Virginia Simple Assault and Battery Laws
Like in every other state, assault and battery are crimes in Virginia. In order to understand the crime of assault and battery, the terms first need to be defined. In the Virginia code the terms that are used are “assault” and “assault and battery.” Assault means that someone acted in an overt way that intended to place the victim in fear of physical harm, or that actually places the victim in physical harm while having the means and ability to do so. To be clear, assault in itself does not involve actual contact or violence against another person. Instead, assault involves threats of harm or an attempt to commit physical harm that failed.
Assault and battery is when there is actual physical act that the defendant commits against someone else, otherwise known as the “unlawful touching” of another. There does not need to be a significant injury for a battery to have occurred. Assault and battery also covers when someone throws something that hits another person, or when someone hits another with an object. Assault and battery, sometimes just called “battery” is what most people think of when they think about these charges. This article focuses on assault and battery and not on just pure assault as the law defines it. Importantly, in this context “assault and battery” is one offense and the “assault” part is automatically included. In other words, if one person hits someone else, he or she will just be charged with the hitting of a person, i.e. “assault and battery,” and not the threat of the violence.
This post also is focused on “simple” assault and battery. Simple assault and battery is distinguished by the fact that there are no extenuating circumstances that makes the crime more serious. These circumstances include, for example, hate crimes, domestic violence, or assault and battery of a judge or other official.
The Law in Virginia
Virginia law requires that the prosecution prove two elements for someone to be convicted of assault and battery. The first element is that the defendant unlawfully and willfully touched someone and there was no justification, such as a prison guard restraining a prisoner. The second element that must be proven is that the touching was done in an angry, vengeful, rude, or insulting manner, such as during a fight and not just grabbing someone’s arm to stop them from stepping out into traffic.
If someone is convicted of simple assault and battery in Virginia, the penalty includes a maximum fine of up to $2,500, and/or up to 12 months of jail time.
Leesburg Assault and Battery Attorneys
If you are charged with assault and battery anywhere in northern Virginia, you need a knowledgeable assault and battery attorney on your side to defend you against the charges. Our experienced assault and battery attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP in Leesburg, Virginia, can help to make your case in court for the charges to be dropped or for a reduced sentence.