Mitigating Factors for Assault Charges in Richmond

In assault cases, the consequences can be quite severe, depending on the facts of the case. There are certain mitigating factors for assault charges in Richmond that could make a difference in a person’s case. If a person has been charged with assault, they should consult a competent assault lawyer that could identify mitigating factors in their case, and advocate for them.

Self-Defense and Mutual Combat Defenses

When a person is dealing with assault defenses, the most common defense is going to be self-defense. In that situation, attorneys are arguing to the judge or the jury that their client did assault the other individual, but they did so because they were acting in self-defense. That is the number one defense.

Another common defense strategy is the mutual combat defense. Mutual combat is not something that is necessarily codified. It falls between self-defense and consensual contact. Attorneys will allege that the only reason that the defendant engaged in the assault or assaulted the alleged victim is that they were in a mutually combative situation. It basically means that both parties consented to the other party touching them, and were engaged in a physical fight. This relates to the consent defense, which alleges that the plaintiff consented to the touching. If an attorney could prove consent or mutual combat, that could serve as one of the mitigating factors for assault charges in Richmond.

Accidental Contact

Accidental contact is another defense that is often used in assault cases. Whenever a person is dealing with an assault or an assault and battery in Virginia, a person has to intend to touch the person. They cannot accidentally run into somebody and be charged with criminal assault. A person could have some civil liability in a negligent suit, but as far as criminally they have to intend to hit somebody.

If it is an accidental touching, then it is not going to raise the level of criminal assault. Then, there is the intent of the individual when doing the touching. This defense does work, but it is rare. It essentially says that when the rude touching occurred the individual doing the touching did not intend to harm the other party.

High Fiving Defenses

In assault cases, there is also what is called the high fiving defense. A great example is sports teams; they do a lot of pushing and touching on each other in celebratory fashion. When a person does touch somebody in a rude manner, like slapping a teammate on the butt that they may not be expecting, it can be considered rude.

If it is done in a reasonably celebratory fashion, it can be argued that since there was no criminal intent and no malice in that particular situation that the touching was not criminal and not an assault. Those are going to be a person’s defenses when dealing with assault cases.

Unreliability of the Plaintiff as a Mitigating Factor

Mitigating factors for assault charges in Richmond often include the facts surrounding the assault or why the assault happened. For example, the court may ask if the defendant punched the plaintiff, or whether the plaintiff instigated contact, even if they did not hit the defendant first. In the second type of situation, a lot of judges may dismiss the case. Even if the judges do find a person guilty of the assault, if there is no injury, they might not jail the defendant because of the circumstances.

Substance Use

A plaintiff’s instigation and other factors like the presence of drugs or alcohol in the system of the alleged victim could be helpful in an individual’s case. For example, if the accuser says that the defendant walked up to them and slapped them, and that is the primary evidence is witness testimony, and it is revealed in cross-examination that the person who testified was high on cocaine at the time, they might be deemed unreliable.

Things like that can be mitigating factors for assault charges in Richmond and could even mitigate evidence, leading to the dismissal of said evidence. At the same token, the life of the accused can also be mitigated, especially if the accused is a veteran, has no record, has a mental health diagnosis, was going through meds, or has PTSD, bipolar disorder, or something along those lines.

Life of the Accused As a Mitigating Factor

The life, the mindset, and the state of the individual who is charged with the assault can also be mitigating. Perhaps they are not just a bad person and this is an isolated incident or something that happened. Perhaps somebody has a mental diagnosis and they are working on it. That can help with that even if a person is convicted. They may not get any actual jail time or may simply be fined. If an individual wants to know more about mitigating factors for assault charges in Richmond, they should contact a skilled attorney. A qualified assault lawyer could determine which factors could positively influence an individual’s case, and contribute to a positive outcome for them.

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