Virginia has specific laws in place that make it a crime to violently touch someone without their consent or threaten physical violence in a credible manner. Assault and battery laws protect citizens from physical violence or intimidation by other people and create criminal consequences for violent offenders, especially those who commit aggravated forms of assault.
Of course, it is possible for people who have technically done nothing illegal to find themselves charged with assault because of a mistake made by law enforcement or even vindictive accusations by someone who initiated a physical altercation. All too often, the one who goes to law enforcement first will wind up perceived as the victim, even if they were anything but innocent.
If you find yourself facing assault charges in Virginia, you may think pleading guilty is the easiest way to handle the issue. However, a guilty plea will mean potential criminal consequences and a record that could haunt you for the rest of your life. Instead of just entering a plea, you might want to think about the various options for defending yourself.
Can you prove you weren’t involved in the altercation?
Sometimes, people wind up arrested because they look too much like a suspect or they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you have the same hairstyle and jacket as someone who assaulted someone else, you could find yourself facing criminal charges when you have done nothing wrong. You will need to prove to the police or the courts that you couldn’t have been part of the fight.
Anything from an alibi at the exact moment that fists were flying to security camera footage that shows you approach the area from the opposite direction could establish that you did not play a role in the fight.
Were you trying to defend yourself or someone else?
Claiming self-defense or the attempted defense of an innocent is a common way to defend against allegations of assault. If the person alleging that you assaulted them was actually the one behaving in an aggressive manner, you may be able to convince the courts that you simply wanted to defend yourself or others from violence.
If the other person was the first one to throw a punch or make physical contact, even if you ended up getting the upper hand in the fight and leaving them with more serious injuries, you can still build a case for self-defense.
Other strategies will depend on your background and circumstances
Claiming self-defense or proving you weren’t involved are only two of many different defense strategies that are possible. An experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney could challenge evidence on your behalf or help substantiate claims of unique circumstances that would exonerate you from the pending assault charges.