Spotsylvania Assault Lawyer
In Virginia, a physical fight or even a verbal argument can result in charges of assault or assault and battery. In some cases, it can lead to other, more violent offenses. Crimes involving physical altercations with others are frowned upon by society and the Virginia judicial system. Penalties for such offenses can include jail time and costly fines. If you or someone you know has been accused of an assault-related crime, a Spotsylvania assault attorney can provide you with in-depth information regarding the charges and advise you as to the best course of action depending on the details of your case.
Assault Offenses in Spotsylvania
Some examples of assault offenses you could potentially be charged with in Virginia include:
- Simple Assault
- Assault and Battery
- Domestic Assault
- Malicious Wounding
- Aggravated Malicious Wounding
- Assaulting a Law Enforcement Officer
Assault occurs when the suspect threatens or intends to harm another, even if it was never done and the suspect never touched the victim. Battery occurs when actual physical harm is inflicted upon the victim. Battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the degree of harm the victim suffers.
Any assault charge is a serious charge, regardless of the circumstances or the viability of the allegations. A simple assault offense is categorized as a Class 1 misdemeanor that can lead to up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 upon conviction. Felony assault charges carry even more severe penalties. Many times, having an assault conviction of any kind can threaten security clearances, professional standing, and financial status.
Aggravated Assault and Hate Crimes
Aggravated malicious wounding is a more serious charge than simple assault. In order to secure a conviction for this crime in Virginia, the government must prove:
- That the suspect shot, stabbed, cut, wounded, or caused bodily injury to another person;
- That the defendant intended to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill the other person at the time the assault was committed;
- That the assault was conducted with malice; and
- That the victim was severely injured and suffered grievous wounds and/or permanent physical impairment due to the assault.
Malice is defined as “the intentional commission of a wrongful act, absent justification, with the intent to cause harm to others; conscious violation of the law that injures another individual; a mental state indicating a disposition in disregard of social duty and a tendency toward malfeasance.” The penalty for aggravated malicious wounding is 20 years to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
Crimes of hate, in which the attacker specifically selects their victim based on race, religion, or national origin, incur severe penalties. If prosecutors can prove that the assault act was a hate crime it is charged as a Class 6 felony in addition to the original assault charges. The sentence, which is added to the underlying assault conviction, includes one to five years in prison, or in the court’s discretion, up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. If the underlying assault crime is a misdemeanor before folding in the hate crime component, six months of incarceration is added to the potential one-year sentence (the maximum for misdemeanor assault) because of the hate crime conviction.
Hire an Experienced Spotsylvania Assault Lawyer
There are several options available for a solid defense against assault charges. For example, many times individuals are accused of assault after acting in self-defense. In addition, the defense can challenge the prosecution’s accusations in order to prevent them from proving the intent behind the assault “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the prosecution’s case is weak, lesser charges may be negotiated between your defense lawyer and county prosecutors. Your case might even be dismissed through a deferred disposition or an accord and satisfaction agreement, thereby negating the need for a trial.
Don’t repeat the mistake that many make by taking assault charges lightly. Convictions may be accompanied by a jail sentence and a fine, and they will always carry court costs and the development of a criminal record. The negative ripple effect of that record can impact your personal and professional life for years to come.
Many times, assault charges can be dropped or reduced through the assistance of a skilled defense attorney. For more information, or to arrange a free case evaluation, contact the law office of a skilled Spotsylvania assault lawyer.