Mecklenburg County Assault Lawyer
Assault and battery is a crime that can be penalized severely, even when no harm results. Many people in Mecklenburg County are surprised to learn how a small act can be treated as assault under the law.
In addition to the potential criminal penalties, a conviction for assault creates a criminal record that can interfere with employment, cause problems with housing applications, and result in embarrassment and lost opportunities.
If you are facing assault charges, it is a good idea to consult a knowledgeable Mecklenburg County assault lawyer to learn your options for fighting the charges. A criminal defense attorney familiar with assault and battery could help you protect your rights and work toward a positive outcome.
Penalties Vary Depending on the Identity of the Alleged Victim
One critical factor an assault lawyer in Mecklenburg County will want to be aware of in an assault and battery case is the identity of the person alleged to have been assaulted in the incident. More specifically, what matters is the occupation of the individual involved.
Under Va. Code §18.2-57, if the assault and battery is committed against certain individuals engaged in the performance of their duties, then the penalties increase. Those for whom the penalties are enhanced include:
- School employees
- Emergency medical professionals
- Law enforcement personnel
- Correctional officers
In some cases, the enhanced penalties apply even if the person assaulted is not performing official duties, so long as the person committing the assault knows of the other person’s position. Furthermore, if an individual commits an assault and battery against another person because of their race, religion, color, or national origin, the offense will also be treated more severely.
State Laws Governing Assault and Battery
Va. Code §18.2-57 defines the penalties that apply when someone commits “simple assault” or “assault and battery.” The statute does not describe the crime but instead relies on the common law definitions of assault and battery.
Under traditional common law, an individual commits battery by making harmful or offensive contact with another person. Slapping or spitting on another person could be considered battery.
An assault occurs when someone either acts in a manner that puts another person in fear of immediate physical harm or when they attempt to commit a battery and fail to succeed. A Mecklenburg County assault lawyer State law may collect evidence to demonstrate that conduct did not constitute an actual assault.
Penalties for Assault
State law penalizes simple assault in the same manner as assault and battery. If no aggravating factors are present, assault is treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Those convicted may be sentenced to up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500. A knowledgeable Mecklenburg County assault lawyer could show that any alleged aggravating factors do not actually apply in a particular case.
When an assault is committed against another person due to their race, religion, color or origin, or against one of the protected categories of public servants described in the statute, a minimum sentence applies. Moreover, the offense may be treated as a Class 6 felony in many such cases.
If an assault and battery results in severe injuries, it may be prosecuted as aggravated malicious wounding under Va. Code §18.2-51.2. Penalties for this Class 2 felony include a fine of up to $100,000 and a life sentence in prison.
Talk to a Mecklenburg County Assault Attorney Today
Regardless of the penalties, assault is not a crime anyone wants to have on their record. An experienced Mecklenburg County assault lawyer could work to defend against charges and to minimize the consequences.
If you are charged with assault, it is wise to seek legal advice and counsel as soon as possible to avoid taking actions that could unintentionally forfeit your rights or harm your case. For a consultation to learn your options for a positive outcome, call now.