Richmond Assault Injury Lawyer
At the Virginia law firm of Pendleton Law, our Richmond assault injury lawyers know that the crime of assault is a very serious offense that can have long-lasting repercussions on the victim. While assault does not include the physical touching of one person to another, it can sometimes precede a crime, be a major part of the criminal activity, or may leave a lasting psychological impact on a person. The criminal court system is in place to adequately punish individuals who are charged with criminal offenses. However, in some cases, victims may seek recourse outside the criminal court system.
What is Assault?
Assault is typically considered in the criminal context, although a claim for damages may still be brought against the responsible party. Assault and battery are two separate crimes which can get confusing, based on a person’s understanding of the law. Assault occurs when harm is threatened, whereas battery occurs when actual physical contact occurs. It does not matter that touching did not occur during the assault.
For example, assault can occur when a criminal attempts to rob an individual and threatens them with a weapon, such as a gun. Assault charges can simply occur if the victim believed they were in imminent danger of their life. The criminal charges will often delve deep into the full criminal activity, but personal injury actions can simply look at the emotional harm caused by such a crime. A knowledgeable Richmond assault injury lawyer will be able to provide you with more information regarding an assault outside of the criminal context.
What Injuries Are Caused By Assault?
In most cases, assaults are unexpected and can cause both lasting and immediate damage. In addition to leading to battery, which causes physical trauma, assault can also impact the victim mentally and emotionally even if no physical contact is made. Common injuries from assault include:
Is Assault a Personal Injury Claim?
A civil action for the damages caused by an assault can occur at the same time as a criminal action. Criminal actions are held to a higher burden of proof, and therefore a civil action may have a likelier chance of ruling in your favor as the victim. Neither the criminal nor the civil action will be dependent on the outcome of the other court and will be brought independently of the other claim. Whereas the criminal action will attempt to determine whether the defendant met every piece of the criminal definition of “assault,” a civil claim will consider whether the defendant was liable for the victim’s resulting injuries. If the defendant is found to be liable for the injuries, they will be required to compensate the victim, based on the claim amounts. A civil suit for damages after an assault can include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
While assault often does not result in serious injuries to an individual that could have a long-lasting physical impact, the assault could lead to tremendous psychological and emotional distress caused by the crime. Assault charges are often part of a larger criminal action and can be quite jarring on an individual who was not expecting a crime to take place during the course of their day. An experienced Richmond personal injury lawyer can assist you in determining the scope of your personal injury claim and the amount of damages you are entitled to receive.
What are the Penalties for Assault in Richmond?
Assault can come with some steep consequences for the assailant. A conviction for an assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can carry a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. This is just a standard example, with the penalties changing based on how the injured person is classified.
If the assault was against a person you knew, an educator, or a health care provider, the penalty is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a required jail sentence of 15 days. The 15 day sentence has a mandatory minimum of 2 day confinement.
If the person was assaulted based on their race, religion, color, or nationality and this is proven in court to be the reason, the Class 1 misdemeanor is shifted to a Class 6 felony. This type of felony carries a sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison, with a mandatory six months of jail time.
Finally, if the victim of the assault was a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, a judge, an EMT, or a correctional officer, the case will shift from a simple assault to a Class 6 felony.
Contact a Richmond Assault Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have been the victim of an assault charge, you may be able to bring a civil suit for damages which were the result of the assault. The lawyers of Pendleton Law have years of experience in assisting our clients with assault claims against the responsible party. Assault is a serious offense, and when a criminal claim does not proceed to the level of appropriate punishment, you may want to consider filing a civil claim not only to punish the defendant but also to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our office at 804-250-5050 or contact us online for a free case evaluation with a Richmond personal injury lawyer in Richmond, VA.