Domestic assault is called "family abuse" in Virginia. In 2012, the Virginia State Police reported that 48.5 percent of violent crimes committed in the state occurred in the home. It's a crime to physically injure a member of your family or a household member. A police officer doesn't have to have a warrant to arrest you for domestic violence, just probable cause. If convicted, you could spend a year in jail and pay up to $2,500 in fines for a first-time offense. At Williams Stone Carpenter Buczek, PC, we defend clients accused of assault or battery charges throughout Northern Virginia, including Stafford County, Prince William County & Spotsylvania County.
A domestic violence or assault charge can drastically change your future. We've seen plenty of family abuse cases in the military. They're not pretty. Virginia defines assault as the threat of physical violence that the receiver of the threat finds believable and credible. The victim must believe that the person threatening physical violence has the ability to carry out the threat immediately. This need for immediacy rules out threats by phone and email from the ambit of assault.
Battery is defined as the actual physical violence inflicted intentionally on another. The violence can be caused directly by a person or indirectly using objects. This means someone throwing things at the victim or even spitting on them can be considered battery. If there is consent to the touching, for instance, in a wrestling match or if the violence was done in self-defense or in the defense of another, then Virginia law does not consider it battery.
Virginia’s assault and battery laws are defined in VA Code 18.2-57. These are simple class 1 misdemeanors and have a maximum prison sentence of one year and a maximum fine of $2,500. In addition, the convicted person can be liable for restitution of medical expenses of the victim.
Group assault and battery is classified as mob assault and battery and is covered by VA Code 18.2-42.
In Virginia domestic assault is defined under VA Code 18.2-57.2.
Domestic assault is defined as assault by a family member or cohabitant. There are several relationships that can be considered family or domestic including husbands and wives, ex-spouses, parents and children, domestic partners, dating partners & unrelated individuals living in the same household. Individuals often charged for this offense include husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, cousins, sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, girlfriends, boyfriends & roommates.
Common examples of assault on a family member include hitting, punching, pushing, slapping, beating, spanking, striking, smacking, throwing & more. In Virginia, these charges can be very serious and we advise contacting Williams Stone Carpenter Buczek, PC to discuss your situation further.
Threatening to commit any of these acts of violence in a manner that the victim feared would be carried out will comprise domestic assault. Domestic battery can also include using tools and implements such as whips or even dogs while the defendant can be accused of assault if they threaten to set their dogs on the victim or threaten to use whips or other implements to cause harm.
While the victim cannot be accused of battery if he or she merely provoked the defendant using words, most courts are likely to consider verbal insults by the victim as provocation and mitigating circumstances will then reduce the penalty for the battery.
Fines, counseling, probation & potential imprisonment are all potential penalties if convicted. It is important that if under investigation for this type of charge you consult with our attorneys in Stafford or Fredericksburg, Virginia immediately.
Domestic Assault on a Child
While Virginia law upholds the right of parents to use reasonable punishments such as spanking to discipline a child, the law will consider it battery if the child is harmed by disproportionate use of force. The law takes into consideration factors such as the age and size of the child as well as the cause for the punishment. Generally speaking, if the spanking of a child results in bruises, cuts, and lacerations and bleeding, then it is likely to be classified as domestic battery on the child.
Assault and battery caused by hate, that is, based on the race, color, ethnicity, or religion of the victim is classified as a Class 6 felony. This triggers a mandatory prison term of six months of which the first month must be served. To prove a hate crime one needs to show that the defendant made racial or other slurs when making an unprovoked attack.
Special Category of Workers
Assault and battery on certain select category of workers is considered a more severe crime in Virginia. In such cases the crime is classified as a class 6 felony and comes with a minimum mandatory imprisonment of six months and a maximum imprisonment of five years. The fine however remains the same at $2,500. Assault or battery on a probation officer is classified as a class 5 felony and can result in imprisonment of up to 10 years. If the defendant is convicted of disarming a police officer the crime is considered a class 1 misdemeanor.
However, if the weapon taken was a stun gun, gun, or taser, then the crime becomes a class 6 felony and attracts the associated penalty.
Under Virginia law, police officials, judges, firefighters, teachers, and school authorities carrying out their duties are all considered under special protection from assault and battery.
Moreover, teachers and school officials are allowed to use the threat of violence and violence in order to maintain discipline without attracting the provisions of the assault and battery laws in Virginia.
Felony Malicious Wounding
Maliciously shooting, stabbing, cutting, and wounding with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill is a class 3 felony under Virginia law VA Code 18.2-51. If convicted of this crime, the defendant has to serve a minimum of five years in prison with a maximum of 20 years. In addition there can be a fine of $100,000. However, if the same act was done with unlawfully but not maliciously, the maximum prison sentence is five years and the fine is capped at $2,500.
Malicious wounding typically includes the use of weapons, but this is not necessary. Even if the injury is not severe the intent to cause a severe wound or maim the victim is enough to trigger the provisions of this statute. While unlawful use of weapons is automatically taken to prove malicious intent, even battery by punching can be construed as such if the defendant did not stop the punching even after the victim was down.
Under Virginia law, a wound is defined as the breaking of the skin and the flow of blood. Internal injuries are defined as any injury to internal organs.
Assault and Battery During a Robbery
Under Virginia law, assault and battery during a robbery can lead to a minimum mandatory imprisonment of five years. Using threats or physical violence such as partial strangulation, suffocation or striking and beating can lead to a charge of assault and battery during a robbery.
We Have Offices in Stafford & Fredericksburg
Family relationships are not always easy. Arguments can become heated. If you find yourself accused of an assault charge in Virginia, a criminal defense lawyer can come to your aid. We've successfully defended hundreds of service members and kept them from being discharged from the military. Successful defense at your hearing requires as much preparation and insight as any other form of discipline in the military.
In Virginia, assault is a crime with escalating penalties each time it occurs. If you have been charged with assault in the Stafford or Fredericksburg area, you need an experienced attorney who will aggressively stand up for your rights. Contact Williams Stone Carpenter Buczek, PC for a consultation today.