As we enter yet another school year in an uncertain climate, many parents and children are bound to have difficulty adjusting as they return to classrooms and offices. For children, stress sometimes manifests in fighting with siblings or at school - but what are the consequences? Understanding the intersection between juvenile crimes and fighting at school or with siblings can help you ensure your child stays safe throughout the year.
Can Sibling Fighting Result in Domestic Violence Charges?
Let's start with the topic of sibling fighting. To put it simply, yes, sibling fighting can result in one or both siblings receiving domestic violence charges.
While most people think of domestic violence, they imagine a spouse abusing their partner. However, when siblings abuse each other - whether sexually, physically, or verbally - that may also qualify as domestic violence.
In some cases, a parent or sibling may file a domestic violence charge against their child or sibling. Other times, a CPS investigation reveals domestic violence, and the state chooses to file domestic violence charges against the participating parties as a result.
Regardless, the outcome of domestic violence cases involving sibling fighting can vary depending on the details of the case. If one party was principally responsible for the abuse, the survivor/victim of the abuse may be able to obtain a protective order against them. This may result in the abusive sibling needing to leave the house or remain a certain distance from their sibling at all times, among other restrictions. In cases where the parents were aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it, they may be charged with neglect and lose custody of both siblings, even if the siblings are separated from each other.
Additionally, depending on the severity of the violence, the abusive sibling may be tried as an adult (if 14 years of age or older). To learn more about what factors may cause a juvenile court to transfer the jurisdiction of a juvenile to a circuit court so they can be tried as an adult, read this blog.
The wide range of potential penalties for sibling fighting makes having a reliable domestic violence and juvenile crimes lawyer beneficial to all parties involved in sibling violence cases.
Now, let's look at how fighting at school may impact children.
Can Fighting at School Result in Criminal Charges in VA?
Students who engage in physical violence on school grounds may be charged with assault and battery. Depending on the severity of the case, as with sibling fighting, students who engage in physical violence to a certain degree may be tried as adults. Alternatively, students may be disciplined by their place of education, or receive a sentence from a juvenile court.
The penalties levied toward students who engage in violence on school grounds vary widely depending on the severity of the case. Schools can take the following measures:
- Remove a child from their classroom;
- Present a student with an alternate learning or attendance plan (for example, creating a schedule that ensures two students who fight don't share classes with each other);
- Present a student with incentives for positive behavior;
- Offer mediation services to the fighting students to help them resolve their differences;
- Offer a community service penalty to students in lieu of more serious charges;
- Suspend or expel a student who fights on school grounds if the behavior is a recurring problem or the student harms another individual seriously enough;
- Report the behavior to another authority, such as law enforcement, which may result in assault and battery charges - misdemeanor or felony - against the student(s) involved.
If a student is charged with assault and battery, the penalties they receive can vary depending on whether they are tried as a juvenile or an adult. Individuals tried as adults may receive a jail sentence and/or fine, while individuals tried as a juvenile may need to take certain steps for rehabilitation or receive similar penalties in the juvenile system.
At the Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, we'll help you seek the best outcome for your child in your juvenile delinquency case. To schedule a consultation, contact us online or via phone at (757) 517-2942.