Virginia Assault Lawyer
Being charged with assault or a related crime in Virginia is very serious, and could lead to either a misdemeanor or felony conviction depending on the nature and severity of the alleged offense. If you’re convicted of assault, and especially if this conviction is classified as a felony, you could face major difficulties finding employment, housing, loans, financial aid and other important provisions of living in the future. However, with the help of an experienced Virginia assault lawyer, you’ll greatly improve your chances of having your charges lowered or even dismissed.
Crimes of assault and similar crimes are covered by Chapter 4 of Title 18.2 of the Virginia criminal code, a chapter entitled Crimes Against the Person. The laws are complex and often subject to interpretation by courts and juries on a case-by-case basis. In many instances, assault crimes are complicated by claims of self-defense, which is one reasons why it’s so important to have one of our veteran criminal defense attorneys by your side throughout each stage of the legal process.
Assault and Battery Laws
In Virginia, assault and battery is covered by criminal code § 18.2-57. According to this code, the penalty for committing simple assault and battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor, along with up to a year in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,500. According to part B of this code, if the victim of the assault is chosen because of his or her race, origin or religious conviction, the penalty is increased to a Class 6 felony and a prison sentence of at least six months, along with a fine of up to $2,500.
The Class 6 felony penalty is also attached to crimes of assault and battery committed against a judge, law enforcement officer, correctional officer, firefighter, rescue squad member or EMS member, with six months being the mandatory minimum sentence.
Part D of this code states that the penalty for battery committed against teachers, guidance counselors or principals of public or private schools is a Class 1 misdemeanor, along with at least 15 days in jail. However, if the crime is committed with the use of a weapon banned from school property, the mandatory minimum increases to six months.
Finally, section E of this code states that a Class 1 misdemeanor penalty and at least 15 days in jail will be assessed to any individual who commits a crime of battery against a health care provider, such as a doctor or nurse, engaged in official duties.
Domestic Assault and Battery Laws
The laws pertaining to domestic assault and battery, defined as an assault against a member of the household or family, are spelled out in Virginia criminal code § 18.2-57.2. According to this code, the basic penalty for a domestic assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor, as well as up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
However, individuals who commit this crime and already have two prior convictions for domestic assault, malicious wounding, aggravated malicious wounding or malicious bodily injury by means of a substance are subject to a Class 6 felony. This will only occur if the two prior convictions occurred on separate dates within a single 20-year period. The penalties associated with a Class 6 felony include up to five years incarceration, as well as a fine not to exceed $2,500.
In addition, individuals over the age of 18 found guilty of domestic assault will have an emergency protective order filed against them by the magistrate. This protective order is designed to protect the safety of the alleged victim.
Shooting and Stabbing Laws
Assaults that involve more serious bodily injuries, or the intent to cause more serious bodily injuries, are covered by Virginia criminal code § 18.2-51. According to this code, it is illegal to maliciously stab, cut, wound or shoot another person in any way with the intent to disable, disfigure, maim or kill. The penalty for this crime is a Class 3 felony, along with a prison term ranging from 5 to 20 years and a fine of up to $100,000.
If this crime is committed unlawfully but without malicious intent, the penalty is reduced to a Class 6 felony, which carries with it up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Malicious Bodily Injury to Certain Persons
Virginia criminal code § 18.2-51.1 establishes separate laws for crimes of malicious bodily injury committed against law enforcement officers, search and rescue personnel, firefighters and emergency medical service team members. If malicious bodily injury is committed against one of these persons acting in their official duties, with the intent to kill, disable, maim or disfigure, the penalty is felony. Along with this felony, penalties include a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 30 years and a fine not to exceed $100,000. The mandatory minimum prison term is two years.
If this same crime is committed unlawfully but without malicious intent, the penalty is a Class 6 felony, as well as up to five years in prison and a fine of $2,500. The mandatory minimum sentence in this case is one year.
Aggravated Malicious Wounding Laws
According to Virginia state code § 18.2-51.2, it is illegal to maliciously stab, cut, wound or shoot another individual with the intent to maim, disable, disfigure or kill. If the victim is severely injured and suffers significant and permanent physical impairment, the penalty is a Class 2 felony along with a prison sentence ranging from 20 years to life, plus a maximum fine of $100,000. This code establishes the very same penalty for individuals who commit this crime against a pregnant woman with the intent of maiming, killing, disabling or disfiguring her, or terminating her pregnancy.
Malicious Bodily Injury with Caustic Substance
Virginia criminal code § 18.2-52 covers the law pertaining to causing malicious bodily injury through the use of a caustic substance, or an explosive or flammable material. This code makes it illegal to maliciously cause bodily injury to another individual using materials such as lye and acid. The punishment for this crime upon conviction is a felony, along with 5 to 30 years in prison. As with other similar crimes, the classification of Class 6 felony is given to cases in which the wounding is caused through unlawful but not malicious means.
