ShouldI retain a lawyer ifI was charged withsimple assault?

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ShouldI retain a lawyer ifI was charged withsimple assault?

Back in December I went to go visit my fiance who is a part of the USAF. One of my last nights there he had been drinking and sparked an argument. The argument escalated into a screaming match where I ended up slapping him because I was offended by the things that he had said to me. The cops were called and we both ended up getting arrested and charged with simple assault. Neither one of us made a statement and neither one of us pressed charges. I have never gotten into trouble like this before and am scared to death. My question is what the likely outcome of this will be and if I should get a lawyer. I’m thinking about pleading not guilty but am unsure if that’s the best thing to do.

Asked on January 10, 2011 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

According to the Penal Code in Virginia, section 18.2-57, that covers assault and battery, any person who commits a "simple assault" or assault and battery shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.  And it looks like the sentence is mandatory of 6 months, 30 days of which is mandatory confinement.  So I think that the answer to your question here about speaking with an attorney is "yes" and  need to add "as soon as possible."  An attorney will be able to help calm the situation and be able to express what happened in the least menacing of terms to place you in the best light.  This is nothing to fool with so be on top of things.  Good luck.


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