Assault and assault and battery are two separate offenses in Virginia. These crimes are often charged as misdemeanors but can be charged as felony offenses. Both misdemeanor and felony offenses can result in serious punishments upon conviction and a permanent criminal record that can cause problems for an individual long after he completes his sentence.
Assault and Battery Crimes in Virginia
Assault can be committed in the Commonwealth of Virginia in two ways. A person can be charged with assault for doing either of the following:
- Having a present ability to inflict harm. A person who performs an overt physical act intended to inflict bodily harm on the victim and who has the present ability to inflict the injury or harm can be found guilty of assault.
- Putting a person in reasonable fear of harm. The crime of assault can also be committed by performing overt acts that are intended to put a victim in fear of bodily harm and actually puts him in fear.
Assault and battery is often referred to as battery. It is committed by the actual infliction of bodily injury on the victim. Unlike assault, there must be an actual touching of the victim. These crimes are generally charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Felony Assault and Battery Crimes
In some cases, an assault or assault and battery will be charged as a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Examples of felony assault and battery crimes include:
- Hate crimes. Committing a hate crime is a Class 6 felony. If convicted, a person could be sentenced from one to five years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of not to exceed $2,500.
- Domestic violence. Domestic violence can also be charged as a Class 6 felony with the same penalties as for hate crimes.
- Malicious wounding. Malicious wounding is the intentional shooting, stabbing, cutting, or otherwise injuring a person. This crime is a Class 3 felony punishable by a 5- to 20-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $100,000.
Contact Us for the Legal Advice You Need
If you are charged with assault or assault and battery in Norfolk, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys. We can mount a strong defense to the charges you face and help you achieve the best possible outcome given the circumstances. To learn more, call our office to schedule your free consultation today.