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Stafford County Assault Lawyer

Assault crimes are treated incredibly seriously in the Commonwealth of Virginia. With penalties including, but not limited to, hefty fines and jail time, it is critical that an individual charged with these crimes does not face them alone. Assault charges can have a significant impact on the future of the individual involved, including loss of employment and strained personal relationships.

Therefore, if you have been charged with assault in Virginia, it is pertinent that you contact an experienced Stafford County assault lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced defense attorney can help to ensure that any and all penalties you may be facing are either reduced or dismissed.

Defining Assault

Assault is a serious crime in Virginia. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor that can potentially carry up to a year in jail, and a $2,500 fine. While penalties of that severity are uncommon for other kinds of class 1 misdemeanors, depending on the severity of the situation or the injuries of the victim, significant penalties are always at play in an assault case.

The benefit of having a Stafford County assault attorney when facing these charges is that the attorney will know the ins and outs of the law, and how best to present the case to the court to help secure an acquittal. They will also understand the tactics used by the government, and the most frequently used evidence in these kinds of cases.

Severity of an Assault Charge

Assault charges can be intimidating for a number of reasons. First is that an assault charge is a violent crime which will show up on someone’s criminal record for the rest of their life. This is something that often carries a social stigma, as well as a stigma with current or future employers. These charges are also scary because they can sometimes be brought up inadvertently, or unexpectedly.

Because assault involves the threat of unwanted contact of some kind with the intent to do harm, an innocent encounter of some kind may convert into something more serious. The belief that something, or someone is threatened can also result in an assault charge. Finally, assault charges are intimidating because the penalties can be serious, including active jail time as well as a resulting criminal record for a conviction.

Assault vs. Battery

Assault is frequently used interchangeably with battery, but under Virginia law, they actually have distinct meanings. In order to understand assault, it is often useful to first understand battery. Battery is unwanted contact that is done with the intent to do harm, while assault is a present attempt or offer, essentially, to commit a battery.

Physical contact is not necessary for an assault. All that is necessary is that the victim has a reasonable apprehension of immediate harm or unwanted contact. For example, if a person approaches in a threatening manner with a raised fist, that can be classified as an assault. A charge of battery would entail someone actually throwing a punch, for instance.

Assault Crimes

There are a number of different crimes that fall under the general heading of assault. The two primary ones are simple assault and aggravated assault. A simple assault occurs when any person is under a reasonable apprehension of an immediate harm or an unwanted contact. An aggravated assault is accomplished when that identical thing is done with a weapon some kind.

Simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor, so the penalty is up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. Aggravated assault is a general term.  Malicious wounding and unlawful wounding are felonious assaults. These carry significantly more serious penalties compared to simple assault and therefore warrant the attention of an assault lawyer in Stafford County immediately.

Benefits of a Lawyer

It is important to work with an experienced Stafford County assault attorney if you are charged with assault, because these are very unique cases in terms of the evidence that comes forward, the tactics used by the prosecution, and the defenses which are most effective against the prosecution’s tactics. There is simply no substitute for experience, whether in trying these kinds of cases, preparing these kinds of cases, or in some cases negotiating favorable pleas on these kinds of cases.