Colonial Heights Assault on an Officer Penalties

Assault on an officer is taken seriously by law enforcement and the court system. Not only can assaulting an officer result in having a bad reputation amongst law enforcement, it can also result in criminal consequences. If you want to know more about Colonial Heights assault on an officer penalties, speak with a knowledgeable assault on an officer attorney. A capable assault lawyer could build a solid defense for you.

Differences Between Simple Assault and Assault on an Officer

The main difference between simple assault and assault on an officer is the subject of the assault. The charge is also different because now the individual will find themselves looking at a felony versus a misdemeanor charge. With a simple assault on a layperson, the charge is a Class 1 misdemeanor and has a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail. Furthermore, the Colonial Heights assault on an officer penalties  are less severe.

In Virginia, any misdemeanor penalty an individual receives, they only have to serve half of the jail time. They essentially get two days credit for every one day they serve. Even if an individual gets maxed out on a Class 1 misdemeanor and they get 12 months, they are only going to have to serve 6 months because of the way that the jails calculate misdemeanor offenses. However, the General Assembly mandates that if the crime has a mandatory minimum sentence that that sentence must be served day per day. People do not receive any time off of their sentence for good behavior. Therefore, another consequence of assaulting a police officer rather than a layperson is that an individual can be certain they will be serving the maximum penalty under the statute.

How Courts Treat Assault on an Officer Cases

Judges typically frown on assaults against police officers, so it is harder to get someone released on bond in such a situation. The judge will tend to view that defendant as someone who does not respect authority, so they are already going to be starting off on the wrong foot.

Another factor is that the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and the police department typically have a good relationship. They work together all the time, not only an assault on law enforcement cases but all cases. The Commonwealth Attorney’s office certainly feels an obligation to protect those who are protecting the community. Those officers need to feel safe and supported by the commonwealth attorney’s office.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s office will be a lot less willing to make any kind of reasonable deals or offers on assault on law enforcement officers since they do not want their officers to feel like they have no recourse to people assaulting them in any way, shape or form. They work hard to make sure that their officers feel supported by the Commonwealth attorney’s office.

How Cases Change When the Assault Was Committed on an Officer Outside of the Scope of Their Position?

An element of assault on a law enforcement officer is that the assaulter or the defendant has to know or had reason to know that the individual that they are assaulting is a police officer. If the officer was in plain clothes and did not do anything to identify themselves, then the person may not have that requisite knowledge. Anything that the defense counsel can use to show that the individual who is being charged did not know, and had no reason to know that the person being assaulted was, in fact, a police officer, can have the charge automatically reduced or dropped down from assault on a law enforcement officer to just a simple assault. As a result, an individual might be able to avoid Colonial Heights assault on an officer penalties.

Penalties for Assault on an Officer in Colonial Heights

Assault on an officer is a Class 6 felony. What that means is it carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. The more important thing is that if an individual is convicted of assaulting a law enforcement officer, then they are looking at a mandatory minimum of six months in jail day per day. Even for a first offense, as soon as the individual found guilty they are doing a minimum of six months in the Colonial Heights Jail. A capable assault attorney could mitigate the Colonial Heights assault on an officer penalties that a person may face.

Colonial Heights Assault on an Officer Lawyer