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Fairfax Assault Lawyer

An assault charge is different from a battery charge. Battery occurs when a person is accused of intentionally causing an offensive or harmful contact with another individual. Hitting someone is an example of a battery. However, assault is the intentional act of placing someone in fear of an immediate offensive or harmful contact.

An act such as pretending to strike someone or threatening someone is considered an assault. It doesn’t matter if contact was made with the person or not. The foundation of this type of charge is that individual feared that a battery would take place immediately.

If you are being investigated or charged with this type of violent offense, it might be in your best interests to contact a Fairfax assault lawyer. Local law enforcement takes these charges seriously even if no one was harmed. We also have information on other criminal charges.

What are the Defense Strategies to Assault Charges?

Being charged doesn’t mean you are automatically guilty of a crime. You have defenses available to you to fight the charge. Since each assault case is extremely complex, you should figure out which defense is best for you with the help of a Fairfax lawyer. During a free consultation, our attorneys could listen to the facts of your case and determine the best defense for you. The potential defenses to an assault charge are consent and self-defense.

Self-Defense

You are legally allowed to defend yourself against someone trying to harm you. In order to prove self-defense, your lawyer must show that:

  • There was an unlawful threat made against you.
  • You reasonably feared that harm would happen to you. The fear must be real, actual fear.
  • You did not harm or bait the individual into harming you.
  • You had no chance to escape the situation.

Consent

Consent is the alleged victim’s agreement to be assaulted. This sounds odd, but it does happen in a lot of these cases. Two people are joking around or play-fighting. One person may playfully threaten the other. The alleged victim begins to take things too seriously and claims assault. If this is the case for you, your Fairfax lawyer may present evidence showing that the alleged victim never feared that an immediate assault would occur.

Simple Assault

Under Virginia code 18.2-57.2, a person is guilty of simple assault if he or she intentionally puts someone in fear of a battery. It doesn’t matter if contact was or wasn’t made with the alleged victim. This violent crime is also defined by the alleged victim. The following defines the type of assault according to Virginia section 18.2-57. For instance, hate crime assault arises when an individual is assaulted based on his or her race, national origin, color, or religion. It is a class 6 felony. Section C of 18.2-57 concerns an assault committed on a protected employee such as:

  • A judge
  • A law enforcement officer
  • A firefighter, including volunteer firefighters in Fairfax
  • Emergency medical personnel
  • Any correctional officer and/ or employee
  • A security officer

Assault against a family or household member, which is commonly called “domestic violence,” is outlined in 18.2-57.2. Household or family members include:

  • Spouses
  • Spouses no longer married
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Grandchildren
  • In-laws living in the same house
  • Siblings
  • Individuals who have children together
  • People cohabitating
  • Individuals who no longer live together but did so within the past year

A lawyer in Fairfax could help someone build a defense depending on the type of assault with which they are charged.

Penalties for Violent Crimes

Simple assault is class 1 misdemeanor. Those charges could face one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. The other violent offenses have harsher sentences. For instance, a hate crime has a minimum sentence of  at least 30 days mandatory in jail. For crimes against protected employees, the minimum jail sentence is six months. Additionally, assault charges could lead to harsher penalties if an accused individual has prior convictions. For example, a third conviction for domestic violence results in a felony offense.

Contact a Fairfax Assault Attorney

If you are facing charges for a violent crime, contact an experienced Fairfax assault lawyer as soon as possible for the best chance at receiving a positive outcome. An experienced attorney could review the information pertaining to your specific matter, intensely investigate the incident in question, and work with you in developing a sound defense strategy. Further, our team could educate you about the charges you face and the specific ramifications of those charges. Call our offices today for a free initial consultation.

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