In Virginia, the common-law offenses of assault and battery are combined by statute as a class 1 misdemeanor. Most generally, “assault” occurs when harm is threatened and “battery” occurs when actual harm is caused.

Legal Definition:

Assault occurs when an attacker intentionally causes a victim to reasonably fear imminent harm – actual touching is not required for an assault to have been committed. In other words, assault is the apprehension of harmful or offensive contact. Battery is essentially assault with follow through – harmful or offensive contact is actually made.

Making a threatening or offensive statement, without an accompanying act, does not meet the definition of an assault. There must be some indication that the attacker has the ability to carry out that threat at the time it is being made.

Civil Damages:

In Virginia, victims of assault and battery are entitled to pursue civil damages against their attacker, regardless of whether said attacker was criminally prosecuted, within two years of the injury.

Unlike criminal prosecution, a civil court is not responsible for determining guilt or innocence. Rather, a civil court considers whether an offender or third party is liable for a victim’s resulting injuries. If found civilly liable, an attacker can be required to financially compensate their victims for their injuries.

In Virginia, those who have been criminally charged with assault and battery can seek dismissal through “accord and satisfaction” – an agreement made between the offender and the victim, typically for monetary compensation. If an offender is particularly motivated to avoid criminal trial or sentencing, this course of action may serve as an attractive alternative.

We’re here to help:

At ReidGoodwin, we know that a monetary award may not be able to fully compensate the emotional and physical damage caused by an assault and battery. However, financial compensation may help victims to rebuild their lives and care for their loved ones.

The attorneys at ReidGoodwin understand the complexities and challenges victims of assault and battery face, and will fight to ensure maximum compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one is the victim of an assault and battery, please contact us to schedule your free legal consultation.

ReidGoodwin is located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia; we represent injured individuals in the City of Richmond and all surrounding counties, including Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Petersburg, and all across the Commonwealth of Virginia.