If you are convicted of a violent crime in Virginia, then it is likely that you will be labeled as a violent offender – possibly for the rest of your life. People who have been convicted of violent offenses tend to have a much more difficult time obtaining gainful employment or acceptance into certain organizations due to the stigma that surrounds them. If you have been charged with any of the offenses listed below then we highly recommend hiring a Roanoke criminal lawyer to defend you.
Violent Crimes in Virginia
- Murder – VA Code § 18.2-31
Capital murder is the only Class 1 Felony in Virginia, and it is defined as the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of another person. First and second degree murder charges possess many of the same characteristics as capital murder, but the manner in which the murder is carried out is an important distinguishing factor. Murder investigations will seek to determine which offense level is appropriate in a murder case.
- Felony Murder – VA Code § 18.2-33
If a murder is committed without intent, but rather as in incident in the perpetration of another felony, then felony murder will be charged. If convicted, this offense carries a penalty of up to 40 years in a state correctional facility.
- Malicious Unlawful Wounding – VA Code § 18.2-51
If you have been charged with malicious wounding then you are being charged with intentionally causing bodily harm to another. This charge typically applies to wounding carried out with a weapon, such as a gun or a knife. If you are convicted of malicious wounding then you will be guilty of a Class 3 Felony. If the wounding was inflicted upon a member of law enforcement, or other public servant, then the associated penalties are usually more severe.
- Shooting into an Occupied Dwelling or Vehicle – VA Code § 18.2-279
Discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling is classified as either a Class 4 Felony or a Class 6 Felony. If you are alleged to have discharged a weapon into a dwelling with the intent to cause harm to the occupants then the charge is more severe. If the shooting occurred without intent to endanger the inhabitant(s) then you will be charged with the lesser felony offense.
- Child Abuse of Child Neglect – VA Code § 16.1-228
If you are a parent or authorized caregiver of a child and are alleged to have caused harm, threatened to cause harm, or allowed harm to transpire to a child, then you will be charged with child abuse or neglect. Harm, in this offense, can mean any physical or mental injury.
- Assault & Battery – VA Code § 18.2-57
Assault and battery are separate actions that typically occur in conjunction with one another. As such, these offenses are usually combined into one charge under Virginia law. By definition, assault is the threat, and ability to execute battery, whereas battery is unwanted physical contact of another. The potential penalties and available defenses for assault and battery charges depend on a number of factors, but the alleged victim is possibly the most important factor. For example, if the recipient of the assault and battery is a family member, then you could be charged with domestic violence under VA Code § 18.2-57.2.
- Assault on Law Enforcement
The actions associated with assault on a police officer or fire/rescue personnel are identical to general assault and battery; however, the penalties are likely to be more severe. A conviction of this offense will result in your guilt in a Class 6 Felony.
- Disorderly Conduct – VA Code § 18.2-415
Under Virginia law, disorderly conduct is defined as intentionally causing a public inconvenience or annoyance, or recklessly creating the risk of public inconvenience or annoyance. This offense is not always a violent crime; however, it may be if the alleged conduct has a direct instigation of violence by those at which the conduct is directed.
- Gun / Firearm Charges
There is a wide variety of gun offenses in Virginia. Some are associated with another offense, like possessing a gun in concert with drug possession; others, like illegally concealing a gun, are often stand-alone offenses. Other common firearm offenses include possession of a firearm by a felon, pointing or brandish a firearm, reckless handling of a firearm, receiving a stolen gun, aiding in concealing a firearm, and possession of a firearm at school.
- Resisting Arrest or Fleeing from Law Enforcement – VA Code § 18.2-479.1
If you are alleged to have prevented, or attempted to prevent, your arrest, then you will be charged under this statute. If convicted of this offense you will be guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
Facing violent crimes charges in Virginia?
If you’ve been charged with a violent crime in Roanoke, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico can help evaluate the details of your case and your options. For an appointment at our Roanoke office, call us at (540) 343-9349.