There are many different types of charges for inflicting physical harm on a person under Virginia laws. The most common laws refer to physical injury as crimes of assault or battery. Assault generally refers to an intention to cause physical harm (including threatening harm or placing the victim in reasonable fear of harm), while battery occurs when a person inflicts harm (such as breaking someone’s arm).
The punishments for assault or battery will depend on the facts of your case. However, there are some circumstances that will upgrade your charges to a felony offense, automatically granting you a higher sentence. For example, the following offenses may all be charged as felony assaults in Virginia:
- Attacks on protected employees. Attacks on protected employees, such as law enforcement officers, correctional employees, judges, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel can all be charged as Class 6 felonies, carrying a minimum jail sentence of six months.
- Prisoner offenses. Prisoners who have been confined to a correctional or juvenile facility or are on parole or probation can be charged with a Class 5 felony for assault on a correctional officer, an employee supervising or working with prisoners, a visitor to a correctional facility, or a probation or parole officer. If the attacker knew that the victim was performing official and protected duties at the time of the attack, he or she can be sentenced to one to ten years in prison and face a fine of up to $2,500.
- Domestic violence. A physical attack on a family or household member (including a spouse or ex-spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, in-laws, and other residents who cohabit the same house as the attacker) can be charged as a Class 6 felony if the defendant has previously been convicted of assault, battery, or malicious wounding against a family member.
- Hate crimes. An attacker can be charged with a hate crime (a Class 6 felony with a minimum sentence of at least six months with a mandatory 30 days in jail) if he or she inflicted bodily harm on a victim based on the victim’s religion, color, race, or national origin.
Will I Automatically Go to Prison on a Felony Assault Charge?
While some charges carry mandatory minimum sentences, a good criminal defense attorney should be able to closely examine the facts of your case to determine if there is a way you could qualify for a lesser penalty. The Daniel Law Firm, P.C. always prepares criminal cases for trial, ensuring that you spend a minimum of time in jail.
We offer Free and Private Consultations. Call us toll free at 540-204-4316 to set up an appointment or have us explain what you can expect in your case.