Any accusation of criminal activity is a serious matter. Even in cases that do not appear to be severe, such as those involving simple assault, a conviction can have serious consequences for a person’s life.
Assault charges are misdemeanors that can result in jail time if the person is convicted. Even if a person manages to avoid incarceration, a conviction will create a criminal record that could affect employability or one’s living situation.
If you are facing assault charges, it is essential that you take aggressive steps to protect themselves with the help of an experienced defense attorney. Working with a New Kent assault lawyer could help you fight back against the prosecutor’s case and to achieve realistic goals in court.
Assault is one of the oldest concepts in criminal law. An assault occurs when another person makes unwelcome physical contact with another party. This can be something as simple as an unwanted hug, or as violent as a physical attack. Further complicating matters is the fact that Commonwealth law does not specifically define assault. The Virginia Code §18.2-57 simply states it is illegal for a person to commit an assault.
Many people face charges of attempted assault. A common example can be when a person attempts to strike another but misses. This attempt to commit assault carries the same potential penalties as if the attack had occurred. A simple assault is a misdemeanor offense where the maximum penalties can be a fine of up to $2,500, one year in jail, or both.
One powerful potential defense to any assault charge is the argument that the defendant lacked intent to commit the act. A mistaken touch is not an assault, nor are serious incidents that result in injury if a prosecutor cannot prove that the defendant did not intend to harm the alleged victim. A New Kent attorney could help to explain the legal concept of assault and the potential penalties for conviction.
While many assaults are misdemeanors where a conviction is unlikely to result in jail time, others are serious felonies that can carry mandatory prison terms. An assault can become a felony in many ways. Perhaps the most common is when an alleged defendant uses a weapon to commit the assault. The presence of a gun, knife, or other weapon at the scene of the alleged offense that causes an injury will result in a felony-level charge.
Another potential aggravating factor to an assault is the identity of the alleged victim. According to VA Code §18.2-57, assault can be a version of a hate crime. If the prosecution alleges that a defendant selected their target because of that person’s race, religion, or color, the penalty for a conviction is a six-month mandatory jail term. If that assault results in a bodily injury, the charge escalates into a class 6 felony. A knowledgeable attorney in New Kent could help people who are facing felony-level assault charges dispute their alleged motivations for committing the act and contest whether a weapon was present at the scene.
Assault charges are among the most commonly heard in New Kent criminal courts. An assault is any incident where a person intentionally causes, or attempts to cause, bodily harm to another. Many assaults are misdemeanors where a conviction results in no more than a fine. However, if a defendant has prior entries on their criminal record or uses a weapon to commit the offense, assault can result in substantial jail sentences.
A New Kent assault lawyer may be able to help you if you are facing any kind of assault charge. An attorney could evaluate the strength of the prosecutor’s case and determine the best defense strategy. Contact a lawyer today to schedule a consultation.
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