Fredericksburg Assault Penalties
Facing assault charges can be a stressful experience. If you have been charged with assault, you are probably wondering what your next steps should be. Fredericksburg assault penalties can be quite severe, and can even result in a felony conviction. That is why it is important to retain the services of a capable Fredericksburg assault lawyer. They can look at the facts of your case and use those facts to mitigate the penalties you face. A tenacious attorney can work diligently to build your case, and fight for the best possible outcome for you.
If the classification of the assault in question is a felony and not a misdemeanor, then the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the assault. In every assault case, the basic elements are the unwanted touching of another person with the intent to do them some form of harm.
If the person involved is a police officer, the prosecution must prove that. In domestic assault cases, they must prove the person is a family member. If the assault was based on race, color, gender, or religion, they are under the burden to prove that. Any additional element that determines how the assault is classified must also be proven.
Role of Law Enforcement
Fredericksburg law enforcement does not get involved in assault charges. Most assault charges are taken out in the form of criminal complaints from one citizen to the next because most assaults are just misdemeanors and an officer cannot arrest the person for a misdemeanor that did not occur in their presence.
Typically an incident of assault occurs and then the police are called or something happens and then, someone decides that they want to press charges. What they are actually doing is going down to the magistrate’s office and taking out a criminal complaint. Law enforcement has no role in dictating which Fredericksburg assault penalties someone might face.
In Fredericksburg, different types of assault carry different classifications and penalties. Depending on whether an assault is a misdemeanor or felony charge, it may or may not carry a minimum sentence. The potential penalties that come with convictions of assault charges are as follows:
- Simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500
- Assault and battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500
- Domestic assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
- Domestic assault as a third or subsequent offense is a Class 6 felony with a potential for up to five years in jail
- Assault on a law enforcement officer is a Class 6 felony with up to five years with a mandatory minimum of six months
- Assault based on race, gender, or religion is a Class 6 felony with up to five years in jail and a 30-day mandatory minimum sentence
In first offense domestic assault cases, there is a possibility of a diversion program. There is a two-year TUA, meaning that the case is taken under advisement for two years. A person has to go through an anger management program, keep the peace, be of good behavior, and not get into any trouble. If they do these things, after two years they come back and their case is dismissed if they wish to apply. That is only for a first offense.
If injuries sustained during an assault are grave, deadly, or generally serious, the case may be taken out of the assault category completely, and a person’s charges could be enhanced to something more serious like attempted murder. This change enhances the penalties. If the subject of an assault is a police officer or an officer of the court, or if the assault is based on somebody’s race, religion, sex, or gender, their Fredericksburg assault penalties will also be enhanced.
Mandatory minimum sentences are an example of enhanced penalties, as well as cases that change classification from misdemeanors to felonies based on elements of the case even though the facts of the actual assault are ultimately the same. In domestic assault cases, one is looking at a felony offense as opposed to just a misdemeanor because of the added domestic element. Simple assault on a police officer is a felony, as is an assault based on race, gender, or religion. Generally speaking, unless the assault in and of itself is egregious, normally on a first offense assault case, the defendant will not face any active jail time. However, on an extremely violent offense or if there was somebody that was actually hurt, then a person could be looking at some of or all of those 12 months.
Difficult Aspects of Facing an Assault Charge
Normally the first thing that someone thinks about when they hear the word assault is a savage beating. This is the stigma that comes along with it if a person is convicted of an assault, if anybody sees that, the first thing that pops into their head is that they are a violent individual. Being charged with assault means that the defendant has to carry that burden on their back.
Secondly, while still low-level, it is still a class 1 misdemeanor and so it carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500. If somebody who is not a violent individual has to go to jail for nearly a year or has to pay $2,500 in court fees and fines, it is not appealing and it is scary to people, especially if they did not anticipate having to face Fredericksburg assault penalties.
Also when someone commits one of these acts that at a technical level is an assault but it is not what one thinks of when one thinks of an assault, there is the emotional toll that that person is now dealing with when they are learning what the criminal justice system is, and what can happen as a result of something they thought was minor or minuscule. That also has a lasting effect on people even after the charges are ultimately dismissed. An adept assault lawyer will understand how overwhelming this all is, and can build a strong case for individuals who are facing assault charges.