Legal Question in Criminal Law in Virginia

curse and abuse

i returned a call to an aquaintance one night, the confo turned ugly, and the party hung up on me. i called back and got the answering machine uppon which i left a message. bad language was used, but no personal threats were made. i did advise her that i was going to report her for food stamp fraud. next day, she calls my mother, cursed and then hung up on her. later that night i recieve a warrant for curse and abuse charge, class 1 misdemeanor, by use of telephone. i waived my right to an attorney not understanding a class 1 misdemeanor. court is tomorrow, do i stand a chance defending myself? my mother is going to testify about the call she received the next morning, but she did not tape her call

Asked on 3/02/05, 6:16 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Fred Kaufman Fredrick S. Kaufman, Esquire
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Re: curse and abuse

ASK FOR A LAWYER TOMORROW! Do not represent yourself - ever. If you qualify ask the Court to appoint a lawyer for you. You are involved in a case where the crime is entirely subjective as to what the Judge thinks threatening language is. Cursing is easy to identfy - one "F" word will do. Abusive language, however is entirely subjective. It doesn't matter what anyone else did in any other phone call - only what you did in your phone call - there is no such thing as self defense for this crime.

GET A LAWYER IMMEDIATELY!

Good luck.

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3/03/05, 10:56 pm
Thomas Dunlap Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, PLLC
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Re: curse and abuse

Generally, Use of abusive language in violation of 18.2-416 is a class 3 misdemeanor. If you are charged under a different code section, there may be different defenses available to you.

It is a general defense to the use of abusive language to demonstrate the recipient did not consider the language abusive (such as thier own prior use of similar language). However, you should consult an attorney regarding the facts of your case to be certain of what defenses are applicable in your specific case.

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3/03/05, 2:58 pm

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