, require that you complete a domestic violence program and maybe do a substance abuse assessment/program as well, and have no further violations of law. if you do that, you can expect the court to dismiss the case at the end of the two years. This is pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.3.

Because you state that your actions against your BF were in self defense, you definitely want to get an attorney to represent you.

Good luck.

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