If you’ve been charged with assault in Virginia, your freedom and future are at risk. In Virginia, there are several different categories of assault. Prosecutors can bring misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on whether there are aggravating circumstances in the case. Your Virginia assault and battery attorney will take these charges seriously and will seek out the most severe punishment possible in your case. The penalties may include jail time, fines, and more.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Fairfax Assault Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been arrested for assault in Virginia, it’s crucial that you’re represented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can defend you. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, our assault lawyers have extensive experience defending clients against criminal charges. After carefully reviewing your case, we will develop an effective legal strategy, seeking the best outcome possible in your case. Contact our Virginia criminal defense firm today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can advocate for your rights.
Virginia Law – Assault and Battery Attorney
Under Virginia law, assault involves an overt act with the intent to do bodily harm to another person. The defendant must have had the present ability to cause bodily harm. It can also be considered as an act intended to place another person in fear or apprehension of bodily harm. The act must create in the alleged victim a reasonable fear or apprehension of harm. In other words, a reasonable person would have thought that the defendant’s actions would cause bodily harm.
Different Types of Charges in Virginia
Assault is a unique crime. Anytime a defendant does something with the intent to do bodily harm to someone else and has the immediate ability to cause harm, an assault has occurred. There isn’t a crime of aggravated assault in Virginia because assault involves the threat of harm. As long as there are no aggravating factors involved, the defendant will face simple assault charges in Virginia, which is a misdemeanor.
Certain factors, called aggravating factors, can elevate the crime to a felony-level charge. For example, when it involves a crime against an elected official, an officer of the law, or an emergency responder, prosecutors will bring felony charges. The penalties for a Class 6 felony are a jail sentence of up to five years and a possible fine of up to $2,500. Other types of crimes that may be considered felonies due to aggravating factors include the following:
- With a gun or firearm
- Causing serious bodily injury
- During a robbery
- Malicious wounding
- Assault and battery of a household family member after two prior domestic assault convictions
- Reckless endangerment
The Difference Between Needing Assault Attorney and Battery Attorney in Virginia
Many times, prosecutors will bring assault and battery charges in Virginia. Assault is a different crime from battery, but they are often charged and prosecuted similarly. An assault is a threat together with the ability to carry out the threat immediately that puts the alleged victim in reasonable fear of bodily harm. Threatening words alone do not constitute an assault. However, if there are words and some effort or attempt to cause someone fear or actual harm, then prosecutors can bring assault charges. You need a battery attorney when you are involved in any type of offensive touching, even if bodily harm hasn’t occurred.
Assault and Battery Charges in Virginia
However, there is a separate legal charge for assault and battery. These are crimes that occur when one person touches another person rudely or angrily, such as punching someone else in the face. When the defendant does something to cause serious bodily injury to another person or uses a weapon to touch that other person, they may face more serious felony charges. Examples of felony charges include malicious wounding, aggravated malicious wounding, and unlawful wounding, all of which carry severe penalties.
When the prosecution can prove that the defendant chose their victim based on their race, religion, ethnicity, or other factors under Virginia’s hate crime legislation, the defendant will face felony charges, even if it was a simple charge.
Simple Assault Charges in Virginia
The penalties for simple assault are between 0 and 12 months in jail with a maximum fine of $2,500. In many cases, the court will also impose other penalties, such as a protective order prohibiting the defendant from contacting the exact time and returning to where the incident occurred. The court may require the defendant to undergo anger management or mental health treatment and counseling. Finally, courts can place defendants on probation, but this practice isn’t common.
Malicious Bodily Injury to Certain Persons
Malicious bodily injury to a certain person is a specific type of charge in Virginia. The prosecution must prove that the defendant caused a bodily injury against a victim in one of the following groups:
- Search and rescue personnel
- Law enforcement officers
- Emergency medical service team members
When the prosecution must prove that the defendant had the intent to kill, disable, maim, or disfigure the victim, the crime is considered a felony. The penalties include a prison sentence of 5 to 30 years and a fine of up to $100,000. There is a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years.
Domestic Laws – Assault and Battery Attorney
Domestic assault and battery is a crime against a household member or family member and is considered a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. The basic penalty in Virginia is up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, domestic charges of the sort can be raised to a Class 6 felony when the defendant already has two prior convictions within 20 years. Defendants over 18 convicted will have an emergency protective order filed against them.
Contact a Virginia Assault Lawyer Today
Facing assault charges in Virginia is serious and could lead to a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Defendants can face significant problems finding employment, housing, obtaining loans, and in their personal lives. With the help of an experienced Virginia assault and battery attorney, you can improve your chances of having your penalties lowered or even having your case dismissed. Contact Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC today to speak to one of our skilled Virginia criminal defense lawyers about your case.