Assault on an Officer in Fairfax VA
What Constitutes as Assault and/or Battery?
An assault is defined as when a victim (in this case, a law enforcement officer) is put in fear of eminent bodily harm. Even if you did not touch the officer, he or she can still claim that they were put in fear of being hurt. Under this statute (Va § 18.2-57), offensive contacts, as well as contacts intended to cause harm are included. This means that even spitting at an officer counts as assault on an officer
The Difference Between Assaulting a Police Officer and a Regular Assault and Battery Charge
Although assaulting a police officer falls under the same Virginia statute as assault and battery, there are some important differences to be aware of. The most obvious difference is that in order to be charged with assaulting an officer, you must have assaulted a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or any person who was in their official capacity at the time of the alleged assault.
Another important distinction is the way in which these specific assault cases are prosecuted and penalized in Fairfax County. Assault on law enforcement officer charges have higher stakes compared to simple misdemeanor assault charges. For example, If you are found guilty of this crime, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony instead of a misdemeanor, and you face a mandatory minimum of six (6) months in jail. However, prosecutors have discretion to amend the charge and offer a deal with a less severe penalty. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced Fairfax attorney.
What if the Officer was Outside the Scope of Their Official Position?
The issue then becomes whether or not the officer was engaged in the performance of their public duties anywhere in the Commonwealth, even outside of Fairfax County. If this is the case, you can still be charged with assault and battery of an officer. Additionally, even if the officer was not in uniform, but you had any reason to believe that the victim was an officer, you can be charged and convicted of assault on an officer.
How We Can Help
The Pickett Law Group, PLLC is an experienced law firm with two generations of former prosecutors, who have fought from both sides of the courtroom on all types of legal issues, including Assault on an Officer. Our attorneys can help ensure that you have the best defense possible in your case. Contact us today and we will begin fighting on your behalf.