Richmond Assault Defense Attorney
Aggressively Defending the Rights of the Accused in VA
Whether you were falsely accused, in the wrong place at the wrong time, or simply made an honest mistake, an assault conviction can result in life-altering consequences. Both assault and battery are two serious criminal offenses that, while similar, aren’t interchangeable in the state of Virginia. It’s crucial to understand which charges you’re facing and why in order to build the strongest defense possible.
If you’ve been accused of a crime, it’s wise to seek legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A trusted legal advisor can help negotiate on your behalf, fight for you to receive the fair trial you deserve, and determine which legal strategy is in your best interests to pursue.
Whether you’re been charged with assault, battery, or both, rest assured that the prosecution will not take it easy on you in the courtroom. Assault and battery are both punishable by harsh penalties in the state of Virginia, including prison time. In some cases, aggravating circumstances that the defendant was formerly unaware of can heighten charges to a felony conviction, in which case the defendant can reap lifelong restrictions in their careers and relationships.
Fortunately, hope is not lost for the accused in Virginia assuming they take swift action. Our firm is backed by 20 years of experience that has not only allowed us to establish key relationships with local courts, but has given us in-depth knowledge and skills to defend your good name from start to finish. We understand that criminal law can be complex and overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to tread this path alone.
If you’ve been accused of assault or another crime in Richmond, you deserve the best legal defense available. Call our firm at (804) 265-4441 or contact us online today to discuss your case with our Richmond assault defense lawyer.
What Constitutes Assault in Virginia?
Virginia state law defines assault as “an intentional, offensive, or harmful act that may cause reasonable anxiety or fear of expected injury.” Assault includes both physical and non-physical intimidation that is intended to invoke fear in another person. This means that you can be charged with assault even if you never made physical contact with the victim.
Assault vs. Battery: What’s the Difference?
While assault and battery are classified as separate crimes with distinct legal connotations, both assault and battery charges and associated penalties are defined in the same statute under Virginia Code § 18.2-57.
While you can be charged with assault regardless of physical injury, you may also be charged with battery only if you “intentionally contact another person physically in an offensive or harmful manner without their consent, justification, or legal basis.” Keep in mind that serious injury does not need to occur to warrant a battery charge; rather, the act must simply include the “unlawful touching” of another.
How Is Assault Penalized in Richmond?
The consequences of an assault or assault and battery conviction are dependent on the presence (or lack thereof) or aggravating circumstances. In these instances, charges and their associated penalties may be enhanced.
Even without the addition of aggravating circumstances, an assault charge (also known as “simple assault”) is punishable by serious penalties. Virginia state law affords the judge and prosecution a considerable amount of liberty when determining a defendant’s sentence for an assault conviction. This can lead the court to consider additional factors, including (but not limited to):
- The gravity of the act
- The severity of injury, if any
- The defendant’s criminal background
- Additional circumstances, if applicable
Penalties for Simple Assault
A simple assault conviction is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Up to $2,500 in fines
What Enhances Assault Penalties?
In some cases, an assault charge can be enhanced to a felony with harsher consequences. There are various situations in which the defendant can face a felony conviction, including:
Simple Assault Hate Crimes
The penalties for simple assault can be enhanced if the act was intentionally committed on the basis of:
- Religious affiliation
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- National origin
Under these circumstances, the assault is now considered a hate crime punishable by a mandatory prison sentence of at least 6 months.
If the victim of a hate crime sustains a bodily injury as a result of the attack, the defendant now faces a Class 6 felony (punishable by at least 6 months in prison).
Simple Assault of School Personnel & Healthcare Employees
If the defendant assaults a healthcare provider, medical professional (as defined in Virginia Code § 8.01-581.1) or full- or part-time employee of a private or public school district, they may face enhanced charges. If convicted, the defendant can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by:
- Up to 15 days in jail (2 of which are mandatory)
If the offense involved the use of a weapon or firearm on school property (Virginia Code § 18.2-308.1), the mandatory prison sentence is enhanced to at least 6 months.
Simple Assault of Protected Employees
If an assault is committed against a member of a protected group, a conviction carries a mandatory confinement term of at least 6 months. This includes assaulting citizens in office and other employees, including (but not limited to):
- Law enforcement officials
- Correctional officers
- Department of Juvenile Justice employees
- Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services employees
- City and volunteer firefighters
If convicted, defendants will be charged with a Class 6 felony.
Simple Assault & Domestic Violence
In Virginia, family or household members include:
- A current or former spouse
- A parent or stepparent
- A child, stepchild, or foster child
- A sibling, half-sibling, or stepsibling
- A domestic partner (regardless of marital status)
- Any person the defendant has lived with for at least 12 months
If convicted, the defendant will likely face fines and jail time. However, charges can be enhanced if the defendant has any prior convictions for similar offenses, in which case the misdemeanor offense may be elevated to a felony.
How to Defend Against Assault Charges
An assault charge is an extremely serious criminal offense that should be taken seriously. However, assuming the defendant seeks legal support from a knowledgeable assault defense lawyer, hope is not yet lost.
There are various legal strategies to defend against assault charges in court. Your defense attorney can determine which defense works best for your unique circumstances and collaborate with you to execute the strategy effectively in court. Common defenses against assault charges in Richmond include (but aren’t limited to):
- You acted in self-defense or in defense of another person.
- You were falsely accused of assault.
- You did not act willfully or with intent.
- You couldn’t have committed the offense in question due to physical limitation(s).
Regardless of which legal strategy you choose to employ in your defense, it’s crucial to work together with your defense attorney to determine your next steps. Navigating the complexities of criminal law requires comprehensive legal knowledge and analytical skills. An accomplished criminal defense lawyer is your best hope to give yourself a fighting chance in court and succeed in reducing or dismissing the charges you’re facing.
Contact a Trusted Richmond Assault Defense Attorney
At Janus & Stone, P.C., we have a proven track record of providing exceptional service and customized legal solutions for each and every client. We know that every person’s situation is unique and deserving of personalized attention. If you’ve been charged with a crime in Richmond or the surrounding areas, you can count on us to defend your good name.
A criminal conviction can result in a severely diminished quality of life. From years in prison to thousands of dollars in fines, building a strong defense in court is nonnegotiable if you wish to avoid a harsh sentence. Our Richmond assault defense lawyer has a hard-earned reputation for practicing effective communication and providing sound legal counsel to guide each client in the direction that is best suited to their personal needs.
When it comes to preserving your future and freedom, it's important to have the right legal team in your corner. Retaining the aggressive legal advocacy of a skilled criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between a life-altering felony conviction and a couple of days in jail. Turn to a law firm you can trust to keep your best interests at heart until the final gavel drops.
Facing assault charges in Richmond? Secure the legal support of a trusted defense attorney today. Call Janus & Stone, P.C. at (804) 265-4441 today to request a free consultation.
“Mr. Stone went to work on my behalf and came out with a positive result that allowed me to continue working in my career.”- Emcnell
“He will give his all to help you be able to win your case. Hands down the best out there.”- Michael
“Mr. Taylor Stone is an incredible lawyer. He took great care of me at every step and always made sure I was completely informed.”- Ryan