The consequences of assault and battery charges in the state of Virginia are very serious. Under Virginia’s domestic assault and battery statutes, offenders can receive lofty sentences including hefty fines and protective orders that limit your accessibility to your property, your children, or to keep and bear firearms, and serious jail time. In these instances, it is of the utmost importance that you hire quality legal representation from a legal defense attorney in Richmond, Virginia.
If handled inappropriately by inexperienced attorneys, the future of your life, livelihood, relationships and more is likely to suffer serious negative consequences.
Our experienced criminal lawyers in Richmond thoroughly evaluate your case to ensure your constitutional rights are not being compromised. You deserve equal treatment and protection of your rights.
When it comes to assault and battery, no case is the same. It can be very difficult to establish the truth of what transpired between two people and to convince the courts of your side of things. That’s where Cravens & Noll, P.C. comes in. Our lawyers are dedicated to ensuring your constitutional rights are not violated and you receive a fair trial and excellent legal representation & counsel.
Assault & Battery in Virginia
Both assault and battery incidents can carry varying charges and sentences if you are convicted. It’s important to recognize the differences in what constitutes assault versus battery. The circumstances of the incident can determine the specific nature of the charges made against you and the potential exposure you face.
What is assault?
Simply put, assault is defined as:
“an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact”.
Determination of assault can vary by jurisdiction. Assaults fall under the umbrella of intent and attempt to incur physical harm and damage to another person. Any threat of violence that causes fear of impending harm is identified as assault.
Verbal threats and threats made through phones, emails, texts, etc. can violate Virginia code § 18.2-57 and suffice as assault.
What is battery?
While “assault” is the intent of harm, battery can only be so if physical contact occurs. There is no level of severity to qualify as battery. If the offender causes any actual physical contact without the consent of the victim, it can count as battery.
If the incident is a high level of severity, then it will be categorized as aggravated battery. These more serious incidents incur much harsher sentences.
Under Virginia law, there must be a component of intended harm or offense with such physical contact. Oftentimes in these cases, it can be incredibly difficult to prove what actually happened in any given incident and what a defendant’s intentions were.
That is where quality representation and legal counsel is necessary. Regardless of the situation, you are entitled to legal representation. Always avail yourself of this right.
Other Offenses in Richmond
In Virginia, there are several assault offenses and charges that fall under the realm of assault and battery but involve more serious infliction of injury.
These can include:
- Simple Assault – Class 1 Misdemeanor
- Assault & Battery – Class 1 Misdemeanor
- Assault on Family Member – Class 1 Misdemeanor
- Assault on Law Enforcement – Class 6 Felony
- Assault as Hate Crime – Class 1 Misdemeanor
- Assault as Hate Crime w/ Injury – Class 6 Felony
- Unlawful Wounding – Class 6 Felony
- Malicious Wounding – Class 3 Felony
- Strangulation – Class 6 Felony
What Happens If I’m Charged?
The consequences of an assault and battery charge vary depending on the circumstances of the incident. Most assault and battery cases include some jail time, but the other aspects of sentencing vary depending on:
- The criminal history of the offender (if applicable)
- Laws of jurisdiction in which incident took place
- The severity of the incident
- The quality of the legal representation and counsel
Is It A Misdemeanor or Felony?
Again, each case varies. Under Virginia law, most cases are usually a Class One Misdemeanor or a serious felony.
Class One Misdemeanor
In a Class One Misdemeanor, the offender could be sentenced up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Felony sentences can range between one year to life in prison. These felonies occur when the defendant violates Virginia’s hate crimes statute.
The state’s hate crime statute prohibits the singling out of a victim based on:
- National origin
If identified and prosecuted as a hate crime, the punishment and following consequences are likely to be enhanced.
Two Considerations to Every Criminal Defense
When handling criminal defense cases, often times the alleged offense occurs between families, friends, business partners, and ex-spouses. Therefore, early on a decision must be made as to whether the case will be defended:
In violent or assaultive cases, we will first try to approach the situation with collaborative litigation.
This scenario focuses on all parties working together, with the focus being to help save families, friendships, and other important relationships for our clients.
The collaborative approach includes:
- Trying to negotiate with the other parties,
- Calling the victims and attempting to soothe the problem, calm the situation, and seek long term resolutions.
- Working with the prosecutor to reach a potential plea agreement that can limit exposure and prevent greater wounding of relationships.
When the collaborative approach doesn’t work, we grit our teeth and fight for our clients’ constitutional rights. We challenge the prosecution witnesses and their version of the facts.
In the combative scenario, agreements and collaboration has failed and we must roll up our sleeves and defend our client. To achieve the best results, we prepare our client for the arduous road ahead. We develop the case theory and theme; we design a narrative for our side of the story. We prepare the client for direct and cross examination.
We develop our strategy to confront all witnesses and test the accuracy of their recollections and their truthfulness.
Defending someone on criminal charges that expose a client to prison and the loss of liberty is a sacred trust that we honor. We zealously represent our clients to the bounds of the law in an honest and ethical manner knowing that our client has entrusted us with their lives and their future. This is a very subjective process that requires weeks if not months of preparation and planning.
Going through a criminal trial is one of the most difficult and emotionally challenging things our clients will ever face. However, our clients know that they do not walk this road alone in darkness. They walk side by side with our attorneys with the light of our counsel and our decades of experience.
Contact Your Assault & Battery Lawyers Today
Whether the situation calls for collaboration or aggressive litigation, we are prepared to do whatever it takes within the bounds of the law to get the best outcome for our clients.
We’re prepared with years of experience and proven results to support you in your assault and battery case.
Being arrested and charged with assault and battery or a crime of violence is a serious matter. A criminal record could negatively affect or even derail your entire life, future job prospects as well as family and personal relationships. When the charges are of this magnitude, do not trust inexperienced attorneys to handle your criminal defense case.
We handle hundreds of violent crime cases every year and take each clients’ matters very seriously and defend each case individually based on the unique facts of that case.
Our Richmond criminal defense lawyers will do everything possible to minimize the damage to your life. Schedule an initial consultation with us today and take control of your defense. Give yourself the best chance to prevail because you deserve it.