MANASSAS LAWYER REPRESENTING ASSAULT AND BATTERY DEFENDANTS
A charge of battery or assault is a serious criminal charge. Upon conviction, a person could be jailed, fined, or ordered to serve probation. But being charged with battery or assault doesn’t make you guilty. Good legal assistance is available to help you fight a battery or assault charge.
How is assault defined in Virginia? How is battery defined? What are the penalties if you’re convicted of either crime? And what should you do if you’re charged with battery or assault?
Battery happens in Virginia when someone touches someone else – without permission – in an aggressive or vengeful way. Assault happens when someone puts someone else reasonably in fear of immediate battery.
WHAT CONSTITUTES “SIMPLE” ASSAULT?
When someone commits assault but does not also commit battery, the charge is usually “simple” assault. It’s the most frequently charged assault-related crime in Virginia. Simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction for simple assault is punishable with up to a year in jail.
Assaults that involve aggravating circumstances – such as “malicious wounding” or strangulation – are charged as felonies. A conviction for an assault with aggravating circumstances can be penalized with a five-to-twenty-year prison term and a harsh fine.
WHAT IS A “PROTECTED” STATUS?
An assault charge is also a felony if the assault is perpetrated against a “protected” person and the suspect knew that the victim’s status is protected. Those who are “protected” by the law in Virginia include:
1. emergency medical personnel
2. correctional facility employees and officers
3. firefighters, law enforcement officers, and judges
WHEN IS ASSAULT AND BATTERY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Assaults on household members or family members are “domestic” assaults. These assaults are misdemeanors unless there are aggravating circumstances or the alleged perpetrator has previous domestic violence convictions. In Virginia law, household and family members are defined as:
- children and parents
- grandchildren and grandparents
- in-laws or siblings living at the same address
- people who have resided together within the last year
- spouses, former spouses, and parents of the same child regardless of marital status
HOW ARE ASSAULT AND BATTERY PUNISHED IN VIRGINIA?
These are the potential penalties for convictions on the most frequently-charged assault and battery crimes in our state:
- Malicious wounding, a Class 3 felony, is penalized with a prison term of up to twenty years to and a possible $100,000 fine.
- Unlawful wounding, strangulation, and assaulting a law officer are Class 6 felonies. Convictions may be penalized with a five-year prison term and a $2,500 fine.
- Assault on a family member, assault as a hate crime, assault and battery, and simple assault are all Class 1 misdemeanors. Convictions may be penalized with a twelve-month jail term and a $2,500 fine.
CAN YOU CONTEST ASSAULT CHARGES?
The most frequently-offered defense in battery and assault cases is self-defense. To use this as a successful defense, the defendant must show that he or she:
- acted in response to a reasonable threat of illegal harm or force
- reasonably and honestly feared that harm was imminent
- did nothing to provoke the other party
- saw no reasonable way to retreat or escape the situation
Acting in the defense of another is a defense comparable to self-defense, except that the person accused had to have a real and honest fear of immediate harm happening to a third person. Some of the other defenses that may be offered in battery and assault cases include:
- You’ve been misidentified: Another person actually committed the assault or battery.
- The allegation is fabricated: No assault actually happened.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CONTACT AN ATTORNEY?
The particulars of a battery or assault charge will determine the details of your defense strategy. You should have a Manassas criminal defense lawyer examine your battery or assault case and then craft an effective and appropriate defense to present to the court.
While having an effective defense is vital, prevailing in any criminal case also takes the knowledge and experience of a skilled defense lawyer who will advocate aggressively on your behalf and bring the case to an acceptable conclusion.
HOW TO REACH ATTORNEY SCOTT C. NOLAN
For two decades, Manassas criminal defense lawyer Scott C. Nolan has defended clients against battery, assault, and other criminal charges in the Manassas area and across Northern Virginia.
He’s a defense attorney that thousands of clients have trusted. His former clients frequently provide referrals and five-star reviews. Scott C. Nolan has earned a “Top Lawyer” 10.0 rating from AVVO, a leading attorney rating service for those seeking a lawyer’s help.
To schedule a consultation, or simply to find out more, call the law offices of Scott C. Nolan or contact him online. If your freedom and future are threatened because you’re accused of battery or assault – or any other crime – having the right attorney’s help is a must.