Assault and battery laws in Virginia define two separate and distinct actions.
Assault is the threat or perceived threat of harm. Legally, it can be defined as the intent to harm or cause offensive contact. Yes, this means you can face an assault charge without actually touching someone.
Battery on the other hand, is physical contact, either offensive or harmful.
The crime of assault and battery then must include both the intent or threat of harm and the actual harm.
Penalties for Assault and Battery in Virginia
Generally, assault and battery is a misdemeanor offense which carries up to one year in jail. However, if the victim of the assault is a police officer, a corrections officer, or other public safety representative, the charge is elevated to a Class 6 felony and carries a minimum of 6 months in jail.
Other mandatory minimum laws with regards to misdemeanor assault and battery include a minimum 2 days in jail if the alleged victim is a teacher or school official, and a mandatory 30 days in jail if the offense was committed against someone because of their race, religion, national origin, or color.
Ref: Virginia Code 18.2-57
Virginia Aggravated and Malicious Wounding
A very serious assault offense, aggravated malicious wounding is a Class 2 felony and carries with it a potential life sentence if permanent damage is done to the victim.
You could face this serious assault charge if it’s believed you shot, stabbed, cut, or wounded someone causing bodily injury with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill.
Ref: Virginia Code 18.2-51.2
Among other things a defense attorney will take your side of things first and foremost. When it feels like no one is giving you the benefit of the doubt, a criminal defense attorney can.
We may challenge the presence of intent. Because you must intend to do these assault crimes, perhaps we could prove your intention wasn’t to hurt anyone at all. Another defense strategy involves showing that you acted in self defense.
There are many options available when facing assault charges in the state of Virginia. In order to know for certain what steps you should be taking to minimize the risk of prison time, a consultation is crucial. Please contact us today for a Virginia assault charge lawyer consultation.