Assault & Battery Charges Virginia Beach | W. Ware Morrison Law Group


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2628 Barrett Street | Virginia Beach | Virginia 23452

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Assault And Battery

Over 40 years of experience on your side

"They would reply to all my calls and questions in a very timely manner, and I was very satisfied with the end results."

- Lisa L.

Assault and battery charges can arise from a variety of situations, from a disagreement at a bar or an argument with a family member. No matter the circumstances, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. At the W. Ware Morrison Law Group, we understand the seriousness of your situation and strive to present the best defense possible, whether through plea-bargaining or at trial.

Assault and battery under Virginia law

Assault and battery is generally defined as intentional harmful or offensive contact. However, it actually involves two acts. Assault is the reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive conduct, while battery involves actual harmful or offensive physical contact. Thus, you can be convicted of assault without actually making physical contact with the victim. Examples of assault and battery include:

  • Striking a person with a bat

  • Holding a firearm to a person’s body

  • Poisoning a person’s drink

  • Throwing an object at a person

The penalties for assault and battery

Under Virginia law, simple assault or assault and battery is classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 12 months of jail time, a fine of up to $2,500 or both.


The characteristics of the victim and the crime determine whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or felony and can increase the penalties. For instance, if a person intentionally selects the victim because of his or her race, religious conviction, color or national origin and physical injury results from the assault and battery, the person is guilty of a Class 6 felony. The penalty upon conviction includes a prison term of at least six months. Other protected classes of victims that may result in increased penalties for assault and battery include judges, law enforcement officers, corrections officers, firefighters, teachers and healthcare workers.


Under Virginia law, aggravated assault and battery may be charged as felony malicious wounding. The statute states that any person who maliciously shoots, stabs, cuts or wounds any other person, or by any means causes bodily injury with the intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill, is guilty of a Class 2 felony. The potential punishment includes up to 20 years in prison with a fine of up to $100,000. If the crime is committed unlawfully (but not maliciously) with the same intent to maim, disfigure, disable or kill, the defendant faces a Class 6 felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years.

Defenses to assault and battery

When facing an assault and battery charge, an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Mr. Morrison will determine the best defense possible in light of the specific facts of your case. That defense may try to prove that the act was one of the following:

  • An accident — Only intentional acts rise to the level of assault and battery. Therefore, if you can show that the contact with the victim was accidental or out of your control, the charges must be dismissed. An example might include colliding with the victim when a crowded train stops suddenly.

  • Self-defense — Individuals facing aggressive action are entitled to defend themselves using equal force. Therefore, if you felt the victim was about to punch you in the face, you are entitled to strike first, so long as your reaction was reasonable under the circumstances.

  • Accord and satisfaction — Under Virginia law, courts may also dismiss certain assault and battery charges if the victim appears before the court and acknowledges in writing that he or she has received satisfaction for the injury, which generally takes the form of a financial settlement. Accord and satisfaction is not available in several types of assault and battery cases, including those involving domestic violence.