The crime of Assault, Assault & Battery, and aggravated assault all involve intentional harm inflicted on one person by another.
Any crime that involves physical attack or even threat of physical harm is usually classified as an assault, a battery, or both.
However, how do the two differ?
Some states split Assault and Battery up while others combine the offenses.
The reason for pairing Assault and Battery as one offense is that when one commits Battery, they usually intend to harm. It threatens the person before committing the physical act, so he commits both crimes.
However, in reality, when you put Assault vs. Battery into a clear perspective, the two have separate legal meaning.
Assault is an intentional act that results in physical harm fear for another person. This applies even when the victim of the Assault is physically harmed.
On the flip side, Battery is the intentional offensive or harmful touching of another person without their consent. It must include intentional touching, harmful or offensive touching, and with no consent from the victim.
Jurisdictions have three degrees of assault/battery, which have a range of punishment for the crime.
First-degree Assault is the highest assault level with the most severe punishment. It includes life-threatening physical harm and extreme indifference for the value of human life. Instead of using the first-degree Assault, some jurisdiction uses Aggravated Assault, which is another way of stating the most severe form of Assault.
First-degree Assault usually entails the use of a dangerous weapon.
Second-degree Assault usually includes dangerous weapons, but the intent of bodily harm level is less severe than the first-degree Assault.
Third-degree Assault is a reckless infliction of the fear of severe physical injury—it is not physical.
Regardless of a jurisdiction’s definition of assault/battery, a crime of first-degree Assault is rated as a felony. It is punishable by 5-25 years imprisonment in Virginia under state code § 18.2-57.
A crime of second-degree Assault is usually felony-rated, punishable by 1-20 years imprisonment depending on the state.
A crime of third-degree Assault is usually classified as a misdemeanor, which means one cannot serve more than a year jail term.
Other assault charges include sexual assault, including rape and statutory rape, Assault with intent to madder, Assault on a minor or juvenile, gang assault, Assault on a peace officer. These are generally classified as felonies, all carrying jail time and fines as well. The charges are always comes enhanced if the person has a prior offense in their record.
Apart from criminal prosecution, Assault and batteries are pursuable via civil lawsuits.
Even though Assault & Battery in Virginia have grave charges, there are several defense measures. Here are the most common throughout all jurisdiction:
However, these defenses are only useable when the force used to defend oneself, the other, or property was proportionate to the Assault or Battery the individual intended to stop.
If you’re facing Assault or Battery charges in Fairfax, VA, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for the best available defense.