Virginia’s criminal laws allow even the most minor of violent offenses to be charged as felonies, depending on the injury the accuser claims to have sustained. Even misdemeanor violent offenses can result in jail sentences in Northern Virginia courts. Violent crimes, even misdemeanors, are among the most difficult offenses to reach plea agreements for, meaning that they are disproportionately likely to end in trials. It is vital to have experienced defense counsel when you are charged with these kinds of offenses, whether you feel that you are guilty or not. If you are charged with a Violent Crime in Virginia, please call our office today at 703-934-8580 to discuss your case.
Types of Violent Crimes
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- Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer
- Unlawful Wounding
- Malicious Wounding
- Aggravated Malicious Wounding
Assault and Battery is a misdemeanor offense under Virginia law, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2500. Battery is the willful touching of another person, done without legal excuse or justification, done in a rude, vengeful, insulting, or angry manner. Assault is an overt act that places a person in fear of bodily harm, when the defendant intended to do so. Assault and Battery cases can be very minor, including cases where there is no touching and no injury, or they can be very serious, including cases where accusers claim to have sustained serious injuries.
Assault and Battery cases are often decided based on the credibility of the accuser and defendant. They also often cause significant anger and resentment for the parties involved. For these reasons, it is very common for cases involving Assault and Battery to go to trial.
Domestic Assault cases are treated very seriously by the courts and the prosecutors who work on them. When couples and spouses fight, one party often calls the police out of anger or spite. But after the police arrive at your home following the report of a domestic assault, it is extremely unusual for them to leave without arresting someone involved in the altercation. These cases are prosecuted aggressively in Northern Virginia, meaning that prosecutors will often attempt to go forward with cases even where the accuser no longer wishes to cooperate in the prosecution. In more serious cases involving real violence, prosecutors are even more likely to pursue the case aggressively, based on the perceived danger to the victim.
There is a First Offender program for defendants charged with domestic assault under Virginia Law. It generally requires that the defendant complete an Anger Management Course, commit no new offenses for two years, and complete any further requirements set out by the Court. If the defendant successfully completes this program, the charge will be dismissed. It is important to understand, however, that even if you complete the program successfully and earn a dismissal, the fact that you were charged and the fact that you were arrested will remain on your record after completion of this program. This is because entering into the first-offender program usually makes it impossible to get the charge expunged from your record. In short, the First Offender program does not keep current or future employers from finding out about a domestic violence arrest. To have a charge like a Domestic Assault expunged, you should consult with an attorney to devise a comprehensive strategy.
In addition to the misdemeanor offenses described above, Virginia Criminal law recognizes a number of felony assaults. Each of these offenses can result in a jail or prison sentence if the defendant is convicted, as well as a permanent felony conviction which typically cannot be expunged or erased from any criminal record. Needless to say, anyone charged with a felony assault absolutely needs the assistance of an attorney. If you are charged with a felony assault, call our office today at 703-934-8580 to discuss your case.
If an assault is committed against a law enforcement officer in the course of his/her duties, it is elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony. A conviction for this offense also includes a mandatory six-month jail sentence that cannot be suspended or waived.
Unlawful Wounding is a felony offense in Virginia Criminal law. Unlawful Wounding occurs when a defendant wounds (breaks the skin or causes other injury) to a person with the intent to maim, disable, disfigure, or kill that person. The level of injury required to prove the felony is very low, which allows the police to charge this offense in almost any case where there is an assault resulting in a visible injury. This offense is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Malicious Wounding is also a felony offense in Virginia Criminal law. Malicious Wounding occurs when a defendant wounds (breaks the skin or causes other injury) a person with the intent to maim, disable, disfigure, or kill that person, and where the defendant does so with malice. As with Unlawful Wounding, the police can charge a defendant with this offense in a wide variety of cases, from cases where there is a single punch involving no weapon to cases where the accuser claims to have been shot or stabbed.
Aggravated Malicious Wounding is also a felony offense in Virginia Criminal law. Aggravated Malicious Wounding occurs when a Malicious Wounding results in a severe injury causing permanent and significant physical impairment.
This offense is punishable by 20 years to a life sentence in prison. Aggravated Malicious Wounding is obviously an extremely serious allegation and requires the assistance of an attorney experienced in trying cases involving this offense.
Strangulation is a new offense in Virginia Criminal law, created in 2011 by the Virginia General Assembly. Strangulation occurs when a defendant applies pressure to another person’s neck, impeding the flow of blood circulation or respiration, resulting in an injury. Our firm tried the first jury trial under this statute in Fairfax County Circuit Court in November of 2012, resulting in an acquittal for our client. This new Strangulation offense is often used to elevate what would otherwise be a misdemeanor assault charge to a felony offense, substantially increasing the risk of trial for the accused.
The penalty for Strangulation is up to 5 years in prison as well as a permanent felony conviction. If you are charged with Strangulation, please call our office today at 703-934-8580 to discuss your case for free.