Newport News Assault Lawyer
In Newport News, assault is classified under Virginia Code Section 18.2, titled “Crimes against the Person.” According to Va. Code Section 18.2-57, an assault can be considered simple assault or assault and battery. Assault is defined as an intentional act that threatens to harm a person and place him in a reasonable fear of imminent harm or offensive touching,.
In other words, the individual must feel threatened and in fear of immediate harm in some fashion. You do not have to hit anyone to be charged with assault. A Newport News assault lawyer will explain the types of actions that qualify as assault. For example, a person may accuse you of raising your hand or verbally threatening to hit him.
According to Va. Code Section 18.2-60, writing an e-mail or any type of letter that includes threats that place a person in fear of an immediate battery is considered a type of assault.
In certain circumstances, you can be charged with assault, even if you were never in the same room as your accuser. For example, Va. Code Section 18.2-427 outlines indecent or threatening language over public airways. A person who uses vulgar language or threatens an illegal or immoral act via a telephone is guilty of this offense.
If you have been charged with an assault, contact a Newport News assault lawyer. Assault cases are rarely simple. In fact, they often involve a lot of circumstantial evidence or hearsay. For example, a friend, relative, or stranger may have called the police claiming assault, but there may be no concrete evidence. A Newport News assault lawyer will go over your case and find the best defense options for your unique situation.
Possible Punishments for an Assault Conviction
- If you have been charged, but not yet convicted of assault, it is important for you to know the possible sentences you may face if you are convicted. The sentence depends on the circumstances involved in the case and the person who you are accused of assaulting. Typically, assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor; this includes threatening someone over the telephone. A Class 1 misdemeanor means that you may face up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
- If the Commonwealth proves that you intentionally assaulted a person because of his or her religious conviction, race, national origin, or color, you may face at least six months in jail, with a minimum of 30 days in jail.
- If you are convicted of assault that caused bodily injury or if you wrote out your threats, it is a Class 6 felony. This sentence includes one to five years in prison, orfup to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
If the person you are accused of assaulting is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or judge, you may face a Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail.
It is important to seek legal help from a Newport News assault lawyer, because a simple assault charge can become complex depending on the factors of your particular case. For example, you can be charged with assault and threatening while committing a robbery under Va. Code Section 18.2-58.
If you commit an assault or battery—or otherwise put someone in fear of bodily harm—during a robbery, you can be charged with this crime. Therefore, you will want to talk to a Newport News assault lawyer to discuss any other possible charges and punishments that may result from an assault charge.
Possible Defenses to an Assault Charge
There are many defenses to an assault charge depending on the facts involved in your case. For instance, your Newport News assault lawyer may challenge each element of the assault code. The Commonwealth must show that the assault was an intentional act. This means that you wanted or desired to put the individual in fear of being harmed. This defense involves challenging your accuser’s testimony.
Another defense to assault is self-defense. You have the right to use reasonable force to protect yourself or a family member from bodily harm. For example, if your accuser rushed toward you and you raised your hand to stop him, you may be able to raise self-defense to counter an assault charge.
Regardless of the type of assault charge you are facing, you will need to talk to a Newport News assault lawyer. During your initial free consultation, your attorney will listen as you explain your side of the facts. Your lawyer will also explain the defense options available to you and if your charges can be dismissed or reduced.