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Virginia Assault and Domestic Violence Charges

Assault and Battery are both charges that need to be taken seriously. Contact a Virginia assault and battery lawyer today to begin planning your defense.

Difference Between Assault and Battery in Virginia

Under Virginia law, assault and battery fall under the same criminal statute. A person will be in violation of that criminal statute whether they commit an assault, battery, or both. In Virginia, the common term that people will use is assault and battery, or A&B, because it is all one offense under the statute. A battery is an unwanted touching of another person that is done in a rude, insulting, or vengeful manner; that is the basic definition of battery.

Assault can be very complicated to define, but a simple way to think of it is an attempted battery. The mere act of threatening bodily harm is considered assault. If there is a reasonable apprehension of harm from that action, that would be considered assault.

Assault and Battery Felony Charges

Whether a person is charged with a felony for assault and battery depends on who they assault. For instance, if you assault a law enforcement officer, that is a felony in Virginia and if you are convicted, that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of six months incarceration. It also depends on the intent with which the assault and battery or the harmful act was conducted. If it was done maliciously, then that would be considered malicious wounding, which is another type of felony assault.

There is also unlawful wounding, which encompasses a lesser degree of intent than malicious wounding, but it is more egregious than a class one misdemeanor assault and battery. There are also different types of felonious assaults that depend on the nature of the injury that was suffered. For instance, there is a charge called aggravated malicious wounding for cases in which the injury that was suffered was a permanent and significant physical injury.

Penalties for Assault and Battery When Religion and Race are Involved

There is a separate code section for religion and race that says, “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.” It should also include a mandatory 30-day minimum sentence and there is a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

Domestic Violence

The term “domestic violence” is not really used in the statute. It is a generic term that describes violence between family or household members. There is a specific statute in Virginia called domestic assault and battery, which is a class one misdemeanor. It is essentially an assault and/or battery of a family or household member. This could include anyone living in the home that is a relative or who has lived in the household for 12 months prior to the offense.

Another definition is if the two people involved have a child in common, even if they have never lived together or been married, they could still be considered “household members.”

It is a unique crime because it is heard in a different court than simple assault and battery of a non-family or household member. There also is a separate code section for domestic assault and battery by which the court could allow for somebody who is charged with a misdemeanor to enter a plea of guilty and be put on probation for two years. If they complete certain requirements of their probation, such as an anger management class, the case can be dismissed.

The general assembly’s goal in enacting that statute is by trying to foster keeping families together and providing them services to avoid breaking up the family.

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