Assault and Battery

alexandria & Leesburg assault and battery defense attorney

First and foremost, if you or a loved one has been charged with an assault or battery related offense, you will need the advice of a skilled attorney throughout legal proceedings. Contact King Campbell and Poretz at kclaw@kingcampbell.com or (703) 468-8557 for a consultation today to confidentially consult us on a criminal matter.

Next, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the laws regarding assault and battery in the Leesburg and Alexandria areas. Please note that this article is intended to provide a base-level education about assault and battery and is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific case. Please call to schedule a consultation regarding a specific offense.

Battery

Battery involves contact that is harmful or offensive. It is important to note that the contact doesn’t have to be actually harmful, just offensive. Spitting on someone is unlikely to produce serious bodily damage, but it can still be considered battery.

Certain criteria have to be met for acts to be considered battery. First, the actor has to intend to contact the victim, and the actor has to intend to cause harm or offense with that action. So, under most circumstances accidentally spitting on someone wouldn’t be considered battery; however, having a disagreement with someone and spitting in their face to offend them would almost certainly be considered battery. 

Assault

While assault generally makes people think about physical contact, in the legal sense, assault actually refers to acts that make a person apprehensive of imminent harmful or offensive contact.

Assault involves doing something to another person that makes them think that he or she will be attacked physically. Generally, assault precedes battery, which is why the crimes are often grouped together even given the differences between them.

If you are looking for a reliable assault & battery attorney to represent you in Leesburg or Alexandria, contact us for a free consultation today. 

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Assault and Battery Penalty Statutes

Basic

According to Virginia Code section 18.2-57, assault and battery is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and fine of $2500, and is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Religion or Ethnicity

According to statute 18.2-57(A), assault and battery committed on person because of their race, religion, color, or national origin results in a minimum six-month jail sentence, while the maximum of one year remains in place.

The maximum fine of $2500 stays the same as well. However, if the victim sustains bodily injury from this assault and battery, the offense becomes a Class 6 felony, which is punishable with up to five years in prison.

Police and Government Workers

Resisting arrest commonly results in this type of assault and battery charge because resisting arrest causes undesired contact. This law protects police officers, other law enforcement officers, fire fighters, emergency responders, corrections officers, and judges from unwanted contact.

Assault and battery involving any of these personnel is a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison per Virginia Code 18.2-57(C).

Teachers

In order to protect teachers, battery committed on a teacher, guidance counselor, principal, or assistant principal will be punishable by a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of one year in jail. If a weapon is involved on school grounds, the minimum jumps to six months. 

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Health Care Workers

Those who work in health care are similarly protected under Virginia Code 18.2-57(E). The minimum jail sentence is raised to 15 days and maximum of one year.

This statute only protects health care workers at the health care worker’s place of employment, so assault and battery at another location would not carry this protection.

Family Members

Often referred to as domestic assault and battery, this common offense is found under Virginia Code 18.2-57.2. This allows law enforcement offers who are called out to deal with domestic altercations to arrest people involved in assault and battery of a family member, especially if there is an injury. There are other protections under this code as well.

For instance, if the person charged has been convicted twice before on similar charges in the last 20 years, this offense is upgraded to a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. In addition, an emergency protective order will be issued, and the person charged will not be able to return home for three days.

Keep in mind that domestic assault and battery is defensible. Self-defense is often required in these cases, and the offense must be proven. The laws governing domestic assault and battery also clearly defines who is a family member, so if that relationship is not clearly identified, the offense may not stand. First time offenders may also attend educational programs that can result in the charge being dismissed if the program is completed satisfactorily.

If you have been charged with assault and battery, let us help guide you through the complexities of the law. Please contact us at kclaw@kingcampbell.com or (703) 468-8557.

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