Defending Against Assault & Battery Charges
Violent crimes are serious business. You need an experienced attorney.
If you're facing charges for assault and battery, your entire future might be at risk. You could spend months or years in jail. Moreover, having a violent crime on your record could cause you to lose your job and limit your future prospects. The charge will follow you for a lifetime, and the consequences could be severe.
Since 1952, Recht Law Offices has been helping people facing legal trouble in Weirton and throughout West Virginia. We know the courts in Brooke and Hancock counties, and we know how to build an effective legal defense. Attorney Steven M. Recht will investigate your case and help you explore your legal options, which may include reducing your charges or getting them dismissed entirely.
Penalties for assault and battery
While the terms "assault" and "battery" are often used together, they represent distinct crimes. Simple assault consists of an attempt to cause violent injury to another person, or alternatively causing another person to feel threatened by impending violence by words or actions. Battery consists of actually making intentional physical contact to insult, provoke or harm.
Assault and battery are generally misdemeanors in West Virginia. Contact resulting in a minor bodily injury - a cut, scrape or bruise - is misdemeanor battery. The general penalty for misdemeanor assault is up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $100. For misdemeanor battery, the penalty is up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
There are a few cases in which assault and battery become more serious crimes depending on the status of the victim. If the victim is a government representative - defined as a state worker or officer, a person contracted by the state, an emergency responder or a healthcare worker - then the penalties for assault increase to 24 hours to six months in jail or a fine up to $200. The penalties for battery against a government representative likewise increase to one month to one year in jail or a fine up to $500.
If the victim is a family or household member, the assault is covered under domestic violence laws, with accompanying increased penalties.
Legal options if you've been charged with assault and battery
West Virginia's penalties for assault and battery can have serious consequences for your life. That's why it's important to have a criminal defense attorney who will help you explore all of your options to reduce or eliminate those penalties. For instance, you may be able to enter a pre-trial diversion, which means you will not be prosecuted for the crime if you comply with certain conditions for a certain period of time. The court may also offer a suspended sentence, which means you can serve your time on probation instead of in jail.
Of course, the best-case scenario is to get the charges dismissed entirely. We may be able to cast doubt on the evidence against you by pointing out inconsistencies in witnesses' statements or pointing to errors made by the arresting officer. We know the courts in Weirton and the surrounding communities, and we know how to win a case before a judge.
Get started on your legal strategy today. Reach out to Recht Law by calling 1-800-487-8546 for a free consultation.