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What Constitutes Assault in Fairfax

The legal definition of assault is when someone commits an overt act intended to place another person in fear or apprehension of bodily harm. However, it is not necessary for physical contact to be made. Battery is when physical contact is made by another person. Actual physical harm is also not required in order for a charge of battery — any sort of contact applies in such a situation. Assault and battery together are both Class 1 Misdemeanors in the State of Virginia. Therefore, they are both punishable of up to 12 months in jail and have the possibility of a $2,500 fine.

If you or a loved one are facing assault charges, contact an experienced Fairfax assault attorney as soon as possible. They are familiar with all aspects of this charge, and will be able to best advise you on a course of action, determine your options, and detail your rights.

Different Kinds of Assault in Fairfax

First, it is important to note that there are distinctions between what is considered felony assault and misdemeanor assault. The different types of assaults will range from misdemeanor assault, assault and battery, and felony assaults, which include unlawful  wounding, malicious wounding, and aggravated malicious wounding.

Essentially, the distinction between unlawful wounding and malicious wounding is the intent that was used by the perpetrator: whether they had malice when they committed the offense. The jury or the judge would determine whether it is a more serious malicious wounding or the less serious unlawful wounding.

Aggravated malicious wounding is the most serious type and is determined by the result of the injury that the person sustained. Whether or not it is a permanent and significant physical injury will determine the charging decision and outcome of the case for the felony assault.

Associated Penalties

An assault is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which means that the penalties are up to 12 months of incarceration and/or a $2,500 fine. Regarding the penalties associated with the felony offenses, unlawful wounding is a Class 6 Felony. This means that someone could get up to five years in prison for unlawful wounding. If it is deemed to be malicious wounding, then the penalty is five to 20 years. The penalty for aggravated malicious wounding is 20 years to life in prison.

Aggravating Factors in Assault Cases

You could have additional charges if somebody commits a felony offense and uses a weapon to shoot, stab, or cut another person. That makes it a separate felony. The intent and the injury caused to a person will dictate what offense will be charged, whether it is a simple assault, assault and battery, an unlawful wounding, a malicious wounding, or aggravated malicious wounding.

Additionally, if a weapon is used and it is a malicious wounding or an aggravated malicious wounding, then there could be separate charges on top of the assault charge.

Assault on a Fairfax Law Enforcement Officer

Assault on a law enforcement officer, firefighter, judge, or a magistrate, is considered a felony offense. The penalty is up to five years in prison but it also includes a mandatory minimum term of six months in jail. It’s different from other types of felonies assaults because it carries  a mandatory term.

Other Forms of Assault

If somebody intentionally selects a person to commit an assault and battery against someone because of their race, their religion, their color, ethnicity or their national origin, then that is a Class 6 Felony as well. It also includes a 30-day mandatory term of confinement.

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