The criminal justice system can be a daunting and stressful process from the point when you are arrested and charged until the case’s conclusion. With assault in particular, criminal charges may arise quickly from confusing and complex incidents where no one is quite sure what happened or how it happened.
If you are facing violent crime charges in Alexandria, Virginia, please contact an Alexandria assault lawyer for a free consultation today. En Español.
All assault cases are treated seriously by the government of Alexandria, because they are considered violent offenses. It is important to have an experienced Alexandria lawyer by your side when you are facing serious assault charges.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the crime of assault is delineated based on two versions of conduct – “simple assault” and “assault and battery.” This crime is both an intentional tort (i.e. a non-contractual civil wrong) and a criminal offense, and is generally understood as an action that creates an imminent fear of battery.
Therefore, a person can be charged and convicted of this violent crime even if he or she did not physically touch or cause bodily harm to the plaintiff. Battery, on the other hand, is considered the harmful or offensive touching of another person, which requires physical contact.
As an Alexandria lawyer can tell you, “simple assault” is not always so simple. The criminal offense of simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia, which means it is punishable by up to twelve months imprisonment or a fine of up to $2,500, or both (Section 18.2-57). A Class 1 misdemeanor is the highest grade of offense short of a felony.
In the instance that a person commits an assault upon another because of the victim’s race, religion, color, or national origin, upon conviction the accused could be subject to six months imprisonment, including a mandatory minimum of 30 days. The mandatory minimum is prescribed by the legislature and, unlike sentencing guidelines, is not up to the discretion of a judge.
However, if a person commits an assault and battery that results in serious bodily injury and is motivated by the aforementioned characteristics of the victim, such a person can be found guilty of a Class 6 felony.
The penalties are stiffer than that of a misdemeanor, entailing a mandatory minimum of six months of incarceration for a sentence between one and five years or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2,500(subject to the discretion of the judge or jury, depending on the nature of the case).
An Alexandria lawyer can also help if you are facing unlawful wounding, malicious wounding, or aggravated malicious wounding charges, all of which are serious assault charges that involve serious bodily injury. These felony charges are punishable by years in prison and are treated very seriously by the prosecutors. Contact an experienced attorney today.
Virginia law also has special provisions for simple assault and assault and battery committed against a state agent or law enforcement officer, public official, or medical/pedagogical professional. Such crimes against a medical or pedagogical professional are Class 1 misdemeanors, while an assault or assault and battery committed against a state agent or public official will be upgraded to a Class 6 felony.
Particulars regarding the definition of such actors and the corresponding sentencing are codified under subsections C-F of Section 18.2-57, which can be found by clicking here.
Under Section 18.2, various offenses are codified that constitute assault or assault and battery including malicious bodily injury to public personnel (law enforcement, firefighters, search/rescue, EMS), malicious bodily injury by means of a caustic substance/agent/explosive, poisoning, stalking, sex crimes, and others.
However, the language of a statute is merely one element of the criminal justice process, which also includes a large body of case law. How charges of assault are handled in practice is indicative of why it is in a person’s best interest to retain experienced legal counsel. A qualified Alexandria attorney can explain how the law applies to your assault case.
Each year, the Uniform Crime Reporting Section of the Virginia State Police compiles and publishes crime statistics, as reported by law enforcement agencies within the Commonwealth. Historically, assault has been one of the more common, if not the most common, criminal offenses.
The statistics for 2012 are consistent with this observation, as there were 1184.68 simple assaults/intimidation incidents per 100,000 people, which was second only to larceny.
For reporting purposes, the annual summary differentiates between simple and aggravated assaults. Aggravated assault is defined as an unlawful attack on a person in which the assailant either brandished (or used) a weapon, or caused the victim “obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury.”
Simple assault is considered to have taken place when a person commits an unlawful attack against a victim, but does not show or utilize a weapon, or cause aggravated bodily injury.
Finally, intimidation is defined as conduct in which a person “place[s] another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm,” but in doing so, does not display or use a weapon, or perpetrate a physical attack.
Relative to other areas of Virginia, Alexandria had a low incident rate of 4012.45 reported incidents per 100,000 residents in 2012. Out of the 5,914 total reported incidents by the Alexandria PD, more than 1,000 were simple assaults/intimidation, while there were only 96 aggravated assaults. If you have been charged with assault it is important to consult with an attorney in Alexandria who is experienced in this area of law and can evaluate the facts of your case.
If you are facing criminal charges in Virginia it is paramount that you retain experienced legal counsel. Assaults and other crimes against the person are offenses for which society demands justice and, in turn, are offenses the prosecution will pursue vigorously. However, legal resources are available to you, and our legal team are ready and willing to assist you.
Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in navigating the criminal justice system, and are ready to fight passionately to defend your rights. Contact an Alexandria assault lawyer today for a free initial consultation of your case.
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