In Loudoun County, Virginia, you can be charged with the crime of assault if someone claims that you placed them in reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury. In other words, if you caused another person to be afraid, you may be charged with criminal assault. You can face misdemeanor criminal charges even without ever putting your hands on another person. These charges can have a significant impact on your life and you need to respond in a smart and strategic way. A Loudoun County assault lawyer can help you to explore the legal options available to you if you have been charged with assault.
Assault under Virginia law refers to the act of making someone feel an imminent risk of offensive bodily contact or bodily harm. Threatening to punch someone could result in an assault charge if the person who you make the threat against has reason to believe you will carry through with it .
Battery is a related offense, but you can be charged with assault without being charged with battery and vice versa. Battery refers to the act of actually making physical contact with another person without his consent. This can include indirect contact, like hitting someone with a broom or throwing a lamp at someone and striking him.
You can be charged with assault without battery if you threaten to hit someone and do not actually carry that threat through. You can be charged with battery but not assault if you hit someone who is sleeping, so he is not aware of the impending threat. If you threaten to hit someone and follow through, then you can be charged with assault and battery. For the purposes of the relevant code section and potential misdemeanor penalties, assault and battery are merged offenses under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. A Loudoun County assault lawyer will be able to provide more specific details regarding your case.
There are different categories of assault crimes in Loudoun County. Virginia Code Section 18.2-57 defines the offenses of:
If you are accused of following through with violence, you may also face additional criminal charges. Code Section 18.2-51 makes it a Class 3 felony to stab or wound someone with the intention of causing serious bodily injury. If your actions are blamed for causing the victim to experience permanent and significant impairment, the offense is a Class 2 felony making it imperative that a Loudoun County assault attorney is contacted.
Misdemeanor simple assault can result in a maximum of 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500, or a combination thereof. If the assault is against a law enforcement officer, or if you are charged with a more serious offense like malicious offense or unlawful wounding, a Loudoun County assault lawyer is important as you may face more harsh felony penalties. For example, if you are charged with a Class 2 felony, Code Section 18.2-10 indicates you may be sentenced to between 20 years and life in prison.
For a variety of reasons, your assault charge may not result in an assault conviction. This is true in the case of felony offenses as well as misdemeanors. While officers and detectives make the arrest decision in most cases, prosecutors have broad discretion in determining what charges should be presented at trial. A Loudoun County assault lawyer can help you to negotiate with a prosecutor if such a negotiation, often referred to as “plea bargaining” is in your best interests.
If you would prefer not to plead guilty, your attorney can help you to try to make it impossible for a prosecutor to meet the burden of proving a case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. You can raise defenses like self-defense; argue that there is not enough evidence that you committed assault; or try to make the judge or jury question the credibility of a witness. A Loudoun assault lawyer can evaluate your case and help you to choose the right approach to take to dealing with your charges. Therefore, if you have been charged with an assault-related offense in Loudoun County, contact an attorney today to discuss your case and representation options.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law