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Assault charges reduced in plea agreement

Virginia citizens should always treat law enforcement officers with respect and certainly never take physical action against them. Using physical force against any law enforcement officer can result in serious criminal penalties.

Thanks to a plea agreement, a 25-year-old Tennessee man is getting a reduced sentence after an incident in which he knocked down a state trooper who was attempting to help him when his vehicle stalled. The defendant's car ran out of gas along Interstate 66 last August. A state trooper stopped to assist him. However, when the trooper went back to his vehicle to call for assistance to help the stranded motorist, the man reportedly left his car and started walking along the highway. The officer told him that doing so was against the law. When he tried to arrest him, the defendant knocked him to the ground in front of another officer who had arrived on the scene. Once the two officers had him under control, they found that he was in possession of cocaine.

The defendant was initially charged with assault on a law enforcement officer, which is a felony, as well as possession of cocaine. However, the prosecutor agreed to reduce the felony charge to resisting arrest, which is a misdemeanor. The prosecutor noted that while a citizen should not make physical contact with a law enforcement officer, "this wasn't a situation where he punched out the officers." Under the plea deal, in which the defendant pleaded guilty to both resisting arrest and cocaine possession, he will serve four months in prison and another three years of probation.

Drug charges and assault charges against law enforcement officers can carry significant criminal penalties. Virginia criminal defense attorneys can help clients through the justice system and work to get the best possible outcome for their clients.

Source: Northern Virginia Daily, "Scuffle with trooper brings four-month jail sentence" Joe Beck, Mar. 28, 2014

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