Virginia Assault and Battery Laws

In the past, assault and battery were considered two separate offenses. Assault is the act of threatening another person’s safety, while battery is the act of physically striking or touching another person. However, Virginia has merged these two laws so that a person who threatens another and physically assaults him or her will be charged with assault and battery. If you have recently been charged with assault and battery in Virginia, you should contact an experienced attorney to help you with your defense.

If a person simply says that he or she is going to harm someone, but does not act in a way that shows intent to carry out the threat, it is not assault. For example, if someone says he or she is going to kill you, but doesn’t act in a threatening manner, it may not be considered assault. However, if the person says he or she is going to kill you and pulls out a knife, the act may be considered assault.

In an assault and battery case, the state must prove intent—meaning the person accused of the offense must have wanted to physically strike or contact the other person, not that the person wanted to cause harm. If a person acts in a reckless or negligent manner, the prosecution could claim that this showed intent. However, if physical contact is accidental, the act may not be considered assault and battery.

For simple assault battery, a person may be charged with a misdemeanor offense. The penalties for simple assault and battery may include up to one year in jail. However, if a person assaults another individual because of his or her color, race, or religion, it may be considered a “hate crime,” which is a felony offense. As a felony offense, a person convicted of a hate crime could be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 30 days of incarceration.

Assault and battery cases are rarely cut and dry. If two people were fighting, the person who is arrested for assault and battery is typically the one who did not report it to the police first. A skilled Virginia defense lawyer may argue that you were acting in self defense in this case.

If you have recently been accused of assault and battery, you should speak to an attorney at The Tillotson Law Office today. Our attorneys have 100 years of collective experience, and represent clients in cases throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have about your pending charges.

Contact The Tillotson Law Office today for a free, no obligation consultation.


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