Assault and Assault & Battery
I’m an assault lawyer Fairfax, Va. In Virginia, both assault and battery are contained in one code section. However, an assault and a battery are two different things. An “Assault” is an overt act intended to do bodily harm to another together with the present ability to cause such harm. It is also an overt act intended to place a person in fear or apprehension of bodily harm that creates in him a reasonable fear or apprehension of harm. Note that it does not require actual contact. A “Battery” is the willful touching/contact of another, without legal excuse or justification, done in an angry, rude, insulting, or vengeful manner. As noted above, for purposes of Virginia criminal law, assault and battery are essentially interchangeable and charged as the same crime—so an assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will defend charges of assault or battery in the same manner.
Note: Our lawyers practice in Fairfax, and all other counties of Virginia. We have offices in Fairfax, Arlington, and Staunton. We reference Fairfax, Va. in this article because it is the largest jurisdiction in Virginia with the most rigid procedures. Work done to Fairfax standards meets or exceeds the standards in every other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth, so it is common to use it as a benchmark.
At a minimum, assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.00. However, the degree of violence associated with an assault will determine the specific charges and an assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will need to carefully consider the allegations in preparing the appropriate defense. In fact, the more violent the assault, the worse the potential punishment. At some point, an assault can become “murder,” punishable by death or “malicious wounding” punishable by up to 20 years in prison or 5 years in prison, depending upon the severity. An experienced assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will be able to understand the nature of such criminal charges and prepare the best possible defense for the client.
More specifically, there are several forms of assault that an assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will be required to defend – ranging from serious felonies to misdemeanors.
For example, assault under Virginia Code § 18.2-57 is often referred to as “simple assault.” In addition, there is a special class of cases involving when an assault is committed against family or household members under Virginia Code § 18.2-57, which could affect one’s civil rights in ways much different than simple assault. There could also be special punishments that apply if the alleged victim is a law enforcement officer, healthcare provider, or teacher. And there are “hate crimes” where extra jail is given if the victim is selected because of his race or religion.
Each distinct fact impacts the defense strategy and steps that an assault lawyer Fairfax, Va must take to defend the specific case.
In addition to simple assault, other examples of felony assault type cases that an assault lawyer Fairfax, Va may be called upon to defend include:
Malicious or Unlawful Wounding
Malicious wounding is when someone is accused of shooting, stabbing, cutting or wounding another with the intent to maim, disable or kill him or her. The maximum penalty is up to 20 years in prison. Unlawful wounding is when someone is accused of wounding someone, but without intending that he or she be maimed, disabled or killed. The maximum penalty is up to 5 years in prison.
Aggravated Malicious Wounding
Aggravated malicious wounding can be charged when the damages from the malicious wounding are such that the victim is permanently and significantly impaired physically. The maximum penalty is up to life in prison.
Strangulation is an assault that involves knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully impeding the blood circulation or respiration of another. The maximum penalty is up to 5 years in prison.
A skilled assault lawyer Fairfax, Va will employ several defenses to try to win these kinds of cases. Or, if it makes sense given the specific facts and circumstances, an assault lawyer Fairfax, Va may also attempt to negotiate to reduce a felony down to a misdemeanor of simple assault. Since the range of punishments for felony assault type cases can include many years in prison (even life), sometimes this can be the best possible result for the client.
Defending assault crimes requires an experienced assault lawyer Fairfax, Va. Having a top assault lawyer Fairfax, Va is key to ensuring your rights are protected.
Criminal Assault Defense
If you have been charged with an assault or battery charge, then it is pivotal you work with an experienced assault lawyer in Fairfax, Virginia to defend yourself in a court of law. May Law, LLP has 25 years of experience working with assault defense cases, and are here to help you.
Contact our office to meet with a Fairfax VA assault lawyer to discuss how we can help you fight against these charges. In the meantime, here is some more information on assault and battery charges to know as you start your legal process.
Assault Compared to Battery
While they are often used as interchangeable terms, assault and battery are two separate things.
Assault is typically categorized as either simple or aggravated. Simple assault is the attempt to cause harm to another person. Aggravated assault is when a person attempts to cause severe physical injury to another person by using a deadly weapon. It is important to note that when it comes to assault, the victim does not have to be injured for an assault charge to be filed, rather it is more the intent behind the act that brings the assault charge.
On the other hand, battery is when a person physically strikes another, while acting in a threatening manner to put the other person in fear of immediate harm.
Criminal Assault Defenses
When you work with an assault lawyer in Fairfax VA at May Law, LLP, know you will be in good hands when it comes to creating a strong defense. Typically, there are three types of criminal assault defenses you can use; self-defense, defending another person, and lack of intent meaning the incident was an accident.
Self-defense tends to be the most commonly used defense. A self-defense claim means that you as the defendant admit to doing the physical act associated with the charge of the assault, but this action was justified as you believed your personal safety was at risk. To accurately represent this in court, your Fairfax VA assault lawyer will have to prove:
- The other party was the aggressor.
- Your actions were reasonable because it was the only way to prevent/avoid danger.
- The force you used during the incident was reasonable.
Assault and battery charges can either be a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, and they typically result in a year or less of jail time. Felonies require a year or more of jail time.
Depending on the severity of your case, and whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony charge, you may face a fine, an anger management course, be placed on probation, or incarceration.
Working with an assault lawyer in Fairfax VA can make or break your case. Working with our attorneys here at May Law, LLP can help to bring clarity to your case, offer defense options, work to negotiate your plea to a lesser charge or a dropped charge altogether, while seamlessly navigating the complexities of criminal assault court. You don’t want to be alone when it comes to facing an assault charge, as this criminal record has the potential to stay on your record for the rest of your life.
Know you’re in good hands when you retain the services of an assault lawyer Fairfax VA clients recommend from May Law, LLP today to set up a consultation.