Newport News Assault Penalties

Assault in Newport News is a Class One misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Assault in Virginia is a misdemeanor crime, so it is something that can result in jail time and can affect a person ’s ability to pass background checks later.  For that reason, a skilled assault lawyer can be helpful in defending a person against the charges that they may face. If you have been charged with assault, work with an attorney that could mitigate the Newport News assault penalties that you may face.

Enhanced Penalties in Assault Cases

If it can be shown that an assault occurred because of race, gender or national origin, there could be enhanced Newport News assault penalties attached, such as mandatory jail time required under the law or the judge could impose higher penalties than normal based on the circumstances. Examples of enhanced penalties are for threats made for racial reasons or gender. The specificity of a threat of more severe bodily harm will be treated more harshly by the judge.

Defending Assault Charges

For a conviction on a charge of assault, prosecutors must show that there was a specific threat to cause injury to another person and that the alleged victim was under a reasonable apprehension of injury from the defendant. However, once assault charges have been brought, a lawyer can defend someone with the option of taking two different avenues. One is to claim that the individual was not the one who made the threat, that somebody else made it. The other argument is that what they said does not constitute a threat that would put someone in any reasonable fear of injury. A lawyer may argue that it was an intense situation and what they said was not something that they normally do. The lawyer can point to their record and overall demeanor to try to indicate the behavior was not normal for them.

The evidence that a defense lawyer might use to challenge the prosecution depends on the case, but a lot of times a defense attorney will try to see if they can find other witnesses to the incident who can say exactly what the defendant did and may have viewed the incident differently from what is being alleged. In an assault charge like that, it often comes down to perspective and narrow details about what specifically was said and how it was said.

Diversion Programs

In Newport News, the judge has inherent authority not to put someone in jail. If they believe it is appropriate, they can require them to enter a diversion program for anger management or substance abuse, or they may impose an alternative sentence of no contact with the alleged victim or have the charge dismissed upon them completing a term of a good behavior as required by the court.

The Benefit of a Newport News Assault Attorney

Since assault charges carry the possibility of jail, it is important that a person retains an attorney who has experience with the system and may know what elements they must prove. A seasoned lawyer may be aware of the Newport News assault penalties that a person could potentially face. They could meet with the prosecution and may know the people involved, thus able to work to get the best possible outcome. If an individual faces assault charges, they should work with a capable assault lawyer who could advocate for them.