Aggravated Assault Defense Attorney Serving Abingdon & Tazewell, Virginia
Assault charges can have a long-lasting impact on the accused person’s personal and professional life, especially when being accused of aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is a more serious crime than a simple assault that can lead to significant penalties and jail time.
Our criminal defense attorney at Letsen Law Firm handles all assault and battery-related charges throughout Russell County and the Virginia side of Bristol City. With offices in Abingdon and Tazewell, Virginia, we provide proactive and highly qualified representation to clients facing aggravated assault charges to help them obtain the most favorable outcome possible.
Assault in Virginia
Virginia defines assault as an unlawful act that has the intent to cause bodily harm to another person. In order to qualify as assault, this unlawful act must be coupled with a present ability to cause bodily harm or cause the alleged victim to be in fear of imminent bodily harm.
In other words, there does not necessarily need to be physical contact between the offender and the alleged victim to face assault charges. Battery, on the other hand, is when there is an unwanted and unlawful touching of another person in an angry, provocative, aggressive, or rude manner. However, neither assault nor battery offenses in Virginia require physical injuries for a conviction.
Is There Aggravated Assault Under Virginia Law?
Unlike other states, Virginia does not recognize “aggravated assault” as a separate offense. Instead, assault and battery charges are broken down into two categories in Virginia:
Assault and battery are categorized as felonies when any of the following circumstances apply:
hate crimes that result in injuries;
the offender uses or brandishes a firearm or weapon near or on school grounds;
the offender repeatedly commits assault and battery against a member of his/her family or household; or
the offender commits assault and battery against a correctional employee, judge, law enforcement officer, or firefighter.
It is not uncommon for assault and battery charges, which should be a misdemeanor, to be charged as a felony because the prosecution can prove one of the above-mentioned factors. That is why it is imperative that you seek legal counsel from an assault defense attorney to help you advocate for your rights to get the charges against you reduced to a misdemeanor or dismissed altogether.
Possible Penalties for Aggravated Assault
Assault and battery are serious crimes in Virginia that can result in severe punishment, including incarceration. The penalties for assault and battery in Virginia vary depending on the circumstances of the offense, including whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Felony assault and battery – which is commonly referred to as “aggravated assault” in Virginia – usually come with a mandatory minimum sentence of at least six months in jail. If convicted, assault and battery will leave a permanent mark on your criminal record, which can affect various aspects of your life, including your ability to get a job and find housing.
If you are facing aggravated assault charges, you need to understand what your defense options are. The defense options that may be available to you depend heavily on the facts of your case. Possible defenses include but are not limited to:
Self-defense refers to using physical force against someone when you believe that harm is imminent. In Virginia, you can use self-defense if your actions were necessary to protect yourself from harm. However, if the use of force is excessive, it will not be deemed self-defense.
2. Defense of Another Person
If you were trying to protect another person from harm, this could be a viable defense to avoid a conviction. The defense of others applies when a person believes that they need to use force to protect another person from imminent harm. An assault defense attorney can help you investigate the circumstances of the incident to determine whether the defense of others applies to your case.
3. Wrongful Accusations
In some assault cases, the defendant might be falsely accused. If there is no evidence to support the allegations, the defendant can argue that they are innocent. For example, a person might accuse you of assaulting them when in fact, they fell and got injured. An assault defense attorney can help you gather evidence to disprove the allegations.
4. The Act Was Not Willful
In Virginia, to convict someone of assault, the prosecution has to prove that the act was willful. If you did not intend to commit the assault, you can use this defense in court. For example, if you accidentally bumped into someone, and they got hurt, that will not qualify as an assault since it was not willful.
5. You Have a Physical Limitation
If you have a physical limitation that prevented you from carrying out an assault, you can use that as a defense. For instance, if you have a sight problem and you did not see the person you allegedly assaulted, you can use this defense to prove that you did not act willfully.
An assault defense attorney at Letsen Law Firm can help you evaluate your case and use the best available defense to get the charges reduced or dismissed.
Abingdon & Tazewell, Virginia
If you are facing assault and battery charges in Virginia, contact Letsen Law Firm to get the legal representation you need. When working with our assault defense attorney in Abingdon and Tazewell, Virginia, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. We have successfully defended countless clients facing assault and battery charges throughout Russell County and the Virginia side of Bristol City. Reach out to our office to request a consultation.