Assault charges can arise suddenly from simple disputes, especially when words or actions are misconstrued. As a result, many people facing assault charges are caught off-guard and aren’t aware of their rights. If have been charged with assault, it’s important to contact a Warrenton assault lawyer as soon as possible so that you can start building an effective defense strategy. Due to the subjective nature of most assault allegations, there are many effective defenses that may be available to you, so it often helps to seek out experienced, proactive legal representation right away.
Assault is one of the more common criminal charges in Warrenton, Virginia, and throughout much of the country, because assault offenses cover a variety of incidents, from domestic violence to bar brawls, and conflicts between neighbors and, occasionally, police officers and other public officials. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident, you may be charged with simple assault (which is a misdemeanor) or a felony assault charge. The latter is more serious, and is usually applied to crimes that result in serious injury and/or involve a weapon. Either charge, however, can result in incarceration and expensive fines. Because of this, those who have been charged with assault should consult with a dedicated Warrenton assault attorney who has experience representing people charged with misdemeanor and felony charges.
If you are facing assault charges in Fauquier County, contact an experienced lawyer who may be able to help you mitigate the potential consequences of the charge.
Assault is loosely defined as the threat of force or violence against another that causes the alleged victim to have a reasonable fear of imminent offensive or harmful contact. Assault and battery combines the former with the actual act of physical force or violence. See Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.
There are many offenses, however, that can fall under those general classifications. The highly-seasoned Warrenton assault lawyers at our firm aggressively defend our clients against all types of assault charges. If you have been contacted by police for questioning on an assault charge, or any criminal offense, we strongly advise that you retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can protect your constitutional rights during questioning and who will intervene if any charges are filed. The earlier you retain legal counsel, the more likely your attorney can reduce or eliminate any of the charges you may face.
As previously noted, there are many incidents or actions that qualify as assault in the Commonwealth. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:
There also could be several important variables in your case that influence not only the type of assault charge you face, but how aggressively you may be prosecuted and the penalty you may face if you are convicted. Some of these factors include:
Aggravated assault is a serious felony. And those convicted are usually sentenced to at least one year in jail; though it could be five years in prison – in addition to a fine of up to $2,500.
Assaults against certain public officials can also be quite serious if the suspect is aware that the victim falls into that category. Those protected judges, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, teachers and education administrators. Assault of a public official is a Class 6 felony. A mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months must be served. The total time, however, can range up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine may also be tacked on.
Hate crimes can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the assault. Misdemeanor hate crime offenses can be filed if prosecutors and police believe they have evidence to show that the victim was selected because of their race, religion, color, or nationality. If the incident involved simple assault or assault and battery, the accused faces at least months in jail and a 30-day mandatory minimum. If, however, prosecutors can prove that the victim was selected because of any of the previously listed factors, and they suffered bodily injury, the accused now faces a Class 6 felony, which can result in one to five years in prison. If the judge or jury choses to opt for a lesser penalty, those so convicted still face a at least six months in jail and a mandatory 30-day minimum (which means no early release or time off for good behavior or credits served) and up to $2,500 in fines. Aggravated assault is another assault charge that ranks as a Class 6 felony.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law