Richmond Simple Assault Lawyer
A simple assault occurs when an individual puts someone else in reasonable apprehension of imminent harm or in fear of an offensive contact. The accused put the victim in a reasonable apprehension of an unwanted physical contact and they did so with the intent to do the victim some form of harm. There is no element for actually making contact with them; it is just putting somebody in a reasonable apprehension of physical contact and that contact is unwanted and is done with the intent to do harm.Physical contact is not required for an incident to qualify as assault and if there is the actual touching of someone with the intent to do harm or intimidate then battery may be charged as well.
Regarding penalties, simple assault is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor and is a criminal charge that will remain on a convicted person’s criminal record permanently. As a result, it is important to retain an experienced Richmond simple assault attorney if accused, as having a criminal record can negatively impact your life both in the short-term and in years to come. To learn more or discuss the preliminary steps you can take, call and schedule a consultation with an assault lawyer in Richmond today.
Different Types of Misdemeanor Assault
The basic types of misdemeanor assault are assault, assault and battery, and domestic assault. There is also assault by a mob, but that is way out on that field. Both assault and domestic assault are going to be misdemeanor offenses. The main difference between a simple assault and a domestic assault is that when a person is dealing with a domestic assault, they have a familial relationship that does not need to exist for a simple assault.
As Class 1 misdemeanors, they both carry a penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500. Some of the little caveats between the two are the familial relationship. If charged with domestic assault, there are Virginia code sections that allow for the case against the person to be dismissed with the completion of anger management and community service.
If a person commits multiple simple assaults over time, they will forever be charged. It can never get any worse than a Class 1 misdemeanor if the facts are lined up, but it is a Class 1 misdemeanor assault. A person’s fiftieth assault and battery is still a Class 1 misdemeanor as their first assault and battery was. However, with domestic assault, after a certain number of domestic assaults, it becomes a Class 6 felony even though the elements of the assault still meet the standard of a misdemeanor.
Prosecution of Simple Assault in Richmond
In a simple assault case, the prosecutor needs to prove that the individual intended to contact someone physically with the goal of intimidating or harming them and/or that they acted with the intent to put someone in reasonable apprehension of imminent harm or of an offensive contact.
In order to prove this, prosecutors typically use a variety of evidence including witnesses who may have seen the assault take place, a person’s own statements, and the testimony of the victim and any officers who arrived at the scene. A Richmond simple assault lawyer will also look at this evidence and use the facts and circumstances to build as strong a defense as possible.
Simple Assault Trials
Most simple assault cases are bench trials. The reason being since most simple assaults are going to be in the general district court or mostly going to originate in the general district court and the general district court is a court not of record and all trials heard in the general district court are bench trials.
A person does not have the right to a jury trial to their case in circuit court. For that reason, given it is a misdemeanor and misdemeanors originate in the general district court, the general district court is a court not of record but only of judge trials or bench trials, and most simple assaults are going to be bench trial
Simple assault cases are misdemeanors so they are going to be heard in the Richmond General District Court. The general district court has original jurisdiction to hear all misdemeanor cases and traffic infractions. If it is a case as to where a person is either convicted or if the case is nolle prossed and the Commonwealth chooses to not go forward, the case can also be heard at a later date in the Richmond Circuit Court that has the jurisdiction to hear all state criminal matters.
Penalties for Simple Assault
Simple assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and therefore the penalties associated with it can include up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Whether or not it is a first offense could also have an impact on how the crime will be charged by a court. When it is a first offense, it is more likely that the defendant will get probation. In these sorts of cases, the Richmond simple assault attorneys try to work out an arrangement where the matter is taken under advisement to be dismissed or reduced at a later time.
In cases where it is not a first offense, the judge is more likely to not give the defendant probation. Instead, they will most likely have to pay the fine and complete the associated jail time, if that is what the judge decides.
Penalties can also change depending on the nature of the crime and the classification of the injured person. For instance, if it was a law enforcement official, penalties will be much more severe than if it was simple assault on another person.
The common misconception is that misdemeanor charges are not that serious because they are misdemeanors as opposed to felonies. However, many misdemeanor charges still carry up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. They also carry a stigma of violence and aggression.
If a person is trying to get a job and is filling out an application, the person who is going to be flagged is the person who has a criminal conviction. Whether or not it is a felony, they are still going to flag that person if they have a criminal conviction.
Technically, they are going look at what the nature of that conviction is, and being someone who is known as an aggressive or violent person will not bode well for future employers. It is important that people protect themselves when dealing with an assault because an assault on their record can have dire consequences.
Benefit of An Attorney
In a simple assault case, a Richmond simple assault lawyer will provide evidence impeaching the testimony of the witnesses. In other words, the defense attorney attempts to show that the witness has ulterior motives or they are incorrect in what they are saying. The lawyer can also raise defenses for the person such as self-defense, or issues such as mutual combat and help the individual charged take preliminary steps to help their case such as attending an anger management class, doing community service, or completing another act of similar nature. To discuss how experienced legal representation can help you, call today.