Facing assault and battery charges in Virginia can be devastating. Not only can you face substantial monetary penalties and jail time, but you could be looking at other consequences surrounding your ability to spend time with your children, as well as your ability to be eligible for certain types of employment even after you have completed the terms of a sentence. At Dougherty Tobias Iszard, Northern Virginia Law, P.C., our dedicated Fairfax criminal defense attorneys can assist you with your case. In the meantime, the following are five things you should know about assault and battery charges in Virginia.
- Assault and Battery is a Criminal Offense
If you are facing any kind of assault and battery charges in Virginia, you should know that you are facing criminal charges. Under Virginia law (Code of Va. § 18.2-57), general assault and battery can include simple assault or assault and battery charges, both of which are Class 1 misdemeanor offenses—even for a first-time offender. There are different types of assault and battery charges and assault-related charges in Virginia, but all of them are criminal offenses. Domestic violence charges, too, which can be charged as assault and battery against a family or household member (Code of Va. § 18.2-57.2), typically begin as Class 1 misdemeanor charges.
- Assault and Battery Can Be Charged As a Felony Offense
In various circumstances, assault and battery can also be charged as a felony offense. For multiple or subsequent offenders, assault and battery may be a felony offense. In addition, if there are certain aggravating circumstances, or if the assault and battery is committed against a person as a result of their actual or perceived identity—which we will explain in more detail below—you can face felony charges.
- The Identity of the Alleged Victim Matters in Determining Assault and Battery Charges and Penalties in Virginia
As we noted above, the identity of the alleged victim can affect the charges and penalties you could be facing in Virginia. Assault and battery committed against a family or household member will result in distinct charges. More significantly, perhaps, are assault and battery charges that are connected to an alleged act committed against a person who is a member of a protected class specifically because that person is a member of a protected class.
The statute explicitly states that assault and battery will be a Class 6 if the offense results in bodily injury and “is committed because of . . . race, religious conviction, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, or national origin.”
- Assault and Battery Conviction Cannot Be Expunged in Virginia
Any criminal conviction is not eligible for expungement in Virginia (Code of Va. § 19.2-392.2). As such, if you are convicted, the only option to remove the conviction from your criminal record will be to seek a record sealing (but the record will still exist).
- Many Defenses May Exist to Assault and Battery Charges
There are many potential defenses to assault and battery charges that you should discuss with a criminal defense lawyer in Virginia. Potential defenses can include, for example, self-defense, defense of another party (or defense of a third person), and mistaken identity with an alibi.
Contact a Northern Virginia Assault and Battery Defense Lawyer Today
If you are facing assault and battery charges in Northern Virginia and you need assistance developing a defense strategy that is tailored to the particular facts of your case, one of our experienced Fairfax assault and battery defense attorneys can begin working with you today. Contact Dougherty Tobias Iszard, Northern Virginia Law, P.C. for more information about getting started on your defense.