Victims Mounting After Virginia Man Commits Indecent Exposure, Assault & Battery
After arresting a Virginia man on charges of indecent exposure and assault and battery, Arlington police have discovered at least one other victim and are searching for more, according to an article by WUSA.
The man allegedly made unwanted physical contact with at least two women. In addition to groping victims, the man also allegedly exposed his genitalia. Police were able to apprehend the man after canvassing the area. But police are still searching for additional victims.
Considering the impact of this news development, it feels like a perfect time to review Virginia laws concerning indecent exposure as well as assault and battery.
What is the Virginia Approach to Indecent Exposure?
Under Code of Virginia section 18.2-387, indecent exposure is defined as an “obscene display” or exposure of the “person, or the private parts.” Indecent exposure can only occur in public or places where other people are present. Essentially, this crime occurs when a person engages in crude action by exposing their body or private parts.
Virginia does outline one specific exception to indecent exposure. A mother who breastfeeds her child in public is not guilty of indecent exposure.
What is the Virginia Approach to Assault and Battery?
To differentiate between assault and battery, Virginia draws a line between intent and physical contact.
Commonly referred to as “simple assault” in Virginia, the crime of assault centers on intent, not necessarily physical contact. Stated otherwise, assault can occur whenever one person threatens to harm or hurt another person. But assault does not require the perpetrator to actually carry out their threat. The threat itself is enough to trigger assault laws.
Commonly referred to as “assault and battery” in Virginia, the crime of battery revolves around unwanted physical contact. Stated otherwise, battery can occur whenever one person makes unwanted or harmful physical contact with another person. Contrasting battery with assault, battery can only happen if there is unwanted physical contact.
What are the Penalties?
At the very least, indecent exposure, simple assault, and battery are classified as Class 1 misdemeanors. But certain conditions and circumstances can escalate the penalties for assault and battery crimes.
For example, the penalties increase sharply if a perpetrator targeted their victim based on “race, religious conviction, color, or national origin.” If a person uses ethnic targeting in the commission of simple assault, the penalty includes at least six months in prison. If a person uses ethnic targeting in the commission of assault and battery, the crime elevates to the level of a Class 6 felony.
Do You Have Questions for a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Whether you are facing charges for indecent exposure, assault and battery, or other criminal offenses, it is not easy to consider the prospect of harsh penalties and incarceration. With so much at risk concerning your financial and personal liberty, it is paramount to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.
If you have questions about indecent exposure, assault and battery or other criminal offenses, know that Simms Showers LLP can help you start on the path toward recovery. Simms Showers LLP provides a free consultation to clients concerning criminal charges. You can reach us by phone at 703-997-7821 or online by completing a simple form.