Assault & Battery Attorney in Abingdon & Tazewell, Virginia
While often lumped together, assault and battery are actually two different crimes. In simple terms, assault is a threat that puts someone in fear of imminent harm. Battery, on the other hand, refers to carrying through with the threat and making physical contact with the other person.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, assault and battery are two separate offenses; however, both are punishable under the same statute as a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a possible sentence of one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Assault and battery charges can also result in civil litigation against the defendant by the victim.
A simple disagreement can escalate into assault and battery charges. If threats ensue or some type of physical conduct occurs, you can face assault and/or battery allegations and end up facing prosecution.
If you’re facing an assault or battery charge in or around Abingdon or Tazewell, Virginia, contact us at the Letsen Law Firm immediately. Our criminal defense attorney is dedicated to helping you mount a strong defense to achieve the best result possible. Our firm also proudly serves clients throughout Russell County and the Virginia side of Bristol City.
Assault and Battery Charges in Virginia
The Code of Virginia Section 18.2-57 covers assault and battery and the penalties if convicted. As mentioned briefly earlier, the penalties for a Class 1 misdemeanor include up to one year in jail, a fine of $2,500, plus restitution to the victim. First offenses likely won’t result in a maximum sentence if convicted unless the assault and battery were particularly egregious.
The section also states that “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, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, or national origin, the person is guilty of a Class 6 felony….”
The list includes judges, magistrates, law enforcement, and other public officials. A Class 6 felony carries a minimum of six months behind bars.
Basic assault and battery charges, both misdemeanors, involve threats and/or unwanted physical contact. Simple assault refers to threatening someone that puts a person in fear of imminent harm, offensive touching, or danger.
Examples of Assault and Battery
Arguing between two people is not necessarily assault until one of the two parties says something that threatens the other person with some sort of physical harm. For instance, as the argument proceeds, one party shouts to the other: “Keep talking like that, and I will throw a punch.”
Throwing a punch obviously falls under battery, but chucking a drink on someone, though not technically touching, is considered assault as objects set in motion fall under the criminal code.
Now, if the person who issues the threat actually touches the other person, the incident can rise to the level of battery. In addition, unleashing a dog on someone is also battery.
Let’s assume that, instead of a brawl, a man is sitting next to a woman and wants to invite a relationship. If he leans over and hugs or kisses her to show his intent, that also could be considered battery.
If any of the victims in these scenarios call the police, the perpetrator may be charged with assault even though there was touching or physical contact. Since both assault and battery fall under the same code, the potential penalties are the same.
Self-defense is obviously one avenue to take in defending against an assault or battery charge, but your actions cannot be viewed as excessive to use this legal defense.
For example, suppose Bill is sitting quietly having a beer at a bar, and Adam sits down next to him and starts issuing drunken threats. Bill fears for his safety and pushes Adam off his chair, who falls and is injured. This might possibly be considered self-defense if Bill honestly felt threatened and had issued no threats on his own.
Another defense is that the touching or physical contact was accidental. Consent may also be argued as a defense. Say both Bill and Adam agree to go out back and settle their differences. That could be considered consent, though law enforcement may see it otherwise.
Defense of property is another argument. If someone tries to lift your wallet or purse and you strike back, that could be considered a defense of property.
Assault & Battery Attorney Serving Abingdon & Tazewell, Virginia
If you’re being taken in for questioning on an assault or battery charge, remember your rights. It is vital to contact our team before you answer questions from the police and put yourself in jeopardy of saying something that can come back to haunt you. If you are faced with an assault or battery charge in or around Abingdon or Tazewell, contact us at the Letsen Law Firm. We will review the circumstances with you, develop a solid defense, and fight aggressively to obtain the best possible result for you.