In Virginia, an assault charge and resulting conviction will give an offender a class-one misdemeanor on his criminal record. However, other factors—including whether or not the offender became physical or had malicious intentions—could graduate simple assault to assault and battery, a hate crime, or even a felony. However, it’s important you know that these charges are defensible with the help of an experienced attorney.
Defending Against Assault Charges
A person may be charged with assault if the alleged victim, or plaintiff, believes that the other person, the defendant, can or will inflict harm. The plaintiff may believe that he is being assaulted if verbal threats—direct or implied—are made. Assault may graduate into assault and battery if the defender followed through on those threats with physical actions. However, an experienced lawyer who has intimate knowledge of Virginia law may be able to use the following defenses to help you avoid these charges:
- Self-defense. Essentially, claiming self-defense means you’re saying that you had a legal justification for your words or actions. This defense may call for you to admit that you had a small part in the cause of the altercation but also tried to stop the fight. Or you may claim that the other person started the incident, and you had to take verbal or physical action to protect yourself or others.
- Visual evidence. Photos or videos of the actual incident may be able to clear you of some or all charges. Additionally, photos or videos of the plaintiff’s and defendant’s injuries may be useful in your defense narrative.
- Witness testimony. It’s possible that others who saw what happened can shed light on the cause and effects of the altercation. Your attorney and his investigative team may be able to obtain witness testimonies, you may have the contact information for people who were there, or the police report may provide names of folks who witnessed the incident. However, remember that it can be difficult to obtain the testimony of those who are objective third parties.
You should also know that an alleged victim does not have to follow through on pressing charges for the charges to stick. Police often make an arrest when called on an assault incident, and those charges can continue without prompting from a potential plaintiff. For this reason, retaining the representation of an attorney is critical.
Don’t Hesitate to Call a Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with assault and are worried about what penalties, convictions, and fines may come later, you need the help of a trusted defense attorney. The team at Tavss Fletcher can look at the details of your case, help you understand your options, and build a solid defense. To begin a conversation with our firm, call our toll-free phone number today.