If you’re accused of committing a crime such as drug possession, drunk driving, or murder but are also accused of resisting arrest or assaulting a law enforcement officer, the prosecution must prove each element of each crime before convicting and sentencing you.
Resisting Arrest in Virginia
Virginia law prohibits a person from intentionally preventing or attempting to prevent a police officer from lawfully arresting him. To prove the charges against you, all of the following must be true:
- A reasonable person would need to believe he was under arrest either because the police officer communicated the arrest to him or used force
- The police officer must have the legal authority and the physical ability to make the arrest
- A reasonable person would know or should know that he is not free to leave
The government must prove all three elements of resisting arrest beyond a reasonable doubt to convict and sentence you for this crime.
Resisting arrest in Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this crime, you could spend up to 12 months in jail and face a fine of up to $2,500. Both the jail time and the fine are in addition to the sentences for any other criminal convictions.
Assault Against a Police Officer
Assault and battery against anyone is a crime in Virginia. However, the consequences for assault and battery against a police officer are more serious than the penalties for assault and battery against a member of the general public. To be convicted for assaulting a police officer, the government must prove:
- You committed an overt act intended to physically harm the police officer or put the police officer in fear of immediate bodily harm.
- You knew or should have known at the time of the assault that the person was a police officer. For example, the officer may be in uniform or may identify himself as a police officer.
- The police officer was working on official business at the time of the assault. You cannot be convicted of assaulting a police officer if he was off duty and not working at the time of the incident.
As with the crime of resisting arrest, the government must prove the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt before you are convicted and sentenced for the crime.
An assault and battery on a police officer is a class 6 felony in Virginia. That means a conviction carries a potential sentence of one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Additionally, if the assault and battery interfered with the police officer’s ability to do his job, you could face charges for obstruction of justice, which would bring an additional penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Plan Your Criminal Defense
If you are charged with resisting arrest, assault and battery of a police officer, or obstruction of justice, you need to take charge of your defense. Criminal cases can be complicated and confusing, and you have a lot at stake.
Our lawyers will thoroughly investigate the allegations against you, protect your rights throughout the legal process, and help you achieve the best possible outcome based on the facts of your case. From the time of your arrest through any potential appeals, our Virginia criminal defense lawyers will provide you with the representation you deserve. Contact us today, by phone or by filling out our contact form to learn more.