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Mandatory minimum sentences in some assault and battery cases

Anyone who is facing assault or battery charges must understand the severity of the charges against them. There are specific points that are included in Virginia law that might change the sentencing standards if you are convicted of a crime that contains certain elements.

In the case of simple assault or assault and battery, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, targeting someone because of national origin, color, religion, or race means that you will face a 6-month imprisonment term. Of those six months, 30 days are the mandatory minimum. The charge can actually be upgraded to a Class 6 felony.

Virginia laws provide special protections for teachers, principals, guidance counselors, and other school employees. Health care providers who are working in an emergency room or clinic that provides emergency care are also offered special protections. When any of these people are the victim and no firearm or weapon is used, the charge is Class 1 misdemeanor that carries a term of 15 days in jail with two of those days mandatory.

There are also laws that provide for enhancements if the assault and battery is against a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, judge, firefighter (including volunteer firefighters), emergency medical squads, and similar people. In these cases, the crime is charged as a Class 6 felony. The mandatory minimum term of imprisonment is six months in these cases.

If you are facing any of these charges, you should learn about the mandatory jail sentences that are associated with a conviction. Understanding this information can help you to decide about how you will present your defense.

Source: Virginia Decoded, "§ 18.2-57 Assault and battery," accessed Dec. 23, 2015

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