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Assault and Battery on Law Enforcement Officer Attorney in Charlottesville, Virginia

In recent years there has been a rise in civilians protesting law enforcement in their communities and across the country as well as in officers facing violent acts. This creates an environment in which a confrontational and uncooperative suspect can easily find themselves being hauled to jail facing charges of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer. Even the slightest assault and battery on an officer is a serious offense that carries severe consequences and that can easily result in circumstances leading to additional charges.

Virginia Code § 18.2-57 (C) makes it a Class 6 felony to commit "an assault and battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a law-enforcement officer…” Under Subsection F, law-enforcement officer “means any full-time or part-time employee of a police department or sheriff's office … who is responsible for the prevention or detection of crime and the enforcement of the penal, traffic, or highway laws of the Commonwealth.”

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What Constitute an Assault and Battery on A Police Officer?

The following are a few examples of how Virginia courts have defined assault and battery:

  • “Any touching by one of the person or clothes of another in rudeness or in anger is an assault and battery.” Lynch v. Commonwealth, 109 S.E. 427 (1921)

  • “Assault and battery is 'the least touching of another, willfully or in anger.'' Perkins v. Commonwealth, 31 Va. App. 326, 330, 523 S.E.2d 512, 513 (2000) (quoting Roger D. Groot, Criminal Offenses and Defenses in Virginia 29 (4th ed. 1998)).

  • “The slightest touching of another . . . if done in a rude, insolent, or angry manner, constitutes a battery.” Crosswhite v. Barnes, 139 Va. 471, 477, 124 S.E. 242, 244 (1924)

Such an assault and battery on a law enforcement officer can also lead to someone being charged with obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. For example, the officer may respond with force, which may cause the accused to resist and fight back.

How Much Time Can You Face?

Assault and Battery of a law enforcement officer is a Class 6 felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months and a maximum of 5 years. A maximum fine of $2,500 can also be imposed.

Elements of Offense and Possible Defenses

In order to be convicted of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements of the offense:

  • That you committed an assault against a law enforcement officer

  • That you knew – or had reason to know at the time of the assault – that the victim was a law enforcement officer

  • That the law enforcement officer was engaged in the performance of official duties at the time of the offense

Possible defenses include that your actions do not amount to assault and battery. Another possible defense is that you did not know or have reason to believe that the victim was a law enforcement officer.

Virginia Lawyer

Facing a charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer is a serious matter. You need a criminal defense attorney who has experience preparing a strong defense. Such an attorney can make sure you get the best outcome in your case. Bryan J. Jones is committed to his clients and will develop a defense strategy tailored just for you. Contact Bryan J. Jones, LLC today.