If you have been charged with misdemeanor assault, it is in your best interest to consult with a Prince William County assault lawyer to determine your strongest defense options.
By nature, assault charges tend to arise out of emotionally-charged situations that escalated quickly and unexpectedly. Both words and actions can later be used as evidence to support criminal charges, but in the absence of any video or audio recording of the event, these cases tend to rely heavily on fallible eye-witness testimony.
If you are facing criminal charges and the associated penalties for assault or assault and battery, you need the legal counsel of a Prince William County assault attorney. Your legal representative can help you understand the consequences that accompany a conviction and help you develop a strong defense to avoid conviction altogether or minimize the penalties you incur.
A common misconception regarding assault is that an assault on an individual involves a physical attack that injures the victim. The truth is, by definition, no physical contact is necessary in order for an assault to take place. Based on Virginia state law, the victim of an assault must feel that there is a serious threat against him or her of harmful or offensive contact by another person. This means that something as simple as a misconstrued statement or action that puts one in fear of harm by another could be taken out of context and leave an innocent individual facing criminal misdemeanor charges for assault.
Cases of simple assault result in charges and penalties as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Some charges of assault which are commonly classified as misdemeanor offenses include:
If the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual intended to cause such fear and had the means with which to invoke harm or physical offense to the alleged victim, an assault conviction will result in a maximum of one year in jail and a maximum $2500 fine. With such serious potential consequences for even a misdemeanor conviction, it’s a good idea to consult with a Prince William County assault lawyer as soon as you are able to discuss your defense plan.
More serious cases of assault are considered to be Class 6 felonies. Present in these assaults are aggravating conditions which result in a more violent or threatening offense. Aggravated assault charges may also result from the offender’s intentional choice of victim, based on certain national, racial, or other characteristics.
Under the Virginia Criminal Code, Section 18.2-57, assault crimes which target certain individuals are addressed. Commonly known as hate crimes, the code specifies that “if a person intentionally selects the person against whom an assault and battery resulting in bodily injury is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.”
Similarly, if the target of the assault is a judge or a certain class of civil servant, the same felony charges apply. According to the code, “if any person commits an assault or an assault and battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a judge, a law-enforcement officer, a correctional officer, a person employed by the Department of Corrections directly involved in the care, treatment or supervision of inmates in the custody of the Department, a firefighter, or a volunteer firefighter or lifesaving or rescue squad member, engaged in the performance of his public duties, such person is guilty of a Class 6 felony.”
The Prince William County assault attorneys at our firm handle other felony assault charges, which include, but are not limited to:
These and other cases of assault which are deemed to be Class 6 felony offenses may include a prison term of one to 10 years and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Malicious Wounding, which occurs when a person “maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts, or wounds any person or by any means cause him bodily injury, with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill” is a Class 3 Felony, punishable by 5-20 years in prison. If the other person suffers permanent physical impairment from those actions, a person can be convicted of Aggravated Malicious Wounding which is punishable by a mandatory 20 years in prison.
If you have been arrested and charged with assault, aggravated assault, or assault and battery, you may feel overwhelmed. However, by contacting an experienced Prince William County assault lawyer, you can obtain skilled legal representation to fight your charges. Your attorney will know the steps it takes to achieve a dismissal of your case, an acquittal at trial, or reduced charges.
If you are facing criminal charges for assault or similar offense, contact a Prince William County assault attorney today to schedule a free consultation. Get answers to your questions, and let your assault lawyer begin to develop a defense plan to help you move past these difficult assault charges.