Virginia Man Convicted of Disorderly Conduct for Flamethrower Incident
A Virginia man was convicted of disorderly conduct for discharging a flamethrower during a public rally, reported WTOP. Last week, this man received a 20-day prison sentence for his offense.
On August 12th of last year, the Virginia man brought an improvised flamethrower to a protest rally in Charlottesville. The man sprayed flames at a man holding a flagpole, the images of which went viral.
After the incident, the authorities initially charged the Virginia man with disorderly conduct and assault and battery. But the authorities could not locate the alleged victim and subsequently dropped the assault and battery charge.
While the Virginia man serves his jail sentence, it seems like an opportune time to review Virginia laws concerning disorderly conduct and assault and battery.
Disorderly Conduct in Virginia
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-415, there are two elements to a charge of disorderly conduct. The first element involves intent. Disorderly conduct refers to any action that is intended to cause “inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm” in public.
The second element centers on the type of conduct involved and where that conduct took place. Section 18.2-415 provides several examples of disorderly conduct, including:
- Acts of Violence — If a person incites an act of violence on the streets or other public places, then it may qualify as disorderly conduct;
- Funerals and Memorial Services — If a person intentionally disrupts a funeral or memorial service, then it may qualify as disorderly conduct;
- Government Meetings — If a person intentionally disrupts a government meeting, then it may qualify as disorderly conduct; and
- Academic Activities — If a person intentionally disrupts any academic activities, on or off of a school campus, then it may qualify as disorderly conduct.
Disorderly conduct is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. The typical penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor include up to 365 days in county jail and $2,500 in fines. The sentence can include either or both of those penalties.
Assault and Battery in Virginia
Under Virginia law, assault and battery occurs when there is unwanted physical contact. Unlike other types of assault, mere words or threats do not qualify as assault and battery. The offender must make physical contact with the victim and inflict some sort of harm or injury.
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-57, assault and battery is generally a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. The typical penalties are the same as outlined previously for disorderly conduct.
That being said, assault and battery can become a more serious offense in certain circumstances. Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-51, for example, it is a Class 3 felony to maliciously stab, shoot, or wound another person. The typical penalties for a Class 3 felony in Virginia include five to 20 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about disorderly conduct, assault and battery, or other crimes in Virginia, it is immensely valuable to consult with an adept criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP , servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have many years of combined legal experience in the field of criminal law, including disorderly conduct and assault and battery. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.