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Differences between Assault and Domestic Violence in Alexandria

The difference between assault and domestic violence in Alexandria is important to understand. Assault is similar to battery or domestic violence. A battery is an unwanted or offensive touching or unauthorized touching that is done with the intent to do harm. An assault is one step short of that. The difference between battery and assault is that, with assault, the abused party is placed in a reasonable apprehension that they are about to be battered.

Very often, assaults and batteries go together. For example, if a person were to stand close to someone else and raise their fist up as though they were about to strike them, whether they struck them or not, that would be an assault. If they then threw the punch and connected with it, that would be a battery. For more on these differences, contact a skilled Alexandria domestic violence lawyer.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a category of offenses and the primary element that they have in common is that there is some kind of violent action and the other party of that act is either a spouse, a boyfriend, girlfriend or what is defined as a family member under Virginia law in relationship to the defendant.

It is possible to be charged with both assault and battery or domestic violence. If there are threats, offers or attempts to do something violent that is then followed by a violent act, a person can be guilty of both the assault which are those offers or attempts as well as the battery which is the successful completion of the act being threatened or offered. The difference

Domestic Violence vs. Assault Charges

Assault and battery are charged differently in Alexandria because the law recognizes them as being two distinct offenses. Assault, on the one hand, being the offer or the attempt to do something violent whereas the battery, which is successfully doing something violent, is actually distinct. The law will punish the person twice for acts that go together because there are actually two different harms that they are trying to address. That is why knowing the difference between assault and domestic violence in Alexandria is important.

Treatment of Cases

Battery cases or domestic violence is treated differently than an assault. The reason for that is that any crime becomes more serious when there are injuries involved. If a defendant successfully completes a battery and there is any kind of injury to the other party, that is going to make the case more serious. It is going to make it more likely that they are going to be punished by active jail time.

That is rare in assault cases. Assault cases come down to placing someone in fear that they are going to be battered, and while it is possible that a person can pick up a significant penalty from that, it is much more likely that they are going to get a significant penalty for actually injuring or harming someone than just threatening it.

Defense Strategies

There is a different approach to an assault defense because so much of an assault charge revolves around whether the other party reasonably believed that they were going to be battered. What is reasonable for a person to believe under the circumstances is always going to be a big part of what is challenged in the case.


Domestic violence or battery is a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia law. Assault is also a Class 1 misdemeanor under Virginia law. There can be up to a year in jail as well as a $2,500 fine that is available on either charge. The penalties for battery are almost always more significant in terms of what a judge will impose than they are for someone who is convicted of an assault. The difference between assault and domestic violence in Alexandria can depend on the judge in terms of charges.

Domestic Violence Long-Term Consequences

The long-term consequences for assault versus battery are pretty similar, and that is unfortunate for someone who has been convicted of assault as opposed to battery. The reason is that most people conflate the terms of assault and battery and if they see one of those on a criminal record, they are going to assume that an individual has done something violent to someone else.

While that might be true in the case of a battery, it is not necessarily true in the case of an assault, the point being is that even though assault is very often something that is much more serious in the way that the judicial system treats it, it can have a very similar impact long term. Refer to a professional attorney for more on the difference between assault and domestic violence in Alexandria.

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