Suffolk Assault Lawyer

The crime of assault occurs when one person attempts to touch another in an offensive way. Unlike battery, the crime of assault centers around putting another person in fear of harm. Assault charges are significant, with the law treating some versions of the crime as a felony. If convicted, you are at risk of fines or spending time behind bars. Thankfully, a skilled lawyer could help your case.

If you are facing charges of assault in Suffolk, you should discuss your options with a skilled criminal defense attorney right away. The earlier your Suffolk assault lawyer starts building your defense, the better your chances of a favorable outcome.

Degrees of an Assault Charge

Assault charges run the gamut, from a lower misdemeanor to serious felony. While all of these charges could result in jail time, a felony assault case could have substantially higher penalties upon conviction. These crimes fall into two basic categories: simple assault and aggravated assault. An experienced Suffolk attorney could defend either type of assault charge.

Simple Assault

According to the Code of Virginia Section 18.2-57, Simple assault is typically a Class 1 misdemeanor. Upon conviction, it could carry up to a year in jail and a fine of no more than $2,500. On the other hand, an assault charge becomes a Class 6 felony if the defendant targeted the alleged victim based on their religion, race, or other protected class. It is also possible to upgrade these charges if an assault is carried out against a peace officer. Under state law, the term peace officer applies to more than the police. It also includes judges, firefighters, and corrections officers, among others. The penalty for a Class 6 felony is at least one year in prison in addition to a fine.

Aggravated Assault

According to the Code of Virginia Section 18.2-51, an assault is considered aggravated if it involves injuring a person by shooting, cutting, stabbing, or wounding them. This charge is only appropriate if the defendant intended to cause severe or fatal injuries. If the jury determines the aggravated assault was carried out with malicious intent, the crime is treated as a Class 3 felony. Otherwise, aggravated assault is a Class 6 felony.

Just like with other Class 6 felonies, a non-malicious aggravated assault could carry between 1 and 5 years in state prison. The sentence for a Class 3 felony is much higher. In that case, the judge will sentence a defendant to no less than 5 but no more than 30 years in state prison.

Domestic Assault

Any assault crime that targets a person’s immediate family or a member of their household could qualify as domestic assault. This charge is functionally the same as a simple assault offense. That said, it is possible for the prosecutor to treat a misdemeanor assault as a Class 6 felony if the defendant has two prior convictions for domestic assault in the previous 20 years.

How a Suffolk Assault Attorney Could Help

If you are under investigation or charged with assault, you could benefit from discussing your options with a skilled attorney. Assault charges and a criminal conviction can have serious consequences that could follow you for a lifetime. You are entitled to a vigorous defense in your case. To aggressively pursue the strongest defense possible, reach out to a Suffolk assault lawyer today.