Understanding Assault and Battery Laws in Fairfax County, Virginia
Virginia Class One Misdemeanors include Assault and Battery. The maximum penalty for conviction is 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine under Virginia Code §18.2-57.
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Assault, Battery Laws in Fairfax County, Virginia
Assault and battery laws in Fairfax County, Virginia, cover unwanted, offensive, or harmful touching and the threat or implication of intended or potential touching. Defined under Virginia Code §18.2-57, assault and battery are actually two different offenses, but generally, courts use the terms congruently.
The crimes of assault and battery could result in a Class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and 12 months in jail upon conviction. However, in certain instances, the accused could be charged with a felony. Since the arresting officer may not have been present when the incident occurred, and eyewitnesses can be biased, it is often advised to have a Virginia Criminal Lawyer by your side. Jay P. Mykytiuk of Scrofano Law is here to help when you need a skilled defense attorney.
Virginia Assault and Battery Laws
Although they are usually used interchangeably, battery is defined as offensive, rude, or harmful touching of the victim. The legal definition of simple assault, on the other hand, is the act of attempting battery, which creates or has the potential of creating reasonable fear in the victim. In other words, battery is the act of touching someone without consent, and assault is the intention to do so, regardless of whether the victim was aware of the intention.
Although simple assault is usually charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, certain types of assault could receive a stricter conviction.
When is Battery and Assault a Felony Crime?
When an offender selects and causes or intends to cause physical harm to an individual based on specific characteristics, they may face a felony assault and battery charge.
Bias-Motivated Assault and battery
According to Virginia law section §18.2-57, a person commits a felony assault and battery when they intentionally harm someone based on the following protected classes:
- Religious conviction
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Gender and gender identity
The perpetrator, in this case, could face at least six months in prison. If the assault caused a wounding or bodily injury, the offender may be charged with Class 6 felony and imprisonment of at least six months.
Assault and Battery on Other Protected Groups
Other groups who receive additional protection from battery crimes include, but are not limited to, those engaged in their duties, such as:
Emergency medical services personnel
The accused of assault and battery against these protected groups may face a Class 6 felony charge, with penalties of six months to five years in prison or a fine of up to $2,500.
The mandatory minimum term for felony assault for a hate crime is 30 days, and for a felony assault against an official is six months.
Assault and Battery Against Teachers
In Virginia, school officials like teachers, the principal, the guidance counselor, or the school security officer also receive protected status.
A crime against an education official is still a Class 1 misdemeanor, and those convicted may receive a 15-day imprisonment sentence. The mandatory minimum term is two days, but if a weapon is used, it increases to six months.
Domestic Assault and Battery
When the act is committed against a family member or household member, it is considered domestic violence. Individuals who fall under this umbrella include the following:
Spouse and former spouse
Child’s other parent
Children and stepchildren
Parents and stepparents
Siblings and half-siblings
Grandparents and grandchildren
Roommates and prior roommates within the last year
Based on Virginia law, a domestic violence case is a class 1 misdemeanor. If the offender was previously convicted of two battery, assault, malicious wounding, or any other violent crime against a family member, they may face a Class 6 felony conviction.
If you are arrested due to an altercation with a family or household member, Criminal Lawyers Prince William County could be helpful. Scrofano Law P.C. could help you navigate this difficult and emotionally charged time.
Virginia Code 18.2-51 states that malicious wounding is more severe than simple assault and battery. It requires that the accused be shown to have acted with forethought and malice to cause serious physical injury. The defendant could receive a prison sentence of up to twenty years if convicted.
Unlawful wounding occurs when the severity of the injury is just as bad as with malicious wounding, but there is no malicious forethought. A savvy defense lawyer may sometimes use the lack of malice to negotiate reduced charges or a softer sentence.
Aggravated Malicious Wounding
The crime of aggravated malicious wounding includes cases where someone shoots, cuts, stabs, or otherwise wounds the victim in a way that results in physical or mental impairment.
For a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the offense had the following determining factors:
- The defendant caused serious bodily injury to another.
- The intent was to kill or cause permanent serious bodily injury.
- The act was done with malice.
Malicious wounding is a premeditated felony that is either decided by the judge or jury. The defendant could receive a life sentence with a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years if convicted.
How Can an Attorney Help in Your Assault and Battery Case?
For a conviction, the state must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally committed the illegal act. In fact, criminal intent is the primary element of the prosecution’s case. Therefore, there are many ways that hiring an attorney could be beneficial.
1. Reduction of the Charges
In some cases, if they cannot get the charges entirely dropped, your attorney may be able to negotiate the charge to a non-violent offense like Disorderly Conduct or Trespass. Having non-violent offenses on your criminal record is better than having recorded violent convictions.
2. Accord and Satisfaction
Under Virginia Code §19.2-151, if the alleged victim agrees to accept a financial settlement, they can agree to dismiss the charges. However, this is not an option if the victim is a law enforcement officer.
3. Peace Bond
According to Virginia Code §19.2-19, a Peace Bond of $1,000 to $2,000 can be set to encourage further peaceful interactions between the parties in question. The original charges are dismissed when the Peace Bond pledge begins but can be re-filed within a year if a violation occurs.
4. Informal Deferral
This usually consists of an agreement with the prosecutor that the defendant will meet certain requirements within a given timeframe to have the charges dismissed. For example, the requirements may include anger management, counseling, or community service.
Possible Assault and Battery Defenses
Simple assault and battery cases are serious criminal matters with real penalties. Criminal convictions result in possible jail time, fines, probation or community service, and restitution. They are listed on the offender’s criminal record leading to potential long-term effects.
A skilled criminal defense attorney may include the following in a successful courtroom strategy:
- Consent by the recipient
- Lack of criminal elements
- Mutual combat, which could be viewed as consent
- Self-defense or defense of others
Contact Jay P. Mykytiuk of Scrofano Law Today
If you are facing criminal charges in Fairfax County, it might be time to hire an experienced assault lawyer. A skilled attorney from a reputable law firm can explain your charges and the possible consequences. They can review your options and help develop a plan for a favorable outcome. The right counselor can guide you through every step of the process.
For questions about assault and battery or another criminal defense matter, talk to Jay P. Mykytiuk at Scrofano Law P.C.
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