It is not uncommon for people to get angry at each other, or to engage in heated conversations. However, when those instances escalate to physical altercations, individuals may face serious criminal charges.
In order to build a strong defense, defendants should understand certain aspects about what they face. There are a few key facts to understand regarding Virginia’s aggravated assault charges.
In short, aggravated assault is an attack by one party against another with the intent to inflict injury or harm, usually with a weapon or dangerous object. There are a few key aspects to note about the definition. For an action to qualify as aggravated assault, the accussed party must be the aggressor, and must be trying to inflict injury upon the other party. Therefore, cases of self-defense are not aggravated assault, generally. However, the use of excessive force or a weapon may cross the line.
Categories and degrees
Different types of aggravated assault fit into separate categories and degrees. There are four main categories of aggravated assault:
- Use of firearm
- Use of a dangerous weapon
- Use of a cutting instrument
- Use of body parts
There are also four degrees of aggravated assault, which can be thought of as levels of violence or violent intent. First- and second-degree assault types are premeditated to some extent, with intent to cause serious injury. On the other hand, third- and fourth-degree assaut types may not be premeditated, and are more focused on significant pain, rather than severe damage or injury.
Depending upon the category and degree of the offense, the penalties can vary. Some defendants may face fines and jail time for lesser offenses, while others may face lifetime prison sentences. Considering the seriousness of the penalties, it is imperative that parties work to build strong defenses.
Fighting aggravated assault charges is not always easy, but it is possible. It is in a party’s best interest to work with a knowledgeable attorney to determine the best course of action.