Leesburg Assault & Battery Attorneys
A number of different actions can be interpreted as criminal offenses and charged as assault and battery under Virginia law. Depending on the circumstances, the offense could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, with the potential for years in prison on conviction. Many people who are arrested are not actually guilty of the crime charged, however, and often there are defenses available to fight assault and battery prosecutions. Caleb Kershner and the legal defense team at Simms Showers LLP provide an aggressive defense of assault and battery cases based on a thorough knowledge of the law and strong trial skills honed by years of experience. Our Leesburg assault & battery attorneys work to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced, and fight for you in court if necessary to get you the best outcome.
When people think of an assault or being assaulted, they think of actual, violent physical harm. Contrary to popular belief, however, the crime of assault does not require any physical contact. What most people think of as assault is more properly termed as Battery, or Assault and Battery. To be guilty of the crime of assault in Virginia, the prosecuting attorney need only prove the following:
- You performed some act with the intent to harm or cause offensive contact
- The other person believed you had the ability to cause an immediate harm or offensive contact
- You had the actual ability to cause the harm or offensive contact
For example, charging toward a person while yelling that you are going to kill the person could be an assault, even if you never actually reach the person. But yelling at somebody from the other side of the Potomac would not be an assault, because you could not actually carry out that threat. Likewise, making a threat over the phone from a long distance away, while it may be a violation of some law, is likely not an assault because you could not carry out that threat immediately.
As you can see, there are many important elements to the crime of assault which must be proven by the Commonwealth’s Attorney before you can be convicted of assault, including your intent, your ability to carry out harm or contact, and the other person’s belief in your ability to do so. These elements are often difficult to prove and open to challenge, and we put all of our resources toward keeping you from being convicted when the Commonwealth cannot prove its case.
Battery (assault and battery)
The crime of Battery, or Assault and Battery, requires an actual offensive touching or harmful physical contact. Intent is an important of this offense, and an accidental touching, even if offensive or harmful, may not be a battery. Other defenses, such as self-defense, consent and provocation may also keep you from being convicted or lessen the severity of any sentence imposed.
Are Assault and Battery Misdemeanors or Felonies?
Assault and Battery is generally a misdemeanor offense, but there are many ways these offenses can be charged as felonies. For instance, if the alleged victim is a public safety official like a police officer, firefighter, EMT or corrections officer, the offense could be charged as a Class 6 felony. There are also mandatory jail sentences upon conviction in certain instances, such as when the alleged victim is teacher or school official (2 days) or if it can be proven that the crime was a hate crime committed based on a person’s race, color, national origin or religion (30 days), of if the victim falls under the category of a protected employee (six months).
Some violent crimes can be especially serious, because they count as strike offenses for the purpose of Virginia’s three strikes law. In particular, Malicious Felony Assault and Malicious Bodily Wounding are both strike offenses. If you are charged with a strike offense, even if you don’t have any prior convictions, you need to take the charge very seriously to prevent having a conviction for a strike offense on your record.
Of course, even a misdemeanor offense should not be taken lightly. Not only could you face up to a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines, but you can suffer in many areas of your life just from having a criminal record.
Leesburg Domestic Violence
Another way assault and battery may be charged as a felony is when the offense involves domestic violence, and the defendant has a previous conviction for a similar offense. Assaults and Batteries are frequently alleged in domestic violence situations and can have serious consequences above and beyond those imposed by the criminal legal system. Domestic violence allegations may be made based on a misunderstanding or desire for revenge, or arise in the heat of the moment, and there may be many defenses available. Our Assault and Battery attorneys in Loudoun handle many cases where domestic violence assaults and batteries are alleged.
Seek Experienced Leesburg Assault & Battery Attorneys in Your Virginia Case
The Leesburg Assault and batttery attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP have years of experience in all aspects of criminal law, including as both prosecutors and defense attorneys in the state and federal legal systems. Let us put our experience to work for you. If you have been arrested and charged with Assault and Battery or another violent offense in Leesburg or Loudoun County, call 703-997-7821 for immediate assistance from a Loudoun assault and battery attorney.