Maiming of Another by DWI
According to Virginia state code § 18.2-51.4, it is illegal to maim another individual as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the defendant acts in a way that demonstrates reckless disregard for the life and well-being of another individual, and if he or she unintentionally causes serious bodily injury to another person that results in significant and permanent physical impairment, the penalty is a Class 6 felony. Upon conviction, the defendant could face up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500. In addition, the defendant’s driver’s license will be revoked.
Our law offices are situated throughout Virginia in locations such as Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun County, Prince William County and Richmond to conveniently tend to your legal needs. Being charged with assault must always be taken seriously since a conviction could potentially change the course of your life permanently, particularly in assault cases that lead to a felony. Since this is true of many assault-related crimes beyond simple assault and battery, the best course of action is to hire the assistance of one of our skilled, experienced Virginia assault lawyers. Our criminal defense attorneys have decades of combined experience fighting assault and other charges, and have amassed solid track records of success along the way. Check out Maryland and DC assault pages if you think you have a case in those states.
With a crime rate of just 1.97 violent crimes per 1,000 people per year, Alexandria is safer than the average city in Virginia and far safer than the average city in America. Assault crimes are particularly rare in Alexandria, with just 128 assaults committed per year in a population of 140,000 for a rate of 0.91 annual assaults per 1,000 people. This is about one-third of the national average, which is 2.52 assaults per 1,000 per year. When you hire one of our Alexandria assault lawyers, you can rest assured that every aspect of your case will be treated with respect and care.
Arlington is a large and relatively safe city with a population of 207,000 and a crime rate of of 22.87 per 1,000 people annually. The violent crime rate is especially low at 1.59 per 1,000 people per year, as compared to 2.14 for Virginia and 4.0 for the nation overall. The assault rate is even lower than it is in Alexandria, with just 161 assaults committed annually for a rate of 0.78 assaults per 1,000 residents per year. If you’ve been charged with assault in Arlington, one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys will examine each detail of your case to create the strongest defense possible.
Fairfax, Virginia is relatively tiny at 22,000 citizens, the vast majority of whom are never victimized by a violent crime given an average violent crime rate of 1.55 per 1,000 people per year. Assaults occur at about 35% of the national median, with just 17 assault crimes booked per year on average. Property crime rates in Fairfax are just slightly above the Virginia average at 24.77 crimes per 1,000 people per year. If you’ve been charged with a crime such as assault in Fairfax, contact one of our criminal defense lawyers to schedule a free consultation.
Fauquier County is a small county in Virginia with just 65,000 people spread across cities such as Warrenton, Remington and the Plains. The largest city, Warrenton, contains less than 10,000 people and enjoys a modest crime rate of 31 per 1,000 people annually. Although property crimes are slightly more common here than in Virginia in general, the violent crime rate is well below the national average at 2.81 per 1,000 citizens per year. Assault charges filed in Fauquier County call for the legal assistance of an exceptional criminal defense attorney with a solid track record of success.
Loudoun County, Virginia is far larger than Fauquier County at 312,000 residents, and it’s also exceptionally wealthy with an average household income of over $115,000 per year. The largest city, by far, is Leesburg with nearly 43,000 people. In Leesburg, the crime rate is exceptionally low at 19 crimes per 1,000 people per year, including just 1.34 violent crimes per 1,000 and 17.67 property crimes per 1,000. Assault crimes are rare but approximately the same as in Arlington at 0.80 assaults per 1,000 people annually. Being charged with assault in Loudoun County is very serious, and warrants the assistance of a skilled Virginia assault lawyer.
Prince William County
Prince William County includes 402,000 residents across 19 cities, including Lake Ridge, Dale City, Montclair, Linton Hall, Gainesville and Sudley. The largest city, Dale City, enjoys a low crime rate similar to the one found in Leesburg. A total of 1,278 crimes are committed annually in this city of 66,000, including 100 violent crimes and 1,178 property crimes. This makes for a violent crime rate of 1.52 per 1,000 people every year. Seeking a free initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys should be your first step toward fighting assault charges in Prince William County.
Crime rates in Richmond, a city of 204,000, are among the highest of any major city in the state. The violent crime rate is 7.49 per 1,000 people per year, well above the Virginia average of 2.14 per 1,000. The assault rate is especially high at 704 assaults per year, or 3.45 per 1,000 per year as opposed to just 2.52 for the nation on average. Property crime rates are also about double of what you’d find in Virginia on average. Fortunately, there are safer areas such as Mooreland / Bosher, Windsor Farms and Powhite Parkway. If you’ve been accused of assault in Richmond, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of our experienced criminal defense lawyers.