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Alexandria Assault Attorney

Assault crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia are divided into several categories that are determined by the circumstances and degree of the offense.  Below are explanations of them, including penalties and a few examples of how Virginia’s assault laws are better understood. If you are facing any assault charge, an Alexandria assault lawyer can explain the accusations against you and their possible ramifications.  We also have information on other criminal charges in Alexandria here.

Assault Definitions

Assault Lawyer in Alexandria, VAAssault – presenting the capacity to inflict harm: A person commits assault by performing an overt (physical) act that intends to inflict bodily harm.

Assault – reasonable fear of harm:  Someone commits assault by performing an overt act intended to place the victim in fear of bodily harm; the intentional infliction of fear, not just the ability to inflict injury, constitutes assault. If you walked towards a victim’s car in the dark while motioning with something that looked like a gun and the victim reasonably believed you had a weapon, that act can be construed as assault—even if you were unarmed.

Battery is the actual infliction of injury to a victim.  Battery is also often defined as any unwanted touching of the victim without any actual injury required.

Assault and Battery occurs when an offender commits an overt threat against a victim and then physically assaults that victim.  For the purposes of charging the offender, the two elements are typically merged into one offense.

All of the above charges are misdemeanors and punishable by up to a twelve (12) months in jail and a possible fine of up to $2,500 or some combination thereof.

Felony Assault and Assault & Battery

The degree of the assault and/or battery determines whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony.  If you punch someone because he or she was harassing your girlfriend in a bar, that’s a misdemeanor.  But if you savagely beat someone, causing them injuries severe enough to be hospitalized, that is likely a felony.  Another example of a felony assault may include running toward the victim while yelling that you were going to kill him.  Or, if you approach someone and physically indicate (or say) you have a knife or gun which causes the victim to be in fear of his or her life, that act is also a felony.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Alexandria

Assault with a deadly weapon in the Commonwealth of Virginia could be considered assault, battery, or aggravated (often called “malicious”) wounding, depending on the circumstances of the offense and how serious the victim’s injuries are.

Malicious and Unlawful Wounding

According to the Virginia Criminal Code, “malicious wounding” usually involves a weapon and is defined as the act of shooting, cutting, stabbing, or causing bodily injury to another with intent to “injure, maim, disable, disfigure or kill.”  If there was no intent, the offense is called “unlawful wounding.”  Often, self-defense is successfully argued by a Virginia defense attorney if unlawful wounding is the charge.  Aggravated Malicious Wounding, on the other hand, is severely wounding another, causing permanent physical disfigurement or damage. The maximum penalty for each offense is as follows:

  • Unlawful Wounding is a Class 6 felony and punishable by one to five years in prison or up to twelve (12) months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
  • Malicious Wounding is a Class 3 felony, which is punishable by 20 years in prison.
  • Aggravated Malicious Wounding is a Class 2 felony and carries a potential sentence of  20 years to life in prison

Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Alexandria

This offense can be the most serious of a group of criminal assault charges against you, depending on the circumstances. Weapons-related assault charges make your case a serious felony.  The following chart gives an accurate depiction of penalties that could be enforced against those who are found guilty of “Assault with a Deadly Weapon.”

Maximum Fines Felony Charge Maximum Jail Time
$100,000 Class 3 Felony 20 years
$100,000 Class 4 Felony 10 years
$2,500 Class 5 Felony 10 years
$2,500 Class 6 Felony 5 years

Ask an Alexandria assault lawyer the penalties for an assault with a deadly weapon in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Assaults against Protected Employees

Assaults (and batteries) against certain employees may become serious felonies if the defendant knows, or has reason to know, that the victim is a protected employee. Protected employees may include:

  • Judges
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Correctional officers and employees
  • Firefighters, including volunteer firefighters
  • Emergency medical personnel.
  • Teachers and public school employees

Assaults against protected employees are Class 6 felonies and are typically punishable by a mandatory minimum of six (6) months in jail, not to mention the usual class 6 penalties of 1 to 5 years in prison or up to twelve (12) months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Domestic Violence

Battery against a family or household member can be a misdemeanor or a felony if the defendant has prior convictions for assault and battery, malicious wounding, or aggravated malicious wounding against a family or household member in any U.S. state.  Family and household members include spouses, former spouses, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, in-laws who live in the same house, a couple who have children together and those who live—or have lived—together for a period of one year (or the children of those persons).  “Family or household member” is a defined term in the Virginia Code and its definition can be found in Section 16.1-228.

Felony Hate crimes

If actions result in bodily injury to a victim who is of a different race or religion, or has a different sexual orientation than the perpetrator and the reason for the assault is because of those differences it is a Class 6 felony and the court ordered  sentence may one to five years in prison, up to twelve (12) months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.  If it is a Class 1 misdemeanor, six months jail is the minimum penalty, and the defendant must serve at least 30 days in jail.

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