Assault and Battery in Virginia

Assault and battery is the unlawful touching of another.  As such, the criminal offense of assault and battery in Virginia has two elements.  First, the prosecution must prove that the defendant willfully touched another person without excuse or justification.  Second, the prosecution must prove that the touching was done in an angry, rude, insulting, or vengeful manner.  The penalty for a conviction for assault and battery is up to 12 months in jail and/or a maximum  fine of $2,500.  Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-57.

Assault does not require that an assailant have the actual ability to inflict bodily harm but words alone cannot amount to assault.  Battery is the actual infliction of corporal hurt on another (e.g., an offensive touching of another’s person, willfully or in anger, whether by the party’s own hand, or by some means set in motion by him.  Spitting in a person’s face is sufficient unwanted contact to support an assault and battery conviction.   There is a mandatory minimum sentence where the defendant intentionally selected the victim because of the victim’s race, religious conviction, color or national origin.

There are enhanced penalties for assault and battery against a family or household member or against certain protected classes of people, including judges, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, and firefighters. Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-57.