In the Commonwealth of Virginia, assault charges are taken very seriously and the legal considerations can be very confusing. For the purpose of prosecution, assault has been combined with a battery charge, and it encompasses a variety of acts that an Arlington assault lawyer can help clarify. We also have information on other crimes in Arlington.
Generally, assault is defined as a threat against another that creates, in the mind of the victim, a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact. Battery is the harmful or offensive contact itself. Either offense may incorporate the use of a weapon.
The key component of a simple assault or assault and battery charge is intent to cause fear or contact, and it must be provable in court before a judge and jury. En Español.
Arlington is a densely populated area within the northern Virginia DC metropolitan area. In fact, it is the fourth highest populated area in Virginia. The community is also extremely educated, and a large majority of the people are employed in well-paying, white-collar jobs. Despite the large size of the community, the area is considered quite safe.
The local law enforcement and courts are determined to make sure Arlington County maintains it good reputation while also improving its safe community status. Assault cases are generally tried at the General District Court located within the Judicial Center at 1425 N. Court House Road in Arlington, VA 22201.
A simple assault charge in Virginia does not necessarily require physical harm to be caused to an alleged victim. The charge can stand with only a threat. The specifics of an assault incident may result in a myriad of penalties a lawyer can help decipher. Typically, an assault and battery charge is filed as a Class 1 misdemeanor with the consequences of up to twelve (12) months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Section 18.2-57(A).
Some assault and battery charges have harsher penalties or are classified as felonies because of the occupation of the victim.
When a school employee such as a principal, teacher, or guidance counselor is the alleged victim, the charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable with a minimum of 15 days in jail (including a mandatory minimum of two days behind bars). If the incident involves the use of a weapon banned on school property, the mandatory minimum time one must serve in jail drastically increases to six months. Section 18.57(D).
Similarly, if a health care provider is assaulted, such as a doctor, physician’s aide, nurse, or therapist, for example, the act is a Class 1 misdemeanor and the penalties include a minimum punishment of 15 days in jail, two days of which cannot be suspended under any circumstances.
In addition, some assault charges become felonies depending on the victim’s occupation. For example, if the alleged victim is on the job as a member of the fire department, law enforcement agency, or emergency response team, such as an EMT, the assault charge becomes a Class 6 felony, with a significant mandatory minimum period over the accused’s head as well.
Another type of Class 6 felony is a hate crime, defined as assault and battery victimizing someone based upon their skin color, origin, religion, sexual preference, etc. If convicted of these types of felonies, the assailant must be sentenced to a jail sentence of at least six months, and up to five years as it is felony offense. Any conviction under this subsection also includes a 30-day mandatory minimum period of incarceration.
An assault crime committed in an unlawful manner involving a shooting, stabbing, disfiguring, or otherwise wounding without the intention of doing so is a Class 6 felony. The resulting jail time ranges from one to five years, or in the court’s discretion up to 12 months in jail and a potential maximum fine of $2,500.
However, if it is concluded that the intent to cause harm by such means was present, the felony charge increases greatly in severity to a Class 3 felony. Required prison time is increased to a range of five to 20 years, and the fine also may reach a maximum of $100,000. If the alleged victim is a law enforcement officer, the higher end of the possible prison time extends to 30 years.
In the event that the victim suffers serious or permanent physical harm, perhaps in the case of an aggravated malicious wounding charge, the assault and battery classification is a Class 2 felony. Section 18.2-51.2. If convicted, the accused will face anywhere from 20 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Malicious assault with a caustic substance such as a flammable material or an acid carries a potential punishment of five to 30 years in prison. Section 18.2-52. However, if the alleged conduct is merely unlawful and not malicious in nature, the maximum exposure is the same as other Class 6 felony punishments.
Assault involving driving under the influence (DUI), often referred to as maiming of another by DUI, can not only cost the accused a driver’s license, but also may result in a Class 6 felony charge, a maximum of five years in prison or in the court’s discretion up to 12 months in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, infecting another with a sexually transmitted disease can include cases of intentional sexual transmission, malicious wounding, or even blood donation. They may result in a Class 1 misdemeanor or a Class 6 felony, depending on whether the government can prove an “intent to infect,” as opposed to simply failure to disclose. Section 18.2-67.4:1.
With assault cases in particular, the legal analysis can be fact-intensive and requires the abilities of an Arlington assault lawyer. Karin Riley Porter can help you work through the facts of your case to determine what the government’s strongest case is and how to defend against it.
There are many kinds of assault charges, and only an attorney can provide you with the nuanced requirements, presumptions, and best defenses involved in each. Karin Riley Porter is an Arlington assault lawyer who will will carefully listen to your (and others’) recollection of events leading up to the situation at hand. Moreover, she will provide you will honest feedback about what the future holds, what you will face in court, your rights, and your options.
You can rest assured your rights will be protected and all options will be explored, including anger management classes, community service options, and probation. Call us today for a free consultation where you can ask any questions you might have and discuss your options with an Arlington assault attorney.
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