Alternative Sentencing in Richmond Assault Cases

The consequences for an assault conviction can be quite harsh, regardless of whether this is someone’s first offense or not. However, there is hope for some individuals. Alternative sentencing in Richmond assault cases is an option, especially for those who do not have prior offenses. If you have been charged with assault and want to know more about alternative sentencing, retain the services of a qualified assault lawyer that could help you explore your options.

Elements of Assault

When a person is dealing with a basic assault, the elements that the prosecution has to prove is that there was an unwanted touching with the intent to do some kind of harm. An assault is an attempted touching. A person does not actually have to make contact with anybody to assault them. A person has to attempt to bash with them. As long as a person has tried to hit somebody or tried to touch somebody in what they define as a rude manner or attempts to batter them, it can be an assault. They need only to prove the common law assault.

If one is charged with assault and battery, it is a Class One misdemeanor. The prosecution has to prove that they made contact with somebody in a rude manner and that they did so with the intent to do them some kind of harm. That is what makes an assault. When talking about an assault, injury is not an element of assault. One person does not have to hurt somebody; one just has to do something in a rude manner to a person with the intent to do any kind of harm.

For example, if a person was to shove somebody’s shoulder, not push him to the ground or turn their whole body, in a rude manner with intent to do any kind of harm, the shove could be the harm and that is enough for an assault. They do not have to injure them. That is simple assault. For domestic assault, there are the same elements of the assault, but the individual has to be a family or household member.

Elements of Assault on an Officer

With assault of a law enforcement officer, it is the same elements of a regular assault except the individual being assaulted must be a law enforcement officer and the individual who assaulted them must know or have reason to know that they are a law enforcement officer. A lot of times with assault on law enforcement officers, something like spitting on a cop is considered assault. That is a rude touching with the intent to harm. The hate-based assault is going to be assault based on race, religion, color, and national origin. If that is the reason behind the rude touching with the intent to harm, then the Commonwealth has to prove the hate-based assault. It may be more difficult to secure alternative sentencing in Richmond assault cases concerning the assault of an officer.

Potential Alternative Sentencing Options

There are not many options for alternative sentencing in Richmond assault cases. There is only one and that is Virginia Code Section 18.2-57.2. It is the domestic assault criminal statute which states it is illegal to assault one’s household member. Then 18.2-57.3 is the section of the Virginia code which states that essentially any person charged with a first offense of assault and battery against a family or household member may be placed on local community-based probation, conditions, education treatment programs, costs, fees, and violations during a two-year period and then their case can be discharged. That means is that if a person is charged with committing a domestic assault and it is their first offense, the Commonwealth and the judge can take a plea of no contest, an Alford plea, which often occurs when the prosecution has enough information to find someone guilty, but they give that person the opportunity to do things to mitigate their charge.

Conditions of Probation

One condition of probation is that the defendant must be drug-free. They may ask them to remain alcohol-free as well if that was a factor in the assault. They also will put a person in any kind of treatment that the probation officer feels necessary to help the individual be more successful in keeping the peace and from being repeaters. They also have to enter into a parenting and/or anger management class to help the individual get through the probationary period.

Lastly and most importantly, a person must keep these things and be on good behavior during that two-year period. If a person can successfully do those things, then at the end of that two-year period they will come back into court, the probation officer will tell the judge that they did everything they were supposed to do, and the judge will dismiss the case against them. They will not have to have that conviction on their record. That only exists through a domestic assault. The same program opportunities do not exist for assault on law enforcement, simple assault, or hate-based assault. If a person wants to know more about potential alternative sentencing in Richmond assault cases, they should contact a distinguished assault attorney that could answer their questions.