When a group of people gathers together in protest, tensions can rise. If an act of violence occurs during the gathering, any of the individuals gathered together may be charged with assault or battery by mob. In certain instances, this means an innocent person could be criminally charged for violence committed by someone else.
When someone who did nothing wrong is facing criminal assault charges, the prosecutor may try and get them to plead guilty to lesser charges to avoid the harshest penalties. Before pleading guilty to any criminal charges in Virginia, contact me to fight for your rights.
Assault and Battery by Mob Charges
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-42, “any and every person composing a mob which shall commit a simple assault or battery shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”
A “mob” is defined as any collection of people, assembled for the purpose and with the intention of committing an assault or a battery upon any person or an act of violence without authority of law. Virginia Code § 18.2-38.
Groups of people may not initially get together with the clear intent to assault someone. However, when a group of people gathered together intend to use force or violence against a person, the group may be considered a “mob” according to Virginia law.
It is also important to understand that “assault” or “battery” does not need to cause injury. Any willful and unlawful touching can be considered battery, even spitting on another person may be battery.
Criminal Penalties for Assault by Mob in Virginia
Assault or battery by mob in Virginia is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties include:
- Maximum of 12 months in jail
- Fine of up to $2,500
Defenses to Assault by Mob Charges
During a protest or fight involving a group of people, the police may not listen to your side of the story before putting you in handcuffs. You may have to wait until criminal charges are filed before you get a chance to defend yourself. I will investigate your case and look at all the evidence available to determine the best defense strategy for your case. Possible defenses may include
- defense of others,
- the alleged victim started the fight,
- any contact was accidental and not intentional,
- the assault was committed by a single person,
- there was no “mob,” or
- there was no intent to assault or harm someone.
Charlottesville Violent Crime Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with group assault, battery, or other violent crime in Charlottesville, contact me for a free consultation.