In Virginia, Assault (often called Simple Assault) and Battery (often called Assault and Battery) are serious criminal offenses. Typically, Simple Assault and Assault and Battery are charged as misdemeanor offenses for which one can be given a lengthy jail sentence and a substantial fine. However, under certain circumstances Simple Assault and Assault and Battery charges have a mandatory jail sentence and can even be elevated to a felony offense with a possible prison sentence.
If you have been arrested for Simple Assault, Assault and Battery or some other Serious Traffic or Criminal Offense and the outcome of the case is important, call The Wilson Law Firm and put our experienced criminal defense lawyers to work for you, immediately. Call toll free 877-CRIM-LWYR or 703-361-6100.
Simple Assault and Assault and Battery
Arrests for Simple Assault and Assault and Battery arise from some sort of confrontation and can involve a wide variety of behavior, such as slapping, kicking, pushing, punching, scratching, bumping, spitting, poking or throwing an object, such as a phone, a shoe, a rock, a bottle, a remote control, etc.
Battery (Assault and Battery): Battery is simply the unlawful touching of another in a rude, angry or insulting way. The touching involved in a Battery does not have to be direct person to person contact. It can be accomplished by the use of an object (hitting someone with a stick) or by setting something in motion that hits someone (spitting or throwing a rock). Actual injury is not required. The unlawful touching is the crime. Of course, the extent of any injuries sustained can impact the severity of the sentence imposed.
If person A (without legal justification or excuse) punches person B, hits person B with a bat, or throws a rock and hits person B, person A has committed a Battery (Assault and Battery), even if person B was not actually injured.
Assault (Simple Assault): Unlike Battery (Assault and Battery), Assault (Simple Assault) does not involve actual contact or touching. Instead, Assault involves either (1) a failed attempt to commit a Battery or (2) putting someone in reasonable fear of a Battery.
If person A (without legal justification or excuse) attempts to punch person B but misses, swings a bat trying to hit person B but misses, or throws a rock trying to hit person B but misses, person A has committed an Assault. Similarly, if person A (without legal justification or excuse) through some combination of words and actions puts person B in reasonable fear of being the victim of a Battery, person A has committed an Assault.
Summary – Simple Assault vs. Assault and Battery
Battery (called Assault and Battery) is the completed act – the unlawful touching of another done in a rude, angry or vengeful way, even if it caused no actual injury.
Assault (called Simple Assault) is either an attempted Battery or placing someone in reasonable fear of a Battery.
RELATED CRIMINAL OFFENSES INVOLVING ASSAULT OR BATTERY
Simple Assault and/or Assault and Battery Hate Crimes (See Va. Code §18.2-57)
If the victim of a Simple Assault was intentionally selected based on race, religion, color or national origin, the punishment includes a mandatory jail sentence.
If the victim of an Assault and Battery was intentionally selected based on race, religion, color or national origin and the victim was injured, the offense is elevated to a felony offense and the sentence includes a mandatory jail sentence.
Simple Assault and/or Assault and Battery of School Personnel (See Va. Code §18.2-57)
If the victim of a Simple Assault or Assault and Battery is a principal, teacher, guidance counselor, etc. and the offense takes place while the victim is working as such, the sentence includes a mandatory jail sentence.
Assault and/or Assault and Battery of Other Protected Groups (See Va. Code §18.2-57)
The law mandates additional punishment when a Simple Assault or Assault and Battery is committed against someone in a protected group, such as judges, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, rescue squad members, etc. If the offense is committed knowing or having reason to know the victim is from one of these protected groups, the offense is a felony offense with a lengthy mandatory jail sentence.
Assault and Battery Against a Family or Household Member (See Va. Code §18.2-57.2)
In Virginia, Assault and Battery against a Family Member or Household Member is often times referred to as Domestic Assault and Battery. As these words suggest – the victim must be a Family Member or Household Member as defined by the Virginia statute. Typically, Domestic Assault and Battery is charged as a misdemeanor offense for which one can be fined and sentenced to serve time in jail. However, if the offender has prior convictions for similar offenses, what would otherwise have been a misdemeanor offense can be elevated to a felony offense for which the offender can be sentenced to serve years in a state prison.
Unlike other Assault and Battery charges, Virginia law allows for some offenders accused of Domestic Assault and Battery to request the case be handled under a First Offender program which essentially gives the offender the chance to persuade the Court that the incident in question was unusual and is not likely to happen again. If the offender is permitted to participate in the program it can lead to an eventual dismissal of the Domestic Assault and Battery charge upon successful completion of a probationary period and fulfillment of certain conditions placed upon the offender by the Court. If the offender fails to successfully complete the program, a conviction will be entered and the Court will determine the appropriate sentence to impose.
Satisfaction and Discharge / Accord and Satisfaction (See Va. Code §19.2-151)
Virginia law allows the Court to dismiss certain types of criminal charges – including some Assault and Battery charges - when the accused and the alleged victim have resolved their differences. This is often referred to as a Satisfaction and Discharge or an Accord and Satisfaction. It requires the victim to acknowledge in writing having received satisfaction from the accused, and often involves the payment of money, so utilizing this statute can sometimes be tricky. Successfully navigating through an Accord and Satisfaction dismissal often requires the guidance of a tactful, professional, and experienced Criminal Defense Attorney.
Call the Wilson Law Firm today at 703-361-6100 and speak with one of our experienced Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Do you have questions about what happens next in your case? Call us now and get some answers. Our experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers will begin your defense by identifying your goals and interests, getting your side of the story, investigating your case, locating evidence including audio or video recordings, and interviewing witnesses. Your best interest is our #1 concern - whether your interest lies in negotiating an optimal plea deal or thoroughly, aggressively challenging everything with a trial. Don't let a false charge, a mistake, or a moment of bad judgment impact the rest of your life.