Virginia Assault Lawyer | Fairfax Criminal Attorney | Battery Defense
Virginia assault attorney for Fairfax County, Arlington, Prince William, Loudoun & Beyond
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Virginia assault lawyer providing a full court press - Fairfax criminal attorney comments
Assault defense in Virginia requires skilled and comprehensive defense, starting with obtaining a qualified Virginia criminal lawyer for a full court press. As a Fairfax assault lawyer, Jonathan L. Katz has successfully defended hundreds of people charged with assault (also known as assault and battery or A&B) running from the misdemeanor level to aggravated A&B, A&B on police, and strangulation.
What is A&B, and what are possible defenses against a Virginia assault prosecution?
A&B is an offensive touching, attempted offensive touching, or intentional placing another in fear of such a touching without the consent of the alleged victim. Virginia Code § 18.2-57. The main defenses against a Virginia assault prosecution are that no physical contact ever took place in the first place, or that any physical contact was accidental, consensual, for self defense or defense of others, or for lawful child discipline.
Self defense must be necessary (McGhee v. Virginia, 219 Va. 560, 248 S.E.2d 808 (1978) and proportionate (Couture v. Virginia, 51 Va.App. 239, 656 S.E.2d 425 (2008) when escape is not a realistic option. Defending against a Virginia assault prosecution by claiming defense of others requires meeting hurdles similar to those for a claim of self defense. Foster v. Commonwealth, 13 Va.App. 380, 412 S.E.2d 198 (1991). The defense of disciplining one's minor children requires a showing of due moderation without anger. Carpenter v. Virginia, 186 Va. 851, 44 S.E.2d 419 (1947).
What are the assault defenses when mutually consensual rough sex and BDSM sexual play is involved
Rough sex is popular with many people, often referenced as bondage, domination, sado-masochism ("BDSM"), where the BDSM lifestyle often involves subgroups focusing on safety thresholds while having fun, and sometimes with codewords so that "no" does not always mean "no". Even though an unpublished opinion, the Virginia Court of Appeals in 2016 issued persuasive grounds for any BDSM assault defendant to argue that the complainant consented to the activity and to argue that the complainant's prior statements and actions favoring BDSM activity with the defendant can be admissible at trial. Marques Lavar Moulds v. Virginia, Record No. 1396-15-4 (Va. App., Oct. 25, 2016) (appealed from the Fairfax County, Virginia, Circuit Court).
Am I free to self defend and to physically discipline my child?
Self defense and child discipline are affirmative defenses against Virginia assault prosecutions and are not affirmative defenses. Keep that in mind before slugging the person who slugs you first, or before swatting your child for misbehaving or neglecting his or her schoolwork. As much as my elementary school principal's admonitions so often were mind-numbing and even annoying, the old saw of keeping one's hands and legs to oneself can avoid an A&B arrest in the first place.
Fairfax assault lawyer defends misdemeanor and felony A&B charges
A Virginia assault conviction by itself is damning. Virginia also has statutes covering more serious A&B behavior that carries even more serious possible penalties. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, Jon Katz knows that a conviction for assaulting a police officer is a Virginia Class 6 felony carrying a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months. Va. Code § 18.2-57(C). When a Virginia A&B defendant intends physical harm to the police officer, the mandatory minimum sentence rises to one year
As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, Jon Katz knows that the sentencing stakes get higher as the alleged injuries become more serious. Beware mandatory minimum sentencing for convictions for assaulting law enforcement officers. If the same Virginia criminal defendant assaulted a police officer with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill, but without malice, the mandatory minimum penalty rises to at least one year in jail. Va. Code § 18.2-51.1.
Virginia strangulation defense
Strangulation is a Class 6 felony in Virginia, versus simple assault being a misdemeanor. A Virginia strangling conviction does not require extreme choking. Virginia’s strangulation statute provides that: “Any person who … impedes the blood circulation or respiration of another person by knowingly, intentionally, and unlawfully applying pressure to the neck of such person resulting in the wounding or bodily injury of such person is guilty of strangulation, a Class 6 felony.” Va. Code § 18.2-51.6.
Virginia felony prohibition against malicious wounding and permanent wounding
Malicious wounding is a Class 3 felony assault in Virginia. Virginia Code § 18.2-51. The elements of malicious wounding are to (1) maliciously (2) shoot, stab, cut, or wound any person or by any means cause him bodily injury (3) with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable, or kill. Such a crime is a Class 6 felony carrying up to five years in prison if done without malice, thus making it criminal wounding rather than malicious wounding.
Beware assailants who rush to be the first one to allege being the victim
As a Fairfax assault lawyer, Jon Katz knows how important it is that everyone beware A&B initiators who believe that the first to point the finger at the other person in an affray gets the advantage in criminal court. Beware such defense becoming a he-said/she-said situation, and circumstances where you have no witnesses, and the other side has lying witnesses. Always beware being accused of this and all other crimes. Even real victims can end up misidentifying their assailants, particularly in the midst of and aftermath of the startling event, pain and medical attention over their injuries.
Fairfax criminal lawyer covers all essential bases for Virginia assault defense
With clients accused of assault, Jon Katz gets right to work with trial preparation, and also exploring with clients whose hands are not automatically clean the possible benefits of entering an anger management program (and parenting class when the defendant’s child is the alleged victim), obtaining psychological counseling and seeking a clean psychological bill of health, and doing substantial voluntary community service hours.
For negotiations, criminal lawyers have the option to seek to settle misdemeanor Virginia assault prosecutions (not involving alleged domestic assault) directly with the civilian complainant and seeking the court's agreement to any agreed dismissal, which procedure bypasses the prosecutor. Felonious A&B charges cannot be settled in such a manner.
Nobody wants to have such a conviction on their hands. These are damning accusations and need to be fully defended.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense for Virginia misdemeanor, felony and DUI cases. Call 703-383-1100 for a free in-person consultation and action plan with Jon Katz about your court-pending criminal or DWI case.