Assault and Battery

Attorney for Assault and Battery Charges

Assault and Battery is one of the most commonly charged crimes in Charlottesville and the Central Virginia area. This page provides an overview of this crime and an explanation as to how it is handled in the local criminal justice system.

Consequences of Assault and Battery in Virginia

Simple Assault
  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Maximum fine of $2500
  • Maximum of 1 year of jail
Assault and Battery
  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Maximum fine of $2500
  • Maximum of 1 year of jail
Assault on Family Member
  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Maximum fine of $2500
  • Maximum of 1 year of jail
Assault on Law Enforcement
  • Class 6 felony
  • Maximum fine of $2500
  • Maximum of 5 years of jail
  • Minimum of 6 months of jail
Assault as a Hate Crime
  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Maximum fine of $2500
  • Maximum of 1 year of jail
  • Minimum of 6 months in jail, 30 days mandatory minimum
Assault as a Hate Crime Resulting in Injury
  • Class 6 felony
  • Maximum fine of $2500
  • Maximum of 5 years of jail
  • Minimum of 6 months in jail, 30 days mandatory minimum
Assault and Battery on School Official
  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Maximum fine of $2500
  • Maximum of 1 year of jail
  • Minimum of 15 days in jail, 2 days mandatory minimum
  • If committed by use of firearm, mandatory minimum of 6 months of jail
Assault and Battery on Health Care Provider
  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Maximum fine of $2500
  • Maximum of 1 year of jail
  • Minimum of 15 days in jail, 2 days mandatory minimum

Assault

An assault and a battery are not the same thing. An assault in Virginia is where the defendant (1) engages in an overt act (2) with the intent to inflict bodily harm and (3) has the present ability to inflict such harm. Alternatively, an assault can occur where the Defendant (1) engages in an overt act (2) intended to place the victim in fear or apprehension of bodily harm and (3) creates such reasonable fear or apprehension in the victim.

Words alone are not sufficient to find someone guilty of misdemeanor assault. However there is no requirement that the victim actually be physically touched for him to be assaulted.

Battery

A battery is a willful or unlawful touching of another. An accidental touching is not a battery, so long as it was not done recklessly. The touching does not need to result in injury, nor does the defendant have to intend to do actual harm to the victim, a battery may be found where it was done in the spirit or rudeness or insult. A battery and an assault mainly differ in that an assault does not actually require the defendant to come into contact with the victim.

Spitting on another person does constitute a battery if done in a rude, insolent and angry manner. Even flashing a laser beam in another person's eye can constitute a battery.

Defenses

Consent

If the victim in the case consented to the unlawful touching, that will qualify as a defense to an assault and battery. However, the touching must not exceed the scope of the consent given by the victim. Nor is consent a defense where it  was obtained through fraudulent means or through duress.

Self Defense

Where the defendant reasonably believes that he will suffer bodily harm he is privileged to exercise force that is reasonable to repel the assault. The force used must be reasonable with respect to the harm threatened. Words alone are not sufficient. Generally, the force must not endanger another person's life or do great bodily harm. In order to justify the use of a deadly weapon in self defense the defendant must have reasonably believed that he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

Touching by police officers when making an arrest that is lawful does not constitute a battery. However, where there is touching and the arrest is unlawful this may result in a battery, as will the use of excessive force when making a lawful arrest.

Virginia's Assault and Battery Statute:

A. Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and if the person intentionally selects the person against whom a simple assault is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

B. However, if a person intentionally selects the person against whom an assault and battery resulting in bodily injury is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, and the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

C. In addition, if any person commits an assault or an assault and battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a judge, a law-enforcement officer as defined hereinafter, a correctional officer as defined in § 53.1-1, a person employed by the Department of Corrections directly involved in the care, treatment or supervision of inmates in the custody of the Department, a firefighter as defined in § 65.2-102, or a volunteer firefighter or lifesaving or rescue squad member who is a member of a bona fide volunteer fire department or volunteer rescue or emergency medical squad regardless of whether a resolution has been adopted by the governing body of a political subdivision recognizing such firefighters or members as employees, engaged in the performance of his public duties, such person is guilty of a Class 6 felony, and, upon conviction, the sentence of such person shall include a mandatory minimum term of confinement of six months.Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to affect the right of any person charged with a violation of this section from asserting and presenting evidence in support of any defenses to the charge that may be available under common law.

D. In addition, if any person commits a battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a full-time or part-time teacher, principal, assistant principal, or guidance counselor of any public or private elementary or secondary school and is engaged in the performance of his duties as such, he shall be guilty of a Class 1misdemeanor and the sentence of such person upon conviction shall include a sentence of 15 days in jail, two days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement. However, if the offense is committed by use of a firearm or other weapon prohibited on school property pursuant to § 18.2-308.1, the person shall serve a mandatory minimum sentence of confinement of six months.

E. In addition, any person who commits a battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such individual is a health care provider as defined in § 8.01-581.1who is engaged in the performance of his duties as an emergency health care provider in an emergency room of a hospital or clinic or on the premises of any other facility rendering emergency medical care is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The sentence of such person, upon conviction, shall include a term of confinement of 15 days in jail, two days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.

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