Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
In Virginia there are an array of different assault related charges that someone can face. Below, a Virginia assault lawyer discusses these charges and the penalties that they carry. To learn more about assault call today and schedule a free consultation.
An assault is an overt act with the intent to do bodily harm to another together with a present ability to cause such harm, or it is an act intended to place another person in fear or apprehension of bodily harm. The act also has to create in that other person a reasonable fear or apprehension of harm. That is the legal definition, but there are many real-world ways that it sis charged.
An assault is different from assault and battery in Virginia, but they are charged the same way and are prosecuted in a similar fashion. The punishment for each is the same. An assault is essentially a threat with the ability to carry out that threat immediately that puts that person in reasonable fear of harm. Words alone are not an assault. But if there are words and there is some attempt or effort made to cause someone else harm or fear combined with the ability to do it, then someone can be charged and convicted of assault.
Assault is a very unique crime in Virginia in that assault itself is a misdemeanor offense and can only be charged when someone does something with the intent to do bodily harm to another person, together with the immediate ability to cause that harm. So, there is no real aggravated assault in Virginia because an assault is the threat to do harm. There is a completely separate charge for assault and battery which occurs when someone touches another person in a rude or angry manner, such as a punch. And if you cause serious damage to another person, or use a weapon to touch that other person, there are more serious felony charges that can be brought like Unlawful Wounding, Malicious Wounding, and Aggravated Malicious Wounding, which carry very serious sentences.
Additionally, in Virginia, if you assault and batter someone , even though that is typically a misdemeanor, it can be charged as a felony if if the assault victim is chosen because of their race, ethnicity, religion, and several other factors under Virginia’s hate-crime legislation.
Penalties for simple assault in Virginia are 0 to 12 months in jail, and a maximum $2,500 fine. And typically, the court will impose other sanctions such as no contact with the victim, no return to the place where the assault occurred, or anger management or mental health treatment and counseling. The court can place you on probation as well, but probation isn’t common in simple assault charges.