Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Assault is a term used in criminal law to refer to many different types of conduct. Since assault is considered a violent offense, even the least serious forms of this crime could have severe penalties and create a negative impression when anyone views your record.
It may be wise to take assault charges seriously, even if they arose from a simple argument that got out of hand. A knowledgeable Brunswick County assault lawyer could work to create the right defensive strategy for your situation so you can fight the charges and minimize the impact on your life. A dedicated criminal defense attorney who knows how local courts handle assault cases could advocate on your behalf to help achieve a positive outcome.
Assault is used to refer to different types of criminal activity and to the tort of assault, for which one person may sue another person in civil court. Under the traditional definition in both criminal and civil law, an assault occurs when someone either attempts to make unwanted physical contact with another person or when someone takes a menacing type of action that places another person in fear of immediate physical injury.
A simple assault under this definition involves no injury and in fact no physical contact at all. It is more of a threat, placing another person in fear that they are about to suffer imminent physical harm.
This traditional definition is also referred to as a common law definition since it was defined by prior court rulings passed down over time, which is contrary to a statutory definition that is described in a specific statute. In Brunswick County, it is important to be aware of both the common law offense and the statutory offenses.
A knowledgeable attorney could help a person understand Brunswick County assault laws and how they may affect their case.
Under common law, when someone hits or makes contact with another person against that persons’ wishes, the contact is referred to as a battery. Virginia Code Annotated §18.2-57 prohibits both “simple assault” and “assault and battery” and treats these offenses similarly.
Someone could be accused of committing a criminal assault in Brunswick County when they intentionally make harmful or offensive contact with another person or threaten to do so. Examples might include punching someone, spitting on another person, or even raising a fist near another person.
As a Brunswick County assault lawyer could explain, simple assault or assault and battery is treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Those convicted face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
A number of different factors could aggravate an assault or assault and battery and increase both the severity of the offense and the penalties associated with that offense. Intentionally targeting someone because of their “race, religious conviction, color or national origin” turns a simple assault into a Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment.
The offense is similarly aggravated when an assault is carried out against judges, corrections officers, firefighters, and other specified public employees. An assault, while not treated as a felony, is also aggravated when carried out against a school employee or emergency medical care provider. Those accused of aggravated assault are recommended consult a Brunswick County assault lawyer for advice.
While assault is often classified as a misdemeanor, it is a violent offense with negative connotations that could have an adverse impact on your record for years to come. It is wise to take a proactive stand and build the best defensive strategy as immediately.
A knowledgeable Brunswick County assault lawyer could work to protect your rights while collecting and preserving evidence to defend you against the charges. In many cases, it may be possible to have charges dismissed through accord and satisfaction or other means. To learn what may be possible in your case, call now.