Virginia Assault Lawyer
Under Virginia law, the crimes of assault (defined as physically threatening to hurt another person) and battery (defined as causing injury to a person) can be charged as felonies, depending upon the specific circumstances. These crimes can be categorized as domestic violence, hate crimes, batteries by prisoners, and assaults against certain employees. Only in some cases, may the crimes be charged as misdemeanors.
Generally under common law, assault and battery are different charges; however, Virginia charges them as the same offense, instead of bringing separate indictments. To gain a conviction, a prosecutor must prove that the accused intended to harm the victim in addition to taking the actions to do so. A Fairfax County assault lawyer at Jezic & Moyse LLC. can explain the types of actions that the law defines as assault. A threat to harm another person without any action taken upon the threat in a threatening manner may not trigger a charge of misdemeanor assault or assault and battery under Virginia codes. Other states may define assault as the “threat of physical harm” against another person, while battery is physically striking or touching that other person. Battery as a stand-alone issue can result in assault and battery charges.
While a prosecutor can use recklessness to prove intent to harm, our attorneys will strive to prove that the action taken was accidental. Accidents that cause harm to someone, that have no proof of recklessness by the person accused, cannot be used as grounds for criminal indictments.
Evidence in Virginia Assault Cases
Assault cases are rarely simple and often complex. Our lawyers may establish that you were acting in self-defense during the alleged altercation. This is a common strategy when charges are filed due to a fight between two people. Law enforcement frequently charge a person with the crime if he or she is not the first to report the incident to legal authorities.
If someone causes physical injury on another person, and the motivation is based on the victim’s race, color, religion, or national origin, then the crime can be charged as a felony.
Assaults against Protected Employees
Assaults and assault and battery against specific categories of employees may be charged as felonies or misdemeanors depending whether the accused knows or has reason to know that the victim is a protected employee. These categories include the following:
- Law enforcement officers
- Correctional officers and employees
- Firefighters, including volunteer firefighters
- Emergency medical personnel
Domestic Violence and Family Abuse
Battery against a household or family member may be a misdemeanor or a felony if the accused has previous convictions for malicious wounding, assault and battery, or aggravated malicious wounding against a household or family member. These prior convictions can be from Virginia or elsewhere. Household and family members include spouses, ex-spouses, children, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, in-laws who live in the home, individuals who have children together, and individuals who live together or have lived together during the prior year.
Battery by Prisoners, Probationers, and Parolees
Virginia considers it a crime for a prisoner in a juvenile or correctional facility, a parolee, or a probationer, to cause physical injury to any:
- Person supervising or working with prisoners
- Correctional officer or employee
- Probation or parole officer
- Person visiting a prison or correctional facility
In order for the crime to be committed against a probation or parole officer, the accused must know or have reason to know the victim is performing official duties.
Aggressive Fairfax County Assault Lawyer
If you face charges of assault or assault and battery, a conviction can result in a prison sentence, a monetary fine, and a criminal record. If law enforcement questions you about any involvement in a crime, charges you with a felony or misdemeanor offense, or arrests you on a criminal complaint, you have a Constitutional right to have an attorney. Prior to answering questions or providing any statements to law enforcement, contact Clifford Clapp at Jezic & Moyse, LLC., so that he can advise you immediately on how to protect your rights. Through diligence, experience, and integrity, he will seek every option to resolve your case in acquittal, dismissal, reduced charges, or the lightest sentence.