Virginia Beach Assault Lawyer
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, assault is a crime. Assault is defined as causing someone to experience a reasonable fear of imminent harm or offensive contact. Assault and battery are often charged together, although these are separate crimes. If you are charged with assault, a Virginia Beach assault lawyer can help you to understand your options for navigating the criminal justice system.
- Different Assault Charges in Virginia Beach
- Penalties for Assault in Virginia Beach
- What to Expect at Trial
- Building a Defense in An Assault Case
- How Virginia Beach Treats Assault Cases
- Assault on an Officer
Virginia Beach Assault Lawyers Can Help
According to the Virginia Beach Electronic Police Reports, there were thousands of reports of assault over the course of 2013, including:
- 173 instances of aggravated assault.
- 2,927 instances of simple assault
Virginia Code Section 18.2-57 defines assault offenses. Assault is usually charged as a misdemeanor, unless there were aggravating factors. Under Section 18.2-11, penalties for simple assault include a fine up to $2,500 and up to 12 months of jail time. If the assault was committed against a teacher or healthcare provider who was working at the time, you will still be charged with a misdemeanor but will face a minimum of 15 days’ incarceration. Even though misdemeanor convictions are generally less serious than felonies, they still result in a permanent criminal record, which is why it’s important to consult a Virginia Beach assault lawyer as soon as you are charged.
Some types of assault are felonies. Under Virginia Code Section 18.2-57:
- Assaulting a victim because of his religion, race, color, or national origin is a class 6 felony.
- Assaulting a police officer, emergency medical technician, or certain other public servants is a class 6 felony.
Class 6 felony offenses can result in a minimum of six months of confinement.
Assault and Battery in Virginia Beach
While assault is making someone fear imminent unwanted contact, battery is actually making that contact. You can be charged with battery for any type of unwanted touching, including indirect touching. This means you may be charged with battery for kicking, pushing, or hitting someone with your hand or any object. If you throw something at someone or cause someone to be struck by something due to your actions, this is also battery under Virginia law.
It is possible to be charged with assault and not battery if you never actually make the threatened unwanted contact. It is also possible to be charged with battery and not assault if you strike someone unexpectedly but do not first make that person fear the contact. However, these two offenses are very commonly charged together.
Penalties can be very serious for assault and battery, especially if you use a weapon or wound someone. Battering someone with the intent to cause serious bodily injury is a class 3 felony with a minimum penalty of five years confinement under Section 18.2-51. If you cause permanent injury, the offense is a class 2 felony under Section 18.2-10, and you face between 20 years to life in prison.
Hiring a Virginia Beach Assault Lawyer
A Virginia Beach assault lawyer can provide important assistance if you have been accused of an assault crime. Your attorney can:
- Help you to negotiate a plea bargain to try to reduce penalties you face.
- Raise defenses, including lack of credible threat, self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property. Lack of a credible threat means you did not commit the crime of assault because the alleged victim did not reasonably fear imminent unwanted contact.
- Introduce doubt about your guilt. Unless a prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed an assault, a jury should not find you guilty.
Contact a Virginia Beach assault lawyer as soon as you can after you have been arrested, so that he or she can begin investigating, interviewing witnesses, and building your case.