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How To Choose An Attorney and How They Can Help

It would be very helpful to have an experienced criminal litigator or a person who practices criminal law, and has some experience doing misdemeanor and felony assaults. A lawyer who has more experience is better than someone with less experience. A person would want to find someone who seems to fit with them, who has the intent to fight and who would prepare their case so it would be ready to fight when they went to court. They might ultimately not have a trial, but they will prepare as if they were going to have a trial so they can really put on the best possible defense they can. They should certainly not be afraid to go after the prosecution’s case and they should certainly not be worried about having a trial. They should not necessarily plead guilty, but a person would want someone who has got the character to be honest with them about their situation.

The client needs someone they can respect enough that when they tell them what is going to happen, they will believe it. Many times the criminal defense attorney will tell his client what he thinks is going to happen but the client cannot accept it, and they do things like blaming the attorney or blaming the other person, and they are not really able to listen and hear what is in their best interest. We have been practicing criminal defense work for over 20 years and decided a long time ago that we would prepare as strongly as we could for trial every time because that is how a lawyer becomes dangerous in the court room. The trick is to be ready to fight and have as much ammunition as possible, so that if push comes to shove, we can prove the case as best we can.

Would It Be Worth Pursuing An Attorney If I Already Have An Assault Conviction And Am Facing Another Assault Charge?

It would be even more important to have an attorney for the second case than on the first because the penalties are not the same and they can get worse by more than double. If someone was charged with an assault and then got charged with malicious wounding, and there was another person in the exact same situation but he only had the malicious wounding and not the assault, then the person with the malicious wounding would get it much worse. A person has to be very conscious of that and have counsel ready to fight particularly because of the prior record.

How Does a Charge on A Person’s Record Affect the Rest of Their Life?

A simple assault on someone’s record is a black mark, just like a DWI or a possession of marijuana charge is a black mark. It is not the worst crime in the world but it is something which an employer can point to and if they are looking for people to count on, they will prefer someone who did not have that charge. If the person is supposed to be someone above reproach or someone who is supposed to be an example and exhibit a high caliber of character, like a teacher, a person who works in a bank or a manager, then knowing that the person did that can be more than just a minor problem, it can be a big one.

I talked to someone who was convicted six years ago who had been trying to fix their situation by getting a college degree and getting a master’s degree over a six year period. They also took some special training so that they could become a teacher, but never really asked if they were excluded from being a teacher because of the relatively minor offense. After getting two degrees and special training they came to know that they could never become a teacher because it was always going to preclude them, so it can be a real game stopper.

How Do I Know If My Case Will Be First Degree Or Second Degree If I Have Been Accused Of Assaulting Someone?

In Virginia, they do not use assault in the first degree or assault in the second degree. There are several different names, but the difference between the smaller and the larger ones is that a lot of times the smaller one is called simple assault, which is a class one misdemeanor, where a person could get up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine maximum or they could also get probation. That is the smaller of the group, but then there is a larger group of specifically designed statues to hit almost any conceivable situation.

Moving up to the more serious ones, there would have to have been malicious wounding, which means there was physical contact and the person was attempting to do something malicious. For example they shot, stabbed, cut or just wounded somebody with the intent to maim, disfigure or disable them. This would be a much more serious crime that has much more serious penalties. A malicious wounding is a class 6 felony and the penalty for it is 5 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Going up a little bit more, there is aggravated malicious wounding which is the same thing as malicious wounding and when they did it, they did it with malice, so this would be where it was possibly planned. A person may not have necessarily meant malice but the government would try to prove it and if they can show that the person was calculating about it, then it may wind up being aggravated malicious wounding. The victim would actually have to be severely injured so that would be even worse, because it can get the person in jail for 20 years to life.

It goes on up and there are specific statutes for someone taking someone else’s phone, selecting someone because of their race or their religion, or someone being in a crowd and a lot of people attacking that person together. All these specific assault statutes exist because the legislature wanted to get involved in the punishment and not leave it up to the courts. For example: there is a special statute for if someone tries to strangle someone, even though trying to strangle someone could be considered malicious wounding or aggravated malicious wounding or attempted murder or something on those lines. Sometimes the legislature gets involved, and they will make it very hard for the prosecution to actually prove a case because they are being so selective with the particular elements of a crime; for example, strangulation is a hard one for the government to prove. The main ones are assault, malicious wounding and aggravated malicious wounding, but one step down from malicious wounding is unlawful wounding, which is when the person did not necessarily do it with malicious intent but nevertheless, a serious injury happened so that fits into the different severities of the different crimes too.

What Are Some Options People Have That Can Help Them With Their Case?

A person who is charged with assault or one of the more serious versions of assault needs to get an attorney. They cannot say the things that need to be said and have the court believe it. They also need to be able to say that they are not a bad person, or they are not always a bad person, but they cannot say that for themselves anymore because their reputation is gone. Not knowing how to defend themselves can make a huge difference, so a person would need a lawyer. Secondly, a person would need to thoroughly go over the details of what happened and try to come up with technical defenses, like did the assault actually happen, was there anything that would justify what happened and other such defenses.

It’s also important to look up and prepare other things that would help the court decide that they are not that bad: things like classes they have taken, education or treatment they have received, or anything that might have caused them to be unusually out of sorts that day, letters of recommendation or community service they have done. Those are definitely the first steps, but beyond that the attorney needs to know the specifics of the case before they can really start helping someone defend themselves. There is always something that can be done to fight to help improve the outcome. Recently I had a case where a person was looking at a very serious charge that would have resulted in a number of years in jail, but we worked it out so that ultimately their case would be dismissed after they did a series of classes and were on supervisory probation for a while.

For more information on Choosing An Attorney, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (703) 691- 4366 today.