In a recent opinion from a Virginia court, the defendant’s appeal in her assault and battery case was denied. The defendant was originally found guilty of acting violently towards a police officer when the officer came to investigate an emergency call at the defendant’s place of residence. On appeal, the defendant argued the officer was trespassing on her property and that it was thus her right to try and push him out of the home. The court disagreed, finding the defendant’s actions unreasonable and affirming her guilty verdict.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, an officer in Virginia was dispatched to the defendant’s home one evening after 10:00 pm. At the time, the officer was not sure why the emergency call had been placed or what exactly was happening in the defendant’s place of residence. When the officer arrived, he found the defendant yelling at a man who was standing on the front porch. The man explained to the police officer that he lived at the home and wanted to get his belongings from inside. The defendant yelled towards the officer that the man had acted physically violent and that he was not welcome in her home.
The next few minutes, as depicted later on the officer’s body cam, were chaotic. While standing on the porch, the officer tried to calmly explain that he wanted to speak with one person at a time. The defendant tried to slam the door in the officer’s face, but the officer placed his foot in the way of the closing door to prevent the defendant from shutting him out. The officer forced himself into the residence and attempted to handcuff the defendant. Meanwhile, the defendant resisted, yelled at the officer and swung her arm at the officer to elbow him three different times.
The defendant was charged with assault and battery on a police officer. At trial, she argued that the officer had used blatant force against her and that her use of force was therefore reasonable. The trial court disagreed, finding her guilty as charged.
On appeal, the defendant argued that she was not guilty of assault and battery because she was lawfully using force to keep a trespasser out of her home. In this situation, said the defendant, the police officer was trespassing, and she was well within her rights to keep him out of the inside of her house.
The court disagreed, concluding that the officer was lawfully present on the defendant’s porch. Because the officer was responding to an emergency call, it was his duty to investigate the situation and take steps to keep everyone involved safe. What’s more, the body cam footage did not show the defendant ever asking the officer to leave her home. Yes, she tried to shut the door on him, but she did not make any verbal assertion that she wanted the officer gone before resorting to physical violence. Because the defendant acted violently without giving the officer any sort of warning, her actions were unreasonable. Thus, the court agreed with the trial court’s original ruling and found the defendant guilty of assaulting a police officer.
Have You Been Charged with Battering a Police Officer in Virginia?
If you are facing criminal charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you do not have to face your charges alone. At Robison Law, PLLC, our Virginia criminal defense attorneys will stand with you and provide you with a variety of defenses to make sure your rights are well-protected. Our lawyers are standing by to provide you with a free consultation. Give us a call at (703) 844-3746 today.