Quantico Assault Lawyer
Out of all of the misconceptions about criminal laws, the ones surrounding assault are likely the most pervasive. They are also among the most important, because the myths of an assault charge makes people think that the law is far more difficult to violate than it really is. As a result, many people are shocked to find themselves under arrest and facing a serious criminal accusation that they assaulted someone else.
With the help of a Quantico assault lawyer, you can beat these charges by arguing against the evidence presented by the prosecutor and by raising effective legal defenses to the accusation. Call a veteran defense attorney today to schedule a consultation.
Important Misconceptions About Assault
In Quantico, assault is prohibited by Virginia Code Ann. § 18.2-57. However, the definition of assault is not in the statute. Instead, it has been refined by courts through the process of common law.
This process has led to the definition of assault as an intentional act that creates an apprehension of an imminent contact that is either harmful or offensive.
The most important part about assault that many people do not realize is that no contact needs to be necessary. Instead, there only has to be an apprehension of imminent contact for there to be an assault.
Differences Between an Assault and a Battery
Many people think that assault and battery are the same thing. While they often go hand-in-hand, there is one crucial detail that makes a big difference between the two: While a battery is a harmful or offensive contact, an assault is the creation of the apprehension that a battery is about to be committed.
The classic example of the difference between an assault and a battery is a punch being thrown. The assault happens as soon as the person being hit has seen their attacker throwing the punch. The battery, on the other hand, only happens when fist meets face. If the punch misses, therefore, there cannot be a battery, but there can be an assault.
Potential Penalties for an Assault Conviction
Typically, an assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Quantico, carrying up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
However, there are penalty enhancements that depend on who purportedly suffered the assault. People accused of assaulting someone because of their religion, race, or ethnicity face a minimum jail sentence of 6 months. Assaults of police officers, teachers, health care workers, or other government employees also enhance the potential jail sentence.
Finally, assaulting a family or household member turns the crime into one of domestic violence, which comes with a host of collateral consequences for a conviction.
Possible Defenses to an Accusation of Assault
A Quantico assault lawyer, however, can defend against an accusation of assault by deploying a variety of arguments that can prevent a prosecutor from proving their case, or that show that the assault was justified.
For example, an assault can be justified if it was done in self-defense. Additionally, the apprehension of harm has to be reasonable in order for it to be assault. Even the imminence of the apprehended harm is important: If the perceived harmful or offensive contact is far away or in the distant future, it should not be considered assault.
Let a Quantico Assault Attorney Assist You
An accusation that you assaulted someone – especially if they are a part of a protected class, under the state statute for assault – can be very serious. Even after the fines have been paid and the jail sentence completed, the blemish on your criminal background can be difficult to shake off.
A Quantico assault lawyer can help protect you from those consequences of a conviction. By fighting the prosecutor’s case and raising important legal defenses, an attorney can advocate on your behalf and protect you in court